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Facebook Just Unveiled Its Social Marketplace Competitor to Craigslist

Oct 03, 2016

Facebook is moving deeper into Craisglist's territory with the debut of an online marketplace on Monday. The social network announced that it has created a dedicated destination, called Marketplace, where Facebook users can list items to sell and search for items to buy.

In 2015, Facebook started allowing its users to sell and buy items in Facebook Groups. In 2007, the company also rolled out a similar e-commerce feature called Marketplace, but it never took off.

But more recently, as the social network elaborated in a blog post on Monday, its billion-plus users are still using the network to buy and sell items. After the 2015 debut of the marketplace feature in Groups, more than 450 million people visit, buy, and sell under the Groups tab each month.

With the new destination, Facebook users will now see an icon that looks like a store on the bottom of the homepage of the app. When clicking on the icon, the user will be taken to the Marketplace, now displaying photos and listings of items that people nearby have listed for sale. Users can also search for specific items and filter results by location, category (i.e. electronics or apparel), or price.

When the user finds something appealing, he or she can tap on the image to see more information about the item from the seller. This includes the name and profile photo of the seller and where he or she is located. Desired items can also be saved for easy discovery later. If the user wants to buy the item, he or she can send a message to the seller directly from the Marketplace to make an offer.

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But that's also where Facebook's involvement ends. Interestingly, the company is not handling payments or coordinating delivery. That's all up to the seller and buyer. For now, Marketplace will be rolling out to Facebook users over 18 years old in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand on the Facebook app for iPhone (aapl) and Android (goog). The social network will be making a desktop version available in the coming months.

It's similar in many ways to the way one would buy or sell something on Craigslist, or on new marketplace upstart OfferUp, which just raised a boatload of money. Like Facebook, OfferUp doesn't yet make any money from its marketplace. Craigslist charges for certain types of listings, such as job listings. This even creeps into the territory of marketplace and auction giant eBay (ebay).

But unlike these companies, Facebook (fb) doesn't need to make money from the marketplace. It already makes billions in revenue each quarter from advertising on its mobile apps and site. The social network is introducing this feature because it's just another thing that allows you to stay within Facebook's app instead of leaving to go to Craigslist or eBay.

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