The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Zaarly Online marketplaces begin to boom

At the beginning of September, the website Zaarly, co-founded by 1999 Marquette alum Eric Koester, was relatively unknown around the nation except in the world of technology blogs. Since then, the company has made massive financial steps, including raising $14 million dollars of capital and bringing aboard former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

And most recently, Zaarly has begun courting small businesses to help further connections between buyers and sellers of goods and services.

Zaarly, a real-time, localized marketplace, offers consumers the chance to post a good or service they desire, and anyone who browses the site can see what others are asking for and at what price.

Starting in December, Zaarly signed on 1,250 small businesses in New York City, which can now browse the site and get in contact with buyers directly.

“Essentially, it’s free job leads for small businesses,” said Joseph Scannell, Marquette’s campus CEO for the company. Scannell, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, became involved with Zaarly through a connection with Koester and now leads a team of nine Marquette students who publicize and run promotions for the site.

Scannell did not say if the company is currently looking to bring on Milwaukee’s small businesses currently, though the site does have more than nine hundred Marquette students signed up, the most of any of the 25 universities across the country affiliated with the company. Cornell University, Boston University and Georgetown University all rival Marquette’s numbers, Scannell said.

The numbers Zaarly has recently posted had some experts comparing the site to early versions of eBay and Craigslist. In September, the site had 50,000 users and had facilitated around $3.5 million in buyer-powered transactions. Now, roughly four months later, the site has expanded to around 200,000 users and has facilitated $17 million in business — and continues to grow.

William Walkenhorst, a senior in the College of Engineering, said he thinks he has been one of the most enthusiastic users of Zaarly at Marquette.

“I always tell people they should use it,” he said, “One time I sold four double-A batteries for ten dollars.”

In other web news, consumer deal site, which focuses on saving Milwaukeeans’ and Madisonians’ money at restaurants and events, has built up momentum going into the new year.

“Our business model has changed a bit recently,” Richie Burke, a 2011 Marquette graduate and founder, said. “We’ve begun moving into shooting promotional videos for our businesses we work with as well as selling discounted tickets to events.”

Burke said the site is also looking to cater to Marquette students by helping them save on purchases at places ranging from Sobelman’s to National Liquor Mart. Burke said GoGeddit is hosting a large event this Saturday at Murphy’s Pub to further promote the site.

“We’re still trying to raise awareness and gain users at this point,” Burke said.

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