Facebook’s Marketplace again moves in on Craigslist
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Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg presenting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Photo credit: Yaneev Avital / Geektime

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg presenting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Photo credit: Yaneev Avital / Geektime

Marketplace was first launched in 2007 to compete with Craigslist and eBay

Facebook’s revamped Marketplace app debuted on Monday, with the company hoping its streamlined interface and new features will give it a leg up over long-time competitor Craigslist.

The app is getting pride of place on mobile, replacing the Messenger tab to make it visible to as many Android and iOS users as possible. While it will still not offer an in-app purchasing mechanism, unlike eBay, it will also not feature sponsored or targeted advertisements.

What Facebook's new For Sale Groups will look like. This is not the first time Facebook has tried to compete with longstanding rival Craigslist. P

What Facebook’s new For Sale Groups will look like. This is not the first time Facebook has tried to compete with longstanding rival Craigslist. Photo credit: Facebook

The original version of Facebook Marketplace appeared in 2007, offering classified services for users to post among friends and networks. The new “For Sale Groups” function that debuted in 2015 made verification and selling easier, though this revamp was still not as comprehensive as competitor Craigslist.

As Bloomberg has noted, Craigslist has a major branding and reach advantage over any other online classifieds service. Additionally, Craigslist doesn’t charge fees for most of its listings, something most rivals can’t afford to do, and isn’t concerned with growing bigger or going public.

Online auctioneer eBay competes with it through their Close5 app, which has proven a viable model, and the company runs classifieds services worldwide. The other main competitor is OLX, a similar site to Craigslist that has offered services since 2006 for buyers and sellers outside of the U.S., such as the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern regions.

However, Craigslist remains dominant in the U.S.

Craigslist has not fundamentally changed its model since it was founded in 2005. It also does not have an official mobile app, though there are now third-party mobile apps for it such as cPro Craigslist Mobile Client alongside several paid options.

Two North American startups that launched in 2015, OfferUp (U.S.) and VarageSale (Canada), have raised tens of millions of dollars from investors in the hopes of becoming “Craigslist killers.” But it is a long uphill battle for such ventures. Microsoft also sought, like Facebook, to compete with Craigslist early on: It launched Windows Live Expo in 2006, but then shut it down in 2008 due to a lack of users.

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