FaceBook Sells Stuff Too

What is more powerful than a massive location aware social network? Why, its the FaceBook Marketplace. Looks like everyone’s favorite campus hang out spot is getting into the clasified ads business — for free. Don’t be fooled, there is a business model in there. If you jump over to the NY Times you can read all the details in the piece, Facebook to Offer Free Classifieds. From the article …

Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is calling the new service Marketplace and plans to introduce it on Friday. It will allow users to create classified listings in four categories: housing; jobs; for sale, where users can list things like concert tickets and used bikes; and “other,” a catch-all that could include things like solicitations for rides home for the holidays.

This creates an interesting campus market place that could drive even more traffic through the FB. I have to say I think I know where I am going to be placing my ads to sell some of that old stuff I have. If you think about it, where else could I go to really reach this demographic? The University newspaper, maybe. A flyer to hang on a classroom wall, eh. But with this, the FB folks have pegged the three things you need to do business — location, location, loaction … oh, and a built in network of connected, trusted, co-located friends doesn’t hurt either. This is worth watching.

What I am curious about is how they will provide value to the marketplace concept using all that is right about social networking. I am wondering if there will be Amazon style recommendations based on my profile or the profile of my friends. Will I see items for sale from friends first? If so, will I be more likely to buy. On campus we hear from students that they go to trusted sources first when they need help with things like technology and coursework … will that translate into the buying experience? I am betting on that being a yes. I wonder what others think?

7 thoughts on “FaceBook Sells Stuff Too

  1. Cole, you wrote: “Don’t be fooled, there is a business model in there. ”

    What do you think the business model could be? I am trying to figure out how they monetize this particular approach to the marketplace, and at this point I don’t see it. Perhaps down the road, once this has become an entrenched form of “trading” they could add a fee, but that again risks alienating their base (similar to when they opened the doors to non-college related folks!)

    Are you suggesting that there won’t just be “amazon style” recommendations, but that it will be places like Amazon that use our “Free” buying patterns to then market “real” sale advertisements?

    I find this to be quite interesting, and I hope that Facebook can find a way to monetize this. Heck, I am still of the old-school mindset that if something is worthwhile it’s worth paying for. (Apparently though, I am “new school” when it comes to ending sentences in prepositions!)

    I look forward to seeing a maelstrom of brainstorming here on how FB can monetize! 🙂


  2. At the start, I am guessing page impressions will be the continuing model. FB gets unbelievable traffic and provides advertisers with the potential to place very targeted ads. Imagine the luxury of running a site where you know nearly everything about your visitors — not through old school methods, but by having them spend hours a week honing their online profiles. It is not much of stretch to see how easy it use these same profiles to match individuals to targeted purchasing opportunities.

    How the rest shakes down would be something I am interested in watching. New models are right around the corner. What are your ideas?

  3. just out of curiosity…

    what percent of web-type-users are using ad-blocking of some sort??
    i’m sure there must be data on this somewhere (and i’m just too lazy to google away…).

    even back in my internet.explorer days; i was using either junkbuster or guidescope. then, of course, adblocker and/or ab-plus for firefox.. even in safari, i use a .css form to block ads.

    so… is all my reading worth paying for with ad content? not on myspace/facebook/and even the the wash.post (where my login is ‘fedup’…).
    come to think of it; are the browser-creators/programmers NOT creating decent adblocking by default, because the $$$ is in the ads.
    jeez, this might be worse than network television without tivo…

  4. Nothing to do with this post, but wanted to let you know I really enjoyed your Web 2.0 podcast. I do community building and web 2.0 for a living and really enjoyed your perspective and how you communicate the concepts to college students. I wish my professors (almost 30 years ago at GA. Tech) were as engaging as you come across in the podcast.

    I arrived at your podcast via an article called Podcast U in PC Magazine which included a link to Univ podcasts at http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?archives/249-Going-Public-itunes-u.html.

    Now I need to read the rest of your stuff. I’m noticing you are very prolific. 🙂

  5. Chris–congrats on the sale! I am assuming that you didn’t have to give facebook a ‘piece of the action’ right?

    Do you think this has the potential to generate much revenue for Facebook? Will there be more page visits, or just the same people that would normally be there, but instead of honing their profiles, they will be spending their cash?

  6. Pingback: The FaceBook Platform at Cole Camplese: Learning & Innovation

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