Gumtree is an extensive network of online classifieds and community websites. At Gumtree you can find everything you need to live your life with the help of your local Gumtree community; from a job or a flat, date, a nanny for your kids or a bargain to a language teacher and a tennis partner.
I first stumbled across Gumtree around 6 years ago while randomly dong a job search online. I soon discovered what a valuable resource it is for both people that are new to a particular town or city and for people who are already established in a particular area. Besides giving the user access to online 'classifieds' pages, Gumtree also acts as a great community hub, helping to connect people in specific areas.
Recently, due to work commitments, I had to move to a completely different part of the country where I literally didn't have a clue about the area. The first thing I did was go to the Gumtree site to see if my new area was covered. Sure enough, there was a Gumtree page for my County. I was able to navigate the page to look for accommodation that was available in my area. In the end I found something through an agent but my point is that in theory, I could have used the site to find myself somewhere to live, a job, some furniture and even a new partner, as well as learning about courses, events, nights out and even car sharing.
Gumtree is very simple to use and navigate around. One simply selects their City or County to find the page most applicable to them. They are then presented with a very clear and simple page with the following subject headings: Cars, Vans & Motorbikes, For Sale, Services, Jobs, Flats & Houses, Community, Pets, Dating, Competitions. Each category has plethora of sub categories that help one narrow their specific search. Once they've found a relevant category that best suits their requirements, they literally click it and are then directed to a page that lists everything available. There is also an option at this stage to refine ones search further if necessary. Finally, assuming there is something of interest one simply clicks on the 'Reply to this ad' button, which presents them with an idiot proof data capture section that allows them to contact the member. The whole experience really couldn't be any simpler.
Gumtree has a very distinctive and memorable logo that bares their name and the image of a tree in bold and bright colours, which predominately consist of green and orange. These colours filter through into the rest of the site creating solid visual links that are friendly and appealing to the user, which fit nicely with it's clean white and pale grey backgrounds. The image of the tree creates an organic feel which makes total sense as it works in harmony with the general feeling of the site which is an ever growing community.
The main negative about Gumtree's layout, is the adverts that appear throughout. However, as with most sites, they are something the user has learnt to accept; after all, if it wasn't for such adverts, a lot of these sites wouldn't survive.
Despite all the massive benefits of Gumtree, the only down side to the site is the scammers and opportunists that are waiting to try and abuse the good nature of many of Gumtree's users. For example, in the past I've seen adverts on there for apartments that are clearly to good to be true; state of the art, all inclusive luxury apartments at half the price they would be anywhere else. The advert will state that they (the owner) live abroad and just need the money sending to them in exchange for the keys. Clearly these places don't exist and anyone naive enough to part with their cash is more than likely never going to see it again. As with any site that involves cash transactions, it's down to the individual user to use their common sense when parting with their money; If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!
Since Gumtree first started back in March 2000, it has grown from being a local site based around London to a site that represents 60 cities across 6 different countries including Poland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and of course the UK. This fast growth doesn't surprise me in the slightest as, certainly in my world, it's made life so much better in so many ways having such an invaluable resource at my fingertips.