Earlier this week The Daily uncovered information that Facebook was experimenting with a proprietary classifieds system called “Marketplace” that focused more on a peer-to-peer exchange. Not only would users be able to list items, but also leverage Facebook audience tools like promoted posts or ads to help get items sold.
The Daily reports that the new system would allow users to create ads that would appear in friends’ feeds — much like promoted posts. It’s also been suggested that the posts would take an alternative more image-heavy look to draw more attention to the posts. An interesting aspect mentioned is that the posts could be share-able and spread in a viral fashion. The example The Daily uses is:
Say you were looking for a roommate in the Seattle area who is a neat freak and enjoys sushi. The ad would be shown to friends in the Puget Sound area. Those friends, however, could then pass it along to other across the country even if they aren’t friends with the original poster of the ad. It’s a clever way to get users to load more pages, but it’s also a great way to get users to expand their online social circles.
A “projects” section is rumored to allow users to offer odd jobs much like the “Craigslist Gigs” section. Also rumored to be coming are job boards where users could share potential opportunities with their friends. While this would immediately compete with LinkedIn Jobs but could also siphon money from the traditional posting model that includes the likes Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice.
This isn’t Facebook’s first attempt at a classifieds system, as they launched the initial “Marketplace” back in 2007. The service got lost in the shuffle of all the redesigns, features and business pages and was sold to Oodle in 2009. However, the increased pressure on Facebook to boost revenue may provide a stronger focus on a classifieds offering. Since Craig Newmark launched Craigslist back in 1995, no solid competitor has emerged to compete. Facebook is simply a vehicle that is primed to do so. With strong local ties, built in ads, and a development team focused on user experience (the very opposite of Craigslist) Facebook could make waves in the classifieds space.
We reached out to Facebook for a comment, but were told that there was nothing to report at this time. For more information see The Daily.