With the vast majority of the English-speaking world busy trying to work out whether this is the most shocking, abusive, and astounding U.S. presidential campaign ever (answer= probably), it might surprise some to learn that politics isn’t the only topic from America worth discussing at the moment. Enter Mark Zuckerberg’s eBay, Etsy, and Craig’s List rival.
Or something like that.
In actual fact, Facebook Marketplace isn’t actually anything that new- its history can be traced by a fair few years, but up until now it had been largely left to languish somewhere in the back pages of the near-endless domain. As it sounds, this is basically Facebook shopping, with a user-driven peg- post items you want to get rid of, and an asking price, and watch as offers come flooding in. People have been selling items on the network for ages, this just makes it all a little more coherent and professional.
You can seamlessly share a posting onto the wider network if you think friends might be interested. There are options for delivery and collection, and the ability to message a seller without having to contend with FB’s troublesome ‘Other’ inbox is great; that’s where all your messages usually end up if you don’t know the recipient as a Friend (leading to them inevitably missing it for weeks on end).
All of which shows the idea is really about bringing this kind of online retail fully in-house, as it were, making it less attractive for web browsers to leave Facebook and head towards another domain for their second-hand shopping. The ability to haggle in real time via Messenger is also pretty useful, and adds to the whole ‘working marketplace’ atmosphere, in a way. Yet this is an area of eCommerce that already has some huge players, and whether this latest effort from the Big Blue Behemoth is enough to really make an impact (last time it did not) will have to be seen.
One thing is for sure, the relaunch has already been causing some massive stirs, surprising even the most aware social media experts in terms of just how much ‘fun’ is being had by those who immediately began posting items for sale. And you’d think we would be used to the almost-limitless capacity for anything online and digital to backfire and become a running joke. Not so, here are a couple for your amusement.
NB- the network has apologised and is ‘working on a fix’ to stop all the weird, and frequently illegal, products from appearing. In the meantime the marketplace has stopped trading.