Will global partnership see the end of dubizzle as we know it?

What would life in the UAE, especially for expats, be without dubizzle?

We’ve spent hours looking for our first apartment on the site, and then we’ve gone back to it when its time to move on to sell our furniture. All things second-hand have been bought and sold on the site, including jets.

The UAE brand began in 2005 as the dream of two men, Sim Whatley and J.C. Butler and grew and grew. In 2013 they stepped back, remaining as shareholders but selling much of their stake to multinational online classified giant Naspers.

Up until now life though for dubizzle and the UAE has gone on pretty much as before, but that is all changing.

Today a press release announced that from now dubizzle is an OLX company, the global network owned by Naspers, which has aggressively risen to become an online giant.

Two weeks ago dubizzle platforms (website and mobile app) started carrying a new message on the product that states ‘dubizzle is an OLX company’, the message appears underneath the dubizzle logo across the site and the mobile app.

In today’s statement Abdallah Touqan, Senior PR and Communications Lead at dubizzle said: “’dubizzle is an OLX company’ means that we are aligned with our sister companies around the globe in terms of best practice and shared resources – enabling us to deliver the best user experience.

“While keeping the brand local. A great combination of global vs local that will definitely benefit the user.

“Now we can share information rapidly & exchange best practice with the other online classifieds platforms within the OLX global network. We believe that together we can accomplish much more than we would as entirely separate entities”, Touqan added.

It’s interesting that Touqan says ‘keeping the brand local’ meaning that dubizzle could well stay as dubizzle, just part of a bigger global network.

However, OLX has achieved such massive brand awareness by buying or merging with local online classified players and then killing their names.

Look to Brazil where Bomnegocio is no more, or Nigeria’s Tradestable which has gone, in the Philippines Ayos Dito is disappearing (as did its rival Sulit), in Pakistan Asani lives no longer and in Indonesia Berniaga is another name resigned to the .com scrapheap.

All are now, or becoming, OLX. There are a few exceptions to the rule, in Bangledesh Ekhanei will survive its partnership with the giant, and in Thailand OLX is stepping back (in name only) to allow Kaidee live on.

So will dubizzle survive? Only time will tell.