Turkish Etsy clone Pasaj.com builds its reach at home

Pasaj is a website for users to buy and sell handmade items. Just like Etsy in the US, Pasaj also focuses on a niche market and limits its sales on “user generated” products.

Nokta, the leading Turkish online media company, founded Pasaj in January 2009 and inside a couple of months it has a reached nearly 10,000 items listed. That’s not bad for a Turkey-focused startup.

Of course, Pasaj’s success is backed and aided by Nokta’s reach into a large number of online Turkish communities like izlesene.com, the leading Turkish video sharing site, Blogcu.com, the leading Turkish free blog provider, FotoKritik.com, the leading Turkish professional photo community and Sinemalar.com, a Turkish movie reviews community.

Nokta, with all its sites, has nearly 4 million members, and they reach around 2.5 million daily unique visitors.

As comScore’s latest report showed, Google sites ranked as the largest property in Turkey with more than 16 million visitors in April 2009, a reach of 90 percent of the total online population. Microsoft Sites ranked second with 15.5 million, followed by Facebook.com (12.8 million visitors) and DOL (10.1 million visitors), owner of Turkish-based entertainment and sports sites Ekolay and Fanatik.

Recently Pasaj launched its Facebook application which lets its members to list their products on Facebook profiles. Facebook has over 10 million Turkish members. Considering Facebook’s Turkish user potential, it will probably boost Pasaj’s user growth in a short while.

Also, it’s important to remember Sergistan.com which was the first company to try Etsy’s business model in Turkey. It focused on handmade items in Turkish markets but didn’t really get traction.

Turkey currently stands at #7 with its 26.7 million online population and one of the most engaged online audiences in Europe, but its online economy will need more time to catch the European average of online spendings. However, the e-commerce market is growing year on year and, wih 80m in population, my reckoning is that by 2012 the country’s online economy will be in the list of top 10 countries of Europe.