Facebook Marketplace takes on eBay, Craigslist

Social net looks to on-site commerce for new revenue stream from mobile users

If you're spending a lot of time using Facebook, you may as well get a little shopping done, right?

That's the thinking behind Marketplace, a new online version of a yard sale Facebook announced today in a blog post. Marketplace can be found by tapping on the shopping icon on the bottom of the Facebook app for iPhone and Android.

The feature is set to roll out to users 18 and older in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand over the next few days, according to the company.

Facebook bills Marketplace as a service people can use to find the things they're looking to buy and sell what they want to get rid of.

"Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other," wrote Mary Ku, Facebook's director of product management. "More than 450 million people visit buy and sell in [Facebook Groups] each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world. To help people make more of these connections, today we're introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community."

The move gives sites like eBay and Craigslist, which have made their names and their fortunes on acting like online flea markets, a new rival.

"Yeah, this is like a jazzed up Craigslist," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "Facebook should bring an element of trust that Craigslist never had. Craiglist, which has had a problem with scammers, is built on the concept of anonymity, where Facebook uses the concept of community or social network to provide a level or security."

Even so, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, thinks Facebook may have its own issues with trust.

"Historically, Facebook has been tone-deaf about privacy," he added. "I'm skeptical this will work, given the perceived creepy factor involved. I mean, let's consider Craigslist and all the creepy things that have happened on that service. And now consider letting those same people near your personal Facebook world."

Moorhead noted that Facebook may have to make it clear to users how it will separate Marketplace and a Facebook user's private information. "Given their track record, this won't be easy," he said.

Kerravala, though, noted that with the amount of time people spend on Facebook, along with the service's built-in sense of community, Marketplace could be a revenue booster.

"I think the other element Facebook brings is spontaneity," he said. "We go to eBay or Craigslist to shop. We go to Facebook to see news and cat videos. While doing that, you might see something that catches your eye.... I think it's a great move for Facebook. People already spend hours on the site, this gives them a reason to spend more."

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?