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Wed May 16 2012 13:19:59

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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There's been a lot of hype over the Facebook IPO set for this coming Friday, May 18, with Facebook setting a price range on Monday of $34-$38 per share. Most of the talk has been over to buy or not to buy shares - is it overvalued? And as reported by The Wall Street Journal today, General Motors says its paid Facebook ads don't pay off, and it plans to stick to using free Facebook social media resources such as its official Facebook page.

Other advertisers such as Subaru plan to keep doing paid advertising on Facebook, and marketing analysts say its audience of some 900 million registered users -- "Half of the U.S. population," according to Subaru -- is too big to ignore.

But I'm more curious about how the goliath social media site might evolve and change the online selling world. So far, there doesn't seem to be a cohesive, broad-reaching way to sell items on the site, other than Facebook Marketplace powered by Oodle, an app on Facebook, which I blogged about in February:  Why Aren't More People Using Facebook Marketplace?

As the title suggests, the anecdotal results and my own admittedly limited attempts to sell via the Marketplace were not impressive. But, it's way too early to count Facebook Marketplace out. So Facebook and/or Oodle may get the Marketplace to a place where it's viable for everyone to sell everyday items.

Meanwhile, small glimmers of online selling and swapping hope appear in the form of some Facebook groups which have gained traction. These are largely niche at the moment. For example, there is the Re-Lilly group, where people are actively selling (and buying and swapping) pre-owned Lilly Pulitzer brand clothing. This group has over 13,300 "Likes" (that's a lot for a niche group!). And that is evident once you click into the group, as the number comes up in pink and green.

There are local swap groups, such as "Swap Shop," which is for Paris, Texas and the surrounding area only. There's a Babywearing Swap (for baby carriers), Postcards Swap, "SWAP SELL OR BUY GADGETS:)," and many more such groups.

Yesterday someone in my Yard Salers group posted a link to a kind of "promote your eBay item" group - "Free eBay Auction Advertising." This one appears to be brand new, and UK-based. There are also several groups named simply "Yard Sales" and groups local to certain towns. And there are "Sell" or "Seller" groups such as one for Etsy Sellers. And let's not forget the other Apps, such as eBay Selling Feed.

But these groups and apps may not be the face of the future of Facebook selling. If there's anything I've learned after over 23 (gulp) years in the Internet, including working for "Quantum Computer Services" in 1988, which became "America Online"; it's that it's hard to predict what the next big thing will be. (Back in 1989 people used to laugh at me typing away on online networks and said this online thing was a "fad." Today I heard some people think Facebook is a "fad").

But I would keep an eye on all the ways Facebook is evolving and keep trying out its ways to market, swap, and sell, so when it turns on a dime you'll be right there. For one thing, as a public company, it will be under pressure to show profit and growth, so it's possible it will experiment with paid online selling.

What do you think of online selling on Facebook, now or in the future? Do you use its Marketplace app, swap sites, or your own page or group to promote your products?




Comments (9) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed May 16 15:45:16 2012

I've made billions selling on Facebook and now have a 67 million federal tax debt which I simply don't want to pay.

So last fall I, a former Brazilian national to whom the USA graciously granted citizenship to a few years ago, renounced my US citizenship to evade paying these taxes and no longer owe the United States of America 67 million dollars.

I've been living in and will soon be permanently relocated to Singapore where there is no capital gains tax.

Forbes magazine just called me "an American hero" for what I've done.

But some of you 99% ers call me Silicon Valley Trash. I'll laugh at you all the way to the bank.

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed May 16 19:09:59 2012

Like all start ups once they sellout to corporate America the screws go on fro all the cash they can get.

So watch our for some changes.

I have used Facebook ads to drive views to my website, and they worked, but the price of the ads are is too high for me.

As regards GM they would only use it for "branding"

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

by: Re-Lilly This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 16 20:29:47 2012

As a long time AuctionBytes reader imagine my surprise and delight when I logged in to read AuctionBytes Blog and see Re-Lilly mentioned today! Thanks for the shout out! Cheers! xx Sue

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 16 21:04:20 2012

I read an article regarding GM selling on Facebook. I think the article said that when people use mobile devices to visit Facebook the ads don't show in the small screens.

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Thu May 17 08:49:14 2012

Facebook is already outdated and locked into the desktop paradigm, which is a dead-end.  Once something like Facebook goes ''mainstream'', it's no longer cool and trendy.  

I have 2 daughters - 14 and 17 - and while they do spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, they don't really like it. Too many ads, and an array of ''stupid pointless games that only old bored people play''.  They have zero loyalty to FB, and they try out new systems all the time.  

Facebook isn't AOL (which at one time was the nation's #1 internet provider) - they don't provide an essential service, they are merely a social gathering place - and there have been many of these over the years.  Social media is not fad - it have existed since the mid-80's (remember the BBS?) - but every platform has come-and-gone. They all have a limited lifespan.

Ecommerce and FB?  So far all that has done is make FB even less cool and less trendy.  

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 17 10:03:27 2012

I'm old. My old friends use facebook.
It's for retired people. They should try to promote AARP ads and stool softener ads.
It's good for looking up old classmates to see if they look old too.

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
Web Site

Thu May 17 11:15:57 2012

LOL Ming..just realized you were talking about Eduardo Saverin...I'm sure the IRS is loving that one! ;)

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Thu May 17 21:45:00 2012

In one respect, Facebook is a lot like AOL used to be. Remember back in the 90's when people actually thought AOL was "the internet" ? Well, Facebook is trying to be the same end all, be all online experience and just like AOL, it attracts the lowest common denominator.

The Facebook IPO means absolutely nothing for my business.

What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?   What Could the Facebook IPO Mean for Online Sellers?

by: bacpro This user has validated their user name.
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Fri May 18 09:47:03 2012

Facebook will fail, because The founder Mark, is a thief. And eventually it will catch up to him. A house built on sand will not stand when the storms hit.



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