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People Want to See All the Listings

There are two types of classifieds listings: private party listings, where consumers buy and sell with each other, and professional listings, where a business (car dealer, landlord, real estate agent) is selling to a consumer. When you’re looking to get the best deal, it’s important to see both types of listings so that you can evaluate all of your options.

A few years ago, I was shopping for a used Suburban. It was extremely useful to see both what other people in my area were selling, as well as what was for sale at the local dealers. I only needed to pay a little more to get the car from a dealer (which is what I did). If something went wrong, they would be a lot easier to deal with.

Every category has its own natural ratio of private party to professional listings. Merchandise & Personals are made up almost entirely of private-party listings. About one-third of Car inventory is private-party (the other two-thirds is made up of dealers and independent lots). In contrast, Real Estate is almost entirely professional listings (except for a small, albeit growing list of for-sale-by-owner listings). Rentals and Employment are similarly comprised of almost entirely professional listings. Interestingly enough, however, small landlords and employers act a lot more like consumers than professional sellers (but that’s fodder for another blog post).

Across our network, we continue to explore ways to better integrate private-party and professional listings to provide the best user experience. One area we are currently working on is better integration of the seller identity in search results. Private-party listings are increasingly tied to a person’s online identity (on Facebook, MySpace, Oodle, etc.).  Similarly, professional listings will be increasingly tied to the local advertisers brand and online identity.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll buy a home or rent an apartment directly from another consumer. So as we roll-out new categories in the Facebook Marketplace, such as Cars, Homes and Jobs, we’ll also be experimenting with ways to best introduce professional listings into the mix. Integrating professional listings into Oodle’s community marketplaces such as Facebook and MySpace goes beyond figuring out ways to appropriately mix the two types of listings, however.  We’re experimenting with ways to present professional listings in a way that makes them more social. More on that in my next blog post…

One Response to “People Want to See All the Listings”

  1. June 17th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Oodle Blog » Blog Archive » Oodle’s real-time stream of classifieds listings says:

    [...] as possible.  It’s not quite 140 characters but we’re getting close. More importantly, we bring the user’s identity into the listing.  So rather than a stream of anonymous content, listings are tied to the identity of the poster [...]

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