Latin Interactive World: Digital Power Houses – Dridco

Continuing our "Digital Power Houses" series, Portada interviewed Patrick Summers, Marketing Manager for Dridco. Dridco is a Latin American company specialized in e-commerce sites. The company’s best-known digital properties are DeMotores.com, ZonaJobs.com, and ZonaCitas.com.

At a Glance:

Company name: Dridco

Sites owned: DeMotores (purchase and sale of autos, motorcycles, and boats), ZonaJobs (jobs site), ZonaProp (property sales and rentals), ZonaCitas (online dating site), and NexoLOCAL (classifieds site)

Country: Argentina

Market presence: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Spain.

Employees: 270

Company’s goal: Seek to increase, through its sites, the efficiency of connections and exchanges between people, between companies, and between people and companies.

Portada: What is your opinion regarding the classified advertising market in Latin America?

Patrick Summers: "The Latin American classified advertising market is growing at an extremely interesting rate, especially in the jobs, real estate and auto categories.

In 2010, jobs, auto, and real estate sites moved around $5.6 billion in the U.S., a market that is considered mature. In Latin America, by contrast, Brazil ($133 million) and Mexico ($20.5 million) seem to be the only major players, still far removed from the volumes generated in the U.S. Argentina has only generated about 15.6 million, or 0.28% of what the U.S. market generates.

But these figures are bound to increase sharply. The Internet, whose platform offers many benefits, will exceed the ability of newspapers to attract ads. Currently, online advertising revenues stand at $15.6 million this year and offline advertising revenues are at $80 million, which shows there is still much room for growth."

Portada: What are the trends for e-commerce over the next few years, for both the pan-regional market and the main Latin America country markets?

Patrick Summers: "Over the past 10 years, e-commerce growth in Latin America was especially driven by the auction sites, while in the last two years digital retailers have begun to take on greater relevance in this category."

Portada: We know you are present in several Latin American countries. In which specific countries are you operating and how many employees do you have? Do you have plans to expand in the region?

Patrick Summers: "Dridco is present and has operational offices in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. It also operates virtually in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Spain.

This year we’re going to establish a physical presence in Spain and Brazil, with a strong investment in those countries and the opening of commercial offices. We currently have 270 employees, and hope to increase that number to 400 by the end of the year."

Portada: What are the circulation numbers and unique visitor figures for the sites you operate?

ZonaJobs.com: More than 6 million registered users throughout Latin America and 32 million unique visitors confirmed as of November 2010.

ZonaProp.com: Each month, ZonaProp.com receives 1,600,000 visitors, who can search over 85,000 property listings from more than 3,000 real estate companies.

DeMotores.com: More than 2,000 dealers throughout Latin America publish their vehicle listings through the platform, and the site receives over 4 million hits per month.

ZonaCitas.com: More than 400,000 registered users and a total of 8 million contacts generated in 2010.

Portada: What are your marketing strategies for social networks? Can you provide user figures for these platforms?

Patrick Summers: "Our social media strategies are one of our pillars of growth. We strive to connect with each of our customers across different social platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. For example, recently through ZonaJobs, we became the world's largest job community on Facebook, with more than 105,000 fans on our fan page (www.facebook.com /zonajobscom). The job search process can be long and very demanding, which is why we created a space in which to contain each applicants’ information and provide all necessary information to prepare them for each stage of the job search process."

Portada: How is your regional integration set up among your sites in regards to advertising? Do you work pan-regionally; sell advertising from national newspapers, etc..?

Patrick Summers: "We have a corporate team for each business that handles marketing and technology centrally, and sales teams in each country that are embedded in a matrix. Each strategy is based on each country’s situation."

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