New Yukon website merges classifieds and social media
WHITEHORSE – Move over Trader Time. Get out of the way Kijiji. There’s a new kid in town. Borealist.com is a brand new website launched this month by Whitehorse programmer Marko Marjanovic with help from Technology Innovation at Yukon College’s Yukon Research Centre.
Marjanovic has dubbed his site “Yukon’s online marketplace” and hopes to attract Yukoners looking to buy, sell and trade away from more established sites like Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook.
“Kijiji is clunky, ugly, and cluttered with ads. The Whitehorse buy/sell groups on Facebook have no search function and your ad gets lost pretty quickly – but the informality can be entertaining,” said the 28-year-old software engineer.
“Borealist provides a cleaner, more intuitive user experience. It combines the advantages of a traditional online classifieds site with a social media twist that more people are demanding today.”
And it works. Marjanovic has already sold several items including an avalanche shovel and avalanche probe for $30. One of his friends has posted five ads and made three sales.
The site was launched on July 6th and has quickly picked up over fifty users from friends and word-of-mouth alone. Over the next few months, Marjanovic will be improving the site based on user feedback and adding more features, such as linking posts to Twitter and Facebook.
His goal is to have 5000 users within a year and plans to use a combination of contests, online and traditional advertising, and simply engaging with the trading community to get there.
“There are more people involved in the buy/sell community here in Yukon, than in bigger cities. We don’t have easy access to big box stores, and I think re-using, recycling, passing things on, is just in the nature of people who are here,” said Marjanovic.
This means that new ads and comments appear on the Borealist page in real time, like Facebook, and searches do not load on a separate page they simply remove the unnecessary information, similar to searches in Gmail and Google Maps.
“This is another good example of how Technology Innovation can support Yukoners by drawing upon innovative ideas within our community and making them a reality,” said Rick Steele, coordinator for Technology Innovation (TI), Yukon Research Centre.
“Borealist.com is an approach that can work best in our environment here. Marko identified a local niche market with clear, discernible needs, and is working with pre-existing software tools to create a solution. Repurposing existing technology counts as innovation – you don’t always have to build from scratch.”
TI provided resources, guidance, and a grant of $20,000 to Marjanovic’s company, Frostbyte Software Design, to support the development of the software, database framework and website.
Marjanovic and Steele say the next step is to effectively commoditize and commercialize the site and the programming behind it. Down the road, Marjanovic can see potential for exporting the site to other communities.
“Smaller towns and communities fall through the cracks of Craigslist and Kijiji. I believe they would welcome a more localized, self-contained solution like this,” said Marjanovic.
Technology Innovation assists innovators in the development of commercial products and services that will contribute to the social and economic prosperity of the Yukon. It is one of six key programs at the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College. The other five are: Cold Climate Innovation, Northern Climate ExChange, Biodiversity Monitoring, Science Adventures, and Resources and Sustainable Development for the Arctic.
For more information, contact:
867 668 8786
867 332 4722
Yukon Research Centre
867 456 8625