Facebook Hires Oodle to Run Classifieds – Do People Want to Sell to Their Friends?

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Facebook announced today that it will hand over the reigns on its Marketplace application to Oodle after a year in which listings in Facebook’s Marketplace dwindled to nearly 10 per day even in very popular markets like San Francisco.

Unlike other applications developed in house by Facebook like Photos or Events, Marketplace never gained widespread adoption. While Facebook Photos and Facebook Events are more tightly integrated with users’ friends, Facebook Marketplace has primarily been organized around Networks instead of being more deeply integrated with the social graph. What might change?

“In many cases, finding good homes for items we are no longer using is more important than selling them at the highest price,” Oodle CEO Craig Donato said in a statement. “For example, when I have extra tickets to a concert, I’d prefer to give them to a friend or sell them at face-value to someone I work with. We’re focused on making this simple to do with Marketplace.”

However, whether selling to friends on Facebook can become a large market still remains to be seen. Despite a year and a half of an open Facebook Platform, few classifieds applications have gained significant traction. It will be interesting to see what kind of progress Oodle can make by combining its expertise with the benefits of working directly with Facebook to create Marketplace 2.0.

Facebook says the new version “will be integrated into the site similar to other third-party applications.” It is scheduled for release in Q1 of 2009.