Facebook Marketplace: First Real CL Challenger

I spoke last week with Craig Donato, CEO of Oodle, about the company’s new deal with Facebook, which went live earlier today. It’s the latest in a string of impressive Oodle deals that also include AOL, Wal-Mart and MySpace. Notwithstanding MySpace, in my opinion, this is the first real challenger to Craigslist that I’ve seen in the US market.

Facebook marketplace

I’m not going to be able to do justice to all the nuances and features. I’ll just say that it’s very thoughtfully designed and takes full advantage of the social architecture of Facebook. For example, listings that I post will show up in my news feed and my network will immediately discover that I’m selling my washing machine or giving away my puppy, etc. (push classifieds).

product profile page

There’s also significant integration with charitable causes. Each product I list gets a page and so does each charity to whom I want some or all of the sales proceeds to go. It’s not mandatory but this will be a popular feature of the site and a differentiator to be sure.

Over time these charity profiles will become more filled with merchandise, to the point that some people might start shopping on the profile page of a charitable cause they support.
Selling options

The ability to “sell it,” “sell it for a cause,” “give it away” or “ask for it” is relatively unique — especially Ask for It.

There’s also a more conventional classifieds view and experience available featuring search and category browse functionality. Again, however, Oodle has taken advantage of the structure and culture of Facebook (i.e., sort by friends). (Facebook or MySpace wasn’t the first to introduce “social classifieds,” it was actually Microsoft Expo which was shuttered awhile ago.)

refine

I’ve been having a kind of running conversation with Craig Donato about the nature of classifieds for the past three years or more. I think they did a very nice job with this integration. Right now the listings are exclusive to Facebook but over time more Oodle network listings will make it in there and, presumably, the Facebook listings will go out to the broader Oodle syndicate.

Craigslist remains a vital and successful site but I could see Facebook marketplace peeling off some users and creating a large alternative marketplace. Why do I say that? Because I can imagine my wife using it — she’s on Facebook often playing Scrabble and it would be quite easy for her to simply post there what she might have posted elsewhere.

But as Craig Donato points out (do you have to be named Craig to run a classifieds site?) the thing that makes classifieds sites sink or swim is critical mass, both of users and listings. Facebook certainly has the former and we’ll see if it develops the latter.

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7 Responses to “Facebook Marketplace: First Real CL Challenger”

  1. PHP Class for Facebook | Edmonds Commerce Blog Says:

    […] More… New Facebook Blackberry Application Coming SoonFacebook Marketplace: First Real CL Challenger « Screenwerk […]

  2. KB Xiong Says:

    My biggest surprise is that it took this long for a CL to get any real competition. Anyone could see that CL was booming. Don’t know why it took so long.

  3. Friends on Fire Eagle « Screenwerk Says:

    […] information and/or the potential it offers as a local utility for both businesses and users. The Oodle powered marketplace uses location of course. But when will Facebook wake up to the […]

  4. Adi Nugroho Says:

    nice article about facebook dude.don

  5. Classifieds Says:

    interesting!

  6. Oodle Integrates Twitter Distribution (and Search) « Screenwerk Says:

    […] success will likely not hurt Craigslist. I characterized the Oodle-Facebook integration as the first bona fide Craigslist challenger. But CL is the 18th most popular site on the US Internet with somewhere around 40 million uniques. […]

  7. Oodle Makes Classifieds More Social, Zillow Grows « Screenwerk Says:

    […] upload a screenshot, but WordPress doesn’t seem to be letting me right now. Here’s my post on Facebook Marketplace (powered by […]

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