Wanna sell your used bike to a college kid? Try Facebook.
Starting today the social networking web site used mainly by high school or college students, is adding free classified ad listings, Brad Stone writes in The New York Times. The new service, called Marketplace, will have classified listings in four categories: housing, jobs, for sale and “other”. The service puts Facebook into competition with dozens of established companies like Craigslist and many newspapers, Stone writes.
In a way it is a natural development. As media 2.0 emerges we’re watching the disruption of the business model of the traditional newspaper. Why shouldn’t Facebook, with 22 million active users, offer more reasons for its users to return to the site regularly (and get some income at the same time)?
At Publishing 2.0 Scott Karp also describes Facebook as a new disruptor in the classified ad market: “Imagine the impact this could have on housing ads, such as searching for a roommate. Neither Craigslist nor newspapers can compete with prospective roommates being able to size each other up based on their Facebook profiles,” he writes.
Several other bloggers also made thumbs up Friday.
At TechCrunch Duncan Riley wrote that Marketplace is a logical add-on for Facebook. “MySpace has offered classified services since inception and Friendster recently announced their intention to launch a similar service. The closed network structure of Facebook creates a higher level of trust amongst users than MySpace, with its more wild west approach of open friend lists,” he noted.
Nicholas Carr, blogging at RoughType, called the move smart and offered an additional idea, saying that Facebook also should capitalize on Wikipedia’s open license and create an in-network edition of the encyclopedia. At Screenwerk Greg Sterling wrote that the move will work and questioned if it will hurt newspapers and Craigslist. His answer: newspapers have already been hurt by the Internet and Facebook is not likely to cause much extra damage since college-students don’t consume news on paper. Craigslist will be interesting to watch, it’s Sterling guess that Craigslist will be fine thanks to it’s strong brand.
At Globe and Mail Mathew Ingram called Facebook The new black: “It’s the social network by which other social networks are judged — even MySpace, which it may already have eclipsed in terms of page views, if not users.”
He also noted that Facebook will be a powerful competitor in this particular space thanks to the social aspect it brings: “Does anyone feel like they have really connected with someone through their newspaper classifieds,” he asked.
Another interesting aspect is the fact that Facebook also can generate content. During the tragic events of the Virginia Tech-massacre many newspapers tried to access the site and get stories from witnesses. But that’s a different story – and potential business idea.
By John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers