I read an interesting rumor over on Mashable that Facebook might be launching a classifieds service. If the rumor is in fact true, it makes a lot of sense. It seems to me that the hardest thing about creating a new marketplace is finding a way to aggregate buyers and sellers in a central place. Well, Facebook has lots of users, any of which could be a buyer and/or a seller, depending on the circumstances. Most colleges already have some mechanism for allowing students and members of the community to sell and buy things – why not just enable this marketplace through the dominant application that many college students use today? Assuming it’s well-executed, it could be really useful for the college crowd.
Despite the power of Craiglist, I also think this service could also make the metropolitan and corporate networks on Facebook more useful. I don’t know about others, but there are certainly circumstances where I’d rather buy from or sell to a friend or friend-of-a-friend rather than a stranger from Craigslist. My school alumni network has tons of “for sale” or “looking to buy” traffic every week — why not use Facebook to handle and manage all of this instead? There are other “classifieds lite” services, such as a roommate finder, a sublease finder, and other kinds of non-dating personal ad categories that make a lot of sense as extensions to a classifieds platform.
If this opportunity is real, I hope the folks at Oodle are all over it — it could be a huge win for their white-label classifieds product.