trooQ's Social Approach to Beat eBay?

trooQ is a recently launched social marketplace that rivals ebay in concept with its approach to interacting with trusted buyers and sellers. What this D.C.-based service does is encourage you to buy from trusted individuals based on the relationship you build with them within the trooQ community. The setup of trooQ itself is rather user-friendly, with an easy submission form for classifieds, and profile pages that list all a user’s available items.

Search queries can be sorted in a similar way that eBay search queries can be, by those items that are ending the soonest, among other filtering options. And while there’s a focus on the social aspects of trooQ, you can still offer feedback on users after interacting with them through buying and selling on trooQ’s marketplace. These ratings will be displayed on a user’s profile.

While this approach creates a different set of trust values than eBay’s ranking system, the concept itself is not new.

There are several online marketplaces that allow you to befriend the other buyers and sellers in order to build up a trusting repertoire for a more social marketplace. But with platforms like Facebook Connect, trooQ could greatly benefit from creating an application that taps into larger, existing social networks for an even more trusting environment. Right now, any friends you have on trooQ are also friends made on trooQ, meaning that you have to build up trust and reputations from scratch.

Though if trooQ had a Facebook app, you could see your Facebook friends that are buying and selling on trooQ, and these are the people you already know and trust. While there’s no way to find existing friends on trooQ, the company, formed by former Director of Product Management at Mixx, does encourage social interaction with its communities.

These communities act as special interest groups that let you get to know other users better, and have a more direct group of people to sell items to. What’s helpful with these communities is that they offer a more targeted option for both buyers and sellers, while allowing users to get to know one another.

So far, trooQ doesn’t appear have many users or listings across its categories, but I think that creating an application that integrates with the Facebook Connect platform could really help users jump-start their experience. Especially since there are already Facebook applications for eBay that let you see what items your Facebook friends are buying and selling, a more integrated approach for trooQ’s social stance will help make it a more viable contender.

For a screen demo, see the video below, as posted on East Coast Blogging.