After letting it lie dormant for years, Facebook is pumping resources into an often overlooked tool called Marketplace. It's a lot like the old tool called Marketplace, only more expensive.
This Marketplace idea sounds familiar, doesn't it? Remember five or so years when Facebook launched a new part of the site where you could sell your futon and mini fridge when you graduated from college? Well, it never really took off, but Facebook kept it around for whatever reason. Those reasons will soon reveal themselves, according to a fresh report from The Daily, as the social network puts the finishing touches on the Marketplace relaunch that makes the tool not only useful for buying things from your friends but also targeting specific kinds of want ads to specific kinds of people. This is the opposite of Craigslist who take the shotgun approach and toss all of the listings onto the same page.
Based on what we know so far about how the new and improved Marketplace will work, it sounds pretty compelling. You'd be able to post housing listings for free and tag friends you think might be interested or might know somebody, and those friends can easily share the ad on their own timelines. Ads for things like futons and mini fridges would work in the same way but would come with a small price tag, probably less than $5. It also works the same for new job listings. In an obvious swipe at LinkedIn, Facebook will now offer recruiters more tools to target candidates with the proper qualifications, and people can recommend their friends for positions that they think would be a good match. Sounds pretty useful!
Quite frankly, it sounds like Facebook is just throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Take another new feature in Marketplace called the projects section. Here, you can post tips about everything from bicycle repair to cooking Indian food as well as random ideas that you think people might want to talk about. This sounds like a strange mixture of the Craigslist Gigs section, Yahoo Answers and Quora. And not necessarily in a good way. When it gets down to brass tacks, though, there's nothing Facebook could've done to make the old Marketplace tool less popular and, as a direct result of its obscurity, less useful. Might even help them sell and ad or two, too.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.