Facebook Expand Peer-to-Peer Shopping into Marketplace

For quite a while now, local community shopping has been an available feature on Facebook via the 'Local Market' extension. Buy and sell groups have been kicking around for a while too, but now Facebook Marketplace is here, and it aims to provide a blue-tinted answer to Gumtree or Craigslist.

It's directly tied in with Messenger, so you can arrange the whole thing with the interested party as quickly and efficiently as possible without having to angle around the need for emailing or asking for a phone number. The main thing though is that if you're dealing with somebody through Facebook, you're going to have a much better idea of what sort of person they are.

It launched in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand yesterday, and it's still pretty rough around the edges but the issues are all easy to address and are mostly just minor. It's accessible through an icon in the Facebook app, and the landing page features anything that's for sale in your local area. You can search for specific items and filter by category, proximity or price, and browse by category as well.

It's nothing groundbreaking, but then it doesn't need to be, the convenience of having a platform like this integrated directly into Facebook is enough of a draw in and of itself. Facebook don't hold any sway over the actual payment, that's entirely between you and the buyer/seller, so if you want to haggle, do it cash in hand or arrange a bank transfer, those are all viable options.

With that in mind, some obvious improvements, like a direct payment portal and a rating system for buyers and sellers spring to mind, but it's early days yet and we all know how much Facebook love to tinker. Simplicity is what drew people to Craigslist, so even without these additions, Marketplace could start seeing big success almost straight away.

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