I’ve been meaning to post on this for a while, but here’s my argument why Facebook’s marketplace feature has the potential to unseat Craigslist as the home for online classifieds, and is at the very least a much bigger deal than it’s been touted.
As I was perusing Facebook some months back looking for an apartment in Chicago, I found one in the Uptown neighborhood where the price was right. I read the description, looked at some pictures and saw the contact information to e-mail the person who posted the ad.
Thus far, nothing too different from Craigslist.
Then, at the very bottom of the post, I saw a little message that read “Send Brandon a message? You are not friends with Brandon, but you are both friends with Jessica.” (See more recent example involving an iPod Nano).
It hit me. Leveraging its enormous database of social networks, Facebook effectively eliminated the anonymity behind a classified ad AND established reputability between buyer and seller.
This is huge
Now, whether Facebook’s marketplace will become the home for online classifieds may be a bit of a stretch. But, as anyone who has used Craigslist can testify, there’s nothing more frustrating then not knowing (1) the identity of the person with whom you’re dealing and (2) whether or not they are reputable.
Identity and reputation.
Now, other sites (notably Amazon and eBay) have done with these two issues using reputation ratings systems. But for peer-to-peer transactions, sitting on an enormous database of connections (or friends) could easily be another, perhaps easier way, because it’s automated and requires no effort on the part of the user.
Something for newspaper sites to chew as they look further into hyperlocal sites and offer classified solutions that attempt to rival Craigslist.