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Oodle Index for Market Pricing

Today Oodle rolled out something that we think is pretty cool, the Oodle Index — a pricing guide for local classifieds.

Pricing is extremely inefficient in classifieds. We consistently see widespread differences in the local asking price across similar goods (e.g., the price of a 2004 Honda Accord with 30k miles may vary by five thousands of dollars within the Bay Area). There are also significant differences in prices across different regions of the country. The average price for a car in San Francisco is almost a thousand dollars more than the average price in New York. As such, it’s not surprising that we found the most early search activity when shopping with classifieds (either with Oodle or in the newspaper) is spent trying to simply understand the fair market price for something.

We’ll be doing more with the Index in coming weeks and months. Let me know what you think and please send in any ideas that you think would be cool.

With this in mind, we set out to build a pricing index that leveraged Oodle’s unique vantage point on the market, something that’s:

o Comprehensive – It’s based on the hundreds of millions of listings that flow through Oodle, not just a sample or a depreciation table.

o Timely – data is updated every day.

o Local – data is presented by local metro, city and neighborhood (where appropriate).

The Index, which launches today, makes it easy for consumers to quickly identify great deals in their local market and will initially be available for cars, real estate and apartment rentals. And it will be integrated directly into Oodle Search.

When a user looks for a 2004 Honda Accord, they can now see a price distribution graph (with current and historic inventory levels) along side the search results. This graph is interactive – they can click on the green bars to the see the current listings associated with that price range. If few are available, they can use historic data to estimate how often similar deals are likely to pop up and use Oodle Alerts to be notified when new ones are posted.

We’ve also rolled out preliminary versions of graphs to help users better understand tradeoffs they may need to make. For example, in car trading off year, mileage and price (e.g., how much more do I need to pay for a 2005 than 2004 if they both have 20k miles) or for a home or apartment, compare pricing for surrounding areas.

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