Nilaam.PK – An exclusive preview of their upcoming global auctioning platform

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After their recent PR fiasco at the hands of the SEO people they hired to do promotion, the people behing finally went through the formal process of walking me through their app and agreeing to let me do a preview a couple of weeks before their hard launch date.

Nilaam.PK, based in Atlanta, GA, is being pitched as a global auctioning platform. Their basic interface is no different from any other auctioning system, except that at the moment it seems to be more focused on its single-purposed goal of supporting active auctions (see below).


Diving a little deeper I was given a walkthrough of the things that stands Nilaam apart in the crowd. Read on for those details.

One thing I like about Nilaam is that these people seem to be very clear on their focus on being a platform for P2P commerce rather than being a product. Within this focus, they are looking to work on a number of different things.

Firstly, they are not limiting this to any local region – in fact they are particularly interested in using Nilaam to support US-to-PK auctions, as well as auctions in Bangladesh, India and other middle-east / Asian countries. The case for the US and PK auctions is with expats who may want to bid for some items from home (to better connect with local culture) or local kids who might want to buy, say, guitars autographed from their favorite bands (to better connect with western culture).

If they are able to successfully support a reasonable shipping channel back and forth, this might become an intersting case.

Secondly, rather than waiting for a pure consumer-to-consumer focus, they want to build up inventory by allowing retailers from all over the country (and well other countries) to start e-stores immediately. These stores will be hosted within the Nilaam servers, but any small shop with inventory to sell can also set up a rebranded custom-themed store for themselves… these stores will also be visible over the Nilaam platform. From a business POV, this model is similar to the plain ecommerce fulfillment platform

Thirdly, they are also trying to make it immediately easy for buyers and sellers to exchange money in a secure way. The other local auctioning and ecommerce platforms have a love / hate relationship with Amaana and local banks in finding support for their ecommerce initiatives.

What Nilaam is doing instead is bringing an international merchant services system to Pakistan, where Nilaam has become the exclusive merchant services account for them in Pk (this is a testy statement and we’ll have to confirm this after launch). From what I understand, this means that buyers and sellers would be able to set up services accounts in 5–mins through the website, transfer funds to those accounts using western union, and start transacting across countries. Funds could be withdrawing via SWIFT wire transfer or via checks.

Finally, for buyers who dont feel safe sending money to random strangers, they are also introducing professional Escrow Services linked to their platform. The way that works is that if you’re a buyer, you can commit your money to the third-party escrow. The escrow will then be able to guarantee payment to the seller (reducing risk on that part). If the seller DOES send the goods, the escrow releases your payment to them. If the seller does not, your funds are returned.

It is interesting, again, to see them realize that web products are platforms, and I’m glad someone’s advisors are guiding them in the right direction. The question that still remains is whether our culture will get over the general hesitation to adopting web solutions and start using Nilaam and others as their primary method of buying.

Facebook comments:


  • i must say that they have done all the hard work. now lets wait and see how people respond to it.

    based on my research will offer merchant services through

    best of luck ..

  • Obi Wan Kenobi

    Did you delete one of your last posting about where you were talking about the copying Ebay’s statement ? What was the reason ? Was that wrong news or what ? Personally I did not like the tone of that entry but I wanted to see the follow up of my comment[if any] on that entry about how to make money with all these auction sites in Pakistan.

  • Noman,

    Yes I did – it wasn’t professional and that writeup wasnt from the company but an SEO firm they’d hired.

    You can add your comment here as well or email to speak directly to the guys behind it.

  • I’m really excited for Good Luck! Their services will really help bring exposure to pakistan’s small business network.

    Win Win for All!

  • @salman
    Yea, for merchant services, and phpprobid for the platform – good work Watson 😉

    Here’s another PR – titled “Bad news for Lootmaar” that I found for Nilaam after that initial post. I don’t know whether its a pre-launch fan evangelizing nilaam, or their over-enthusiastic SEO firm, but below-the-belt comment does not win you potential customers, even if you have deep pockets.
    I hope they have fired their SEO firm/copywriters by now.

    “ will be lauching in 18 days. Bad news for Adnan as he will not be able to compete with the Goliath!, is a new auction-based online marketplace that is determined to give the Pakistani ecommerce revolution a good hard push.

    With’s deep pockets, Will really be able to compete??”

    Goodluck Nilaam.

  • I would say that Nilaam just validated the market that Lootmaar’s been in for so long. and it seems to me that stuff thats iffy on Nilaam has already been figured out by Lootmaar. And like you guys have said, their SEO firm sucks but whoever hired them is at fault too. Seems to prove that having money isnt the solution to everything :)

    and merchant serviceS? ummmm If you are in Pakistan, you need to go through Citibank, which is hell expensive for consumers. If there wasn’t regulation stopping companies, dont you think every other website would have online merchant services by now? Nilaam can claim whatever they want, the ground reality is that they still have to close a few auctions and have several hundred satisfied users. Good luck Nilaam investors and team, with the quality of people you hired (SEO guys?) and the current website, you’ll need it.

  • ops, sorry i mean if there “wasnt regulation”. and “have several hundred” OH can you please edit the comment. I’m posting from my mobile and gprs so…

  • @Sohaib
    Based on the bravado used in that message, I’m guessing it is the same over-zealous SEO firm.

  • Nilaam and Lootmaar starting to fight it off in public. Good times are a coming boys!

    Perhaps we need some nutty SEO firm and jumpy underdogs for web commerce to really get into mainstream media and the general public’s mind.

    I have a question. Isn’t an escrow service basically ‘hundi’?

  • Adnan – Hundi is when person A at location X pays money to H1, so that person B at location Y gets paid by H2 – its basically money transfer bypassing banks and usually illegal.
    Escrow is when two parties agree on a payment schedule and deliverables, and the payer pays the escrow service in advance so that the payee can verify they have the money and will pay up, and later, the escrow service releases the funds as per agreement.

  • “Pakistan’s #1 Auction Site” – Yeah right! 😐

  • @ mohtashim

    regarding merchant services, my understanding is that will be using for money transfer which is like paypal. so i don’t see why they will have to go through citibank for that. correct me if i am wrong as i dont know much about it.

    as much as i like lootmaar, i dont think it has really picked up .. it can be because of the reasons that FK has mentioned in his blog or might be because lootmaar people haven’t tried as hard as is atleast supposedly trying to do (even though through wrong means) ..

    lootmaar is just karachi based till now which restricts its user base .. also they don’t have too much items to bid for .. not giving enough incentive to the user to come back to their website .. might have an edge over lootmaar because they are planning too big by opening it throughout pakistan and by bringing different stores to put their items ..

    in any case i think its time for lootmaar to get ready for some serious competition ..

    my best wishes for and b4bid .. i don’t think that money can help any web2.0 company to win users .. so big bucks shouldn’t matter too much here .. whoever will run the business model well would have an edge.

  • looks like went live early or maybe still testing in its last stages. Anyways, website is live!

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