Dubbed “Marketplace,” the new service is available to all Facebook mobile users starting today. Marketplace is designed to address the fact that 450 million people have been using FB’s “Groups” section to buy and sell items for many years. From the press release:
Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other. This activity started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially. More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world.
To help people make more of these connections, today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready part with. We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.
Initially, this service is only available to mobile users, but a desktop version could be in the works as well. To use the service, users can just tap the Marketplace item and immediately begin searching for items near them:
The first version of Marketplace is likely just a starting point for the company, which could in time layer in abilities for users to pay to promote their items for sale, or even let merchants establish virtual storefronts.
For now, Facebook is focused on making the service as easy and simple to use as possible, and given its already massive user base, Craigslist and eBay could see some market share erosion soon.
Facebook shares were mostly flat at $128.33 in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, FB has surged 22.56%, versus a 6.09% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.