|Wed Feb 8 2012 10:19:41|
Why Aren't More People Using Facebook Marketplace?
By: Julia Wilkinson
|With the hype over the Facebook IPO, we've heard a lot of stats. One of them is if Facebook were a country, it would be the world's third largest, at almost 850 million users. With those numbers, way beyond the crucial "critical mass" metric that makes for a successful Internet company, it's surprising that Facebook's Marketplace isn't being used by more people.|
When I asked some of my online seller friends if they use Facebook Marketplace, the replies included, "Have never used it," "Never even thought about it," "I tried it with my jewelers' loupes but it did nothing," "Nope - wasn't even aware of it - just use regular fb," and "I don't even know what it is. LOL." It doesn't help that Facebook moved Marketplace from its more visible place as part of its main platform to an app where it's harder to find among a sea of other apps.
But the Marketplace app, powered by Oodle, which runs an online classifieds/marketplace at Oodle.com provides an easy, quick, and not least importantly, free way to list anything. (You can connect to Marketplace by connecting your Facebook profile to the app, or you can login at Oodle.com). And soon it will be branching out to a "Circles" model, similar to Google Circles, which will give users more flexibility in buying and selling. (Read more about Facebook Marketplace's Circles in today's EcommerceBytes NewsFlash story, Selling to Your Circles - The State of the Facebook Marketplace.
Currently, when I view the Marketplace app on Facebook, with my location set to my town of Alexandria, VA, I mainly see car and real estate ads. It seems to have caught on here more with professional sellers, although Oodle CEO Craig Donato says, "We definitely haven't courted professional sellers. The focus has predominantly been private party/casual sellers. Our outreach to pro sellers to date has been in the apartment rentals and cars verticals." Donato, who lives in the Silicon Valley area, says he sees lots of listings around him, so there may also be regional differences in listings.
It may also be that when people come to Facebook, they mainly come to socialize, check their friends' newsfeeds, and see what funny animal video is going viral that day. But I think it's a shame this selling resource is not being used more -- it has a built-in base of potential users, unlike many of the smaller selling marketplaces which struggle to catch up to the huge number of eyeballs eBay and Amazon brings. And did I mention it's free?
The Circles feature may bring more users to Facebook Marketplace, with its added controls over whom you can sell to, and even buy from. I hope so, because I think this is a selling platform that could be a great alternative to what's out there now, if enough people would just discover it.
What do you think about the Facebook Marketplace? Have you sold there, or if not, would you be comfortable selling there? Would the ability to specify which groups of people you could post listings to make a difference in whether you would post items there or not? Post a comment here!
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