Classifieds listings have returned to Facebook, thanks to the social network's partnership with e-commerce service Oodle. With Facebook Marketplace's focus on making classifieds "social," the company hopes to give Craigslist a run for its money. But at least right now, it won't mean any new revenue streams for Facebook--it's powered by ads and sponsored listings, with no transaction fees yet.
You may recall that in mid-2007, Facebook launched its own "Marketplace" feature, but it never really caught on. Late last year, Facebook made it public that Marketplace would be relaunched with Oodle's collaboration.
It's different from other Oodle-powered classifieds systems (which include News Corp.'s MySpace): namely, it looks like a Facebook news feed. You can fill out listings as though they were the social network's own status updates, by choosing one of four options (sell, sell and donate proceeds to charity, give away for free, or ask for something). Then, it'll show up in your friends' news feeds as something like, "Caroline is selling a lightsaber." You can sell items to any Facebook member, though friends-only listings are on the way, and when someone looks at your listing they can also see, for example, how many friends you have in common. Oodle and Facebook hope that will boost the trustworthiness factor.
There's no payment system, which means that buyers and sellers currently need to negotiate a means of compensation. It does, however, leave the doors open for an internal Facebook payment system, something that is either in the works or on the back burner depending on who you ask.
Additionally, at this point, posting a classified on Facebook Marketplace is free. But the service is focusing at launch on the sale and exchange of material goods. You can't hunt for jobs or apartments on it yet--that's on the way, and Oodle representatives wouldn't say whether there may be fees for these listings. (Craigslist makes its money from real estate broker fees, for example.)
Oodle and Facebook are highlighting the "donate to a charity" option, which taps into the array of nonprofits reachable through the Network for Good (it also powers the popular "Causes" application on Facebook). While there are over a million registered 501(c)3 nonprofits in the listing, about 20 are launch partners that have agreed to promote Facebook Marketplace.