Facebook’s (FB) New Gig Threatens eBay, Craigslist

Mark Zuckerberg and the gang have realized Craigslist's potential and have come out with a similar service.

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Got old junk you want to get rid of? Forget about listing your stuff on Craigslist or eBay, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is coming out with a new service that lets you buy and sell new and used stuff within your local communities. It’s called “Marketplace” and it’s geared up to a buyers’ and sellers’ paradise.

The Marketplace is a centralized, peer-to-peer platform that lets Facebook’s 1.7 billion users browse, buy, or sell goods online.

In a press release, Facebook said the new platform allows users to find “new things to love” and give people who are willing to part with their old stuff a place to conduct trading while providing the “best experience” for buyers and sellers alike.

Using Facebook to sell stuff is old news to some, particularly indie sellers, but the Marketplace pretty much formalizes trading within the social network.

What’s cool about the service is the level of control given to users to browse for items on sale. For one thing, the platform presents sales near you. Within the online marketplace, you can customize your search, browse through different categories (such as Household, Electronics, etc.) so no more wading through thousands of stuff you don’t need looking for specific item. In addition, you can adjust the search based on regions or different cities to widen your search.

And once you see an item you like, you have the option to know more about the seller, save the item for later or make an offer directly to the seller. Just like Craigslist, Facebook’s Marketplace does not allow payment transaction of any kind so to get the item; you’d have to hash out a way to do just that with the seller through direct messaging.

The new Marketplace is touted as a cleaner Craigslist, one that presents customers and sellers a broader audience for commerce. According to Jason Goldberg, vice president of commerce and content at digital agency Razorfish, a chunk of the population is on Facebook and the social network’s reach is immense, making it ripe for trading.

One thing worth noting is that unlike eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), the Marketplace does not offer any buyers protection. This means, if things go south between you and the seller, there is no way for you to get your money back unless the seller is willing to provide such guarantees. Essentially, when you purchase an item, you do so at your own risk.

Just like always, Facebook execs are hoping to monetize the Marketplace in the future. According to Goldberg, the new platform is the perfect opportunity to “build audiences you can sell to advertisers.”

Facebook plans to roll out the Marketplace in the US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia via the social network’s phone app. According to the press release, the platform will be offered to other countries over the course of several months.

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