Oodle Launches Facebook Marketplace 2.0, Aiming to Make Classifieds More Social

Three months after Facebook announced it had hired Oodle to run its classifieds business, Marketplace “2.0” is launching on Facebook tonight.

Like Facebook’s original Marketplace application, Oodle’s new Marketplace application will primarily focus on the “private party” market – individuals selling things to other individuals – instead of primarily focusing on local advertisers.

How has Oodle revamped Facebook Marketplace?

1. The new Marketplace takes a “conversational” approach to classifieds listings. The listing process is light, and asks users “Why are you selling it?” This is intended to start a conversation around the listing, and comments are aggregated on a listed item’s “Wall.”

“We think a lot of fun things happen in classifieds, and it’s not all about selling. The fact that you’re selling your couch provokes an interesting conversation, and we want to fit classifieds into that,” Craig Donato, Oodle’s CEO, told Inside Facebook today.

2. Marketplace places a large emphasis on items listed by your friends – not just people in your local area. Why? Marketplace aims to take advantage of the way communication on Facebook works to make it easier for people to list things on Marketplace that they would never email their friends about.

For example, take the example of trying to borrow a power washer to give your driveway its annual spring cleaning, Donato says. While emailing your friends about that may seem a little too in-your-face, putting up a Marketplace listing and hoping someone sees it in their feed is a lower priority way to share that that could feel more appropriate for some people.

3. Marketplace makes it easy to “sell for a cause.” The Causes application on Facebook has shown that people like to express themselves through the causes they support. Oodle is leveraging this by creating a way for Facebook users to sell items to benefit charity.

Oodle has partnered with Network for Good to build a list of thousands of non-profits that users can “sell for.” When a Facebook user donates an item to sell for the cause, Marketplace promotes that along with the listing. (However, because Oodle is not getting in the middle of transactions, you’re essentially making a pledge when you “sell for a cause” – Oodle will send you an email to actually enter your payment information and complete the donation later.)

“While my wife wouldn’t go and clean out the garage for a yard sale, she might do it if it would benefit the Samaritan House,” Donato said.

Cracking the Classifieds Nut on Facebook

While Facebook’s original Marketplace application never gained widespread adoption, Donato said he is optimistic about the company’s new version rolling out tonight.

“We designed the classifieds experience around the way conversation happens in Facebook,” Donato says. “In addition, we have a lot of infrastructure we’ve been building for the last 4 years designed to maintain quality control, do fraud and spam detection, auto-categorization of listings, and so on.”

“Ultimately, classifieds are very social. You meet the person online first, but you always end up in a face to face interaction. A lot of people are freaked out by the anonymity of sites like Craigslist, because they end up at your house the next day. There’s the nice weirdo filter aspect that now you’re dealing with people you at least know something about.”

Oodle’s Relationship with Facebook

While Donato wouldn’t detail the nature of the company’s business relationship with Facebook, general signs point to a revenue sharing agreement as the Marketplace service grows. In addition, Donato said the application won’t get any special treatment from Facebook in terms of APIs or promotion.

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