Facebook takes on Craigslist and eBay with classified ads

05/10/2016

Facebook is launching “Marketplace”, a dedicated section of its social network, where people can browse used goods for sale in their neighbourhood and list items for sale.

The new feature will be advertised to users with an icon of a store that will appear in the app’s main menu bar on both iPhone and Android.

The move puts the social network in direct competition with US classifieds giant Craigslist on mobile phones, where more and more shopping is taking place.

Craigslist doesn’t have its own app and its website design is fairly basic, but it has a huge audience prepared to buy and sell.

Facebook says that already, “more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month”, using informal groups.

The largest operator in the classified ad space is still eBay. It sold more than $20bn of merchandise in 2015, according to its latest financial report, though much of those sales are from large-volume sellers, rather than individuals.

Facebook has huge advantages over its competitors because of its vast audience and significant resources but might still have its work cut out.

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