“We strongly believe that for every unwanted item posted, there is a buyer looking for it on dubizzle – one man’s pre-loved item is another man’s treasure.” dubizzle
If you live in the UAE you will without a shadow of a doubt, unless you live under a rock or out in the middle of the desert without internet access, heard of dubizzle, the leading classifieds website in the UAE. You can find somewhere to live and fully furnish it, buy a new car and sell your old one, upgrade your mobile, source that Dior clutch you could no longer live without, discover an antique watch and even find a new job. In a transient place such as the UAE, where expats come and go frequently the secondhand market is thriving and dubizzle is at the forefront of connecting buyers and sellers at a click of a button.
Anyone not familiar with dubizzle, which stands for ‘doing business’ (the ‘Dub’ part has nothing to do with Dubai as I thought), it’s a site not dissimilar to the likes of ebay and Craigslist where people advertise mostly secondhand goods (some new) and services but with one significant difference, dubizzle has nothing to do with the payment side of things or delivery. Sellers list items for sale (ads are free unless it’s for motors, jobs or houses which incur a fee) on this one stop online virtual marketplace and buyers contact said seller to conduct business, agree prices and arrange delivery, dubizzle is effectively the middle man. The concept is simple, surplus goods are redistributed to fill someone else’s need and thus become wanted again, where non-product assets such as space, skills and money are exchanged within the community.
duzzible was the brainchild of American’s Sim Whatley and JC Butler, who co-foundered the site in Dubai ten years ago from their shared apartment after identifying the need for an efficient online marketplace in the UAE. The joint CEO’s both returned to the US back in 2013, relinquishing the day-to-day running of their company, which has grown to include websites in ten cities across the Middle East and now a handy app too. The dubizzle headquarters are located in the UAE with services also available in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
Now in all honesty I am not a secondhand buyer but the other half purchased his and the eldest’s cars through dubizzle and found it easy to navigate with filters that allowed him to search effectively, there’s even a save search option that updates when a new match to your respective criteria appears. A marvellous option in fact considering that Abu Dhabi residents alone posted 194,490* secondhand items for sale on dubizzle in the first nine months of this year (dubizzle users here in the capital posted an average of one ad per two minutes), with a combined value of a staggering AED 367 million (for those who like facts, that’s equivalent to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2014 salary).
We used dubizzle to sell all our excess furniture and white goods when we moved from our cavernous villa to a more compact apartment a few years ago and the goods literally flew out the house. I was of the opinion that dubizzle was where you buy/sell your secondhand sofa and while that certainly features as one of the most popular items in Abu Dhabi (10,753* types of sofas were listed) along with computers, mobile phones, baby strollers, watches and SLR cameras there is also an abundance of luxury items available. The most expensive items posted for sale were two copies of the world’s smallest Quran, priced at a staggering AED 1.5 million (that’s a whopping £266,707 approx) and a sports watch signed by former football legend Maradona, with a hefty AED 500,000 price tag.
Everyone knows that the mobile phone market here is booming, most people have the latest release immediately and it’s not unusual for people to have at least two phones or more but I wasn’t aware that the secondhand phone market was so popular. It’s really worth having a route around your drawers and cupboards to dig out those discarded phones especially when you hear that the total value of mobile phones posted for sale on dubizzle in Abu Dhabi amounted to AED 18.9 million*. With so many young families from across the globe residing in the UAE it’s no real surprise that secondhand baby goods are so popular too with a total of 1,452* strollers for sale by Abu Dhabi parents with a combined value of AED 744,000*, equivalent to 3,000 tickets to Ferrari world!
Abu Dhabi dubizzlers are a busy bunch posting 3,157* various kinds of watches for sale with a whopping combined value of AED 19.1* million (matching Michelle Rodriguez’s salary in the Fast and Furious 7 movie). Need a new guitar? Check out dubizzle, there were 602* types of guitars for sale in the capital worth AED 790,451* and if you stacked them lengthwise they’d be as tall as Etihad Towers that appeared in the aforementioned FF7 movie. Fitness fanatics can find lots of equipment for sale too, there were 3,247* bikes perfect for using at the Yas Marina Circuit available from Abu Dhabi sellers worth AED 4.1* million (that’s the cost of hiring Justin Bieber for a personal concert if you so desire and at that price I like to think that he might not two hours late on stage, note to self: need to let that go!).
But it’s not all about selling and buying at dubizzle, there’s a human element too with different initiatives and schemes featured on their website and blog. The community section offers an array of services including such things as Activities, Artists, Charity, Clubs and Classes, Education, Music, Photography, Sports and even Car Shares and Lost/Found. Another focus is decluttering and dubizzleyourhome, giving people the inspiration to sell unwanted furniture and accessories and exchange them for a new look all from the online classified ads.
I love the story of the dubizzle house, dispelling the rumours that such a house exists in Kerala built from the proceeds of selling on dubizzle. A countrywide dubizzle discussion years ago prompted a mystery man to thank dubizzle for giving him a good life, adding that he had bought a house and called it dubizzle.hom. Everyone at the company thought it was a hoax but recently the original email was pulled from the archives and the mystery man, Subash was found living in Kerala. This news prompted a series of telephone calls to Subash, proving the disbeliever’s of the urban myth that the dubizzle house actually existed wrong. Two employees from the Dubai office hopped on a plane to India to meet Subash in person, making a film of his incredible story, his family and his home.
Subash worked in customer service in Dubai, then become a broker during the UAE real estate boom in 2005. The turning point was acting on the advice of a pilot friend to use dubizzle, placing property ads and receiving an overwhelming number of responses which enabled him to make quite a bit of money. He returned to Kerala when the recession hit the UAE real estate market and realised his dream to build his own house from his savings, naming his house after his dubizzle success, watch the video here
So next time you need a new car or even a boat, want to clean out your closet or declutter your house, search for a new job or even become an urban legend like Subash visit Dubizzle.com, it’s the best place to search without even leaving the comfort of your home, now I’ve finished writing this post I’m off to rummage in all my cupboards and everyone else’s too. Remember one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure 😉
*All research, figures, comparisons and factual information are used courtesy of dubizzle.com. Figures and comparisons relate to Abu Dhabi only from January to September 2015. I was invited to the dubizzle event but the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Photos two, three and four are used courtesy of dubizzle.com. dubizzle is also on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.