In an effort to find new revenue streams, Facebook is reportedly looking at the possibility of launching a classified ads service that may give Craigslist a run for its money.
The service would offer a mix of paid and free ads and include items for sale, apartment rentals and job vacancies, among other things.
A report by The Daily says “two sources within Facebook” claim the service will be called Marketplace, the same name given to a similar project launched by Facebook five years ago and which is now operated by Oodle.
Whereas Craigslist functions as a noticeboard that sits on the Web waiting for people to come and explore it, Facebook’s Marketplace would target members of its enormous site according to information in their profiles, posting ads in friends’ news feeds – similar to the way in which the promoted posts feature works.
For example, if you wanted to advertise a room in a particular location, you could tag friends who you think might be interested, with only those in the area receiving the ad – they could, however, share it with others if they knew someone who they thought could be interested.
While room ads are likely to be free, selling items will require a small fee – expected to be under $5 – with the ad appearing in friends’ feeds.
With job ads, a vacancy requiring a particular degree would end up in the feed only of those people with that specific qualification, while a ‘projects’ section would allow users to share tips and information on a range of subjects. “It’s possible the next generation of startups could be formed within this section,” The Daily suggests optimistically.
Whether such a service will pose any kind of threat to Craigslist remains to be seen, though with the well-established and popular classifieds site open to all, it should have little trouble in maintaining at the very least a decent chunk of its massive user base. Facebook, meanwhile, will be hoping it can use its Marketplace service to generate some much-needed revenue from its 552 million users.
While a launch date for the service appears not to have been set, The Daily’s sources claim it is being fast-tracked for launch.