Facebook Tests Local eBay-Like “Buy And Sell” Services, A Modern Day Want-Ad

Facebook appears to be testing out a feature that will help users connect with others in their area for buying and selling items. At the moment, it looks like Facebook is testing its new “Buy & Sell” feature in Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. If the new feature goes live in the U.S., it could pit Facebook against the likes of eBay and Craigslist.

Of course, Facebook has already been unofficially involved in the buy-and-sell market for some time, thanks to users who set up Facebook groups for buying and selling in their areas. As those groups have gained popularity, Facebook has looked for ways to encourage them. The site recently added Sell Something posts templates for the groups to give users an easy, structured way to post pictures and pricing information for their items. The templates even went as far as including item categories.

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Image credit: EFTM

The new Buy And Sell feature appears in the navigation pane. Click it, and you’ll see the Buy & Sell page for your area, listing local items by category. You can browse items for sale and post your own items, which will appear to Facebook users in your area who view the Buy and Sell section. There are no fees for posting items and there also aren’t any fees against the sales, which may Facebook more attractive to the eBay crowd. Of course, there aren’t any real protections for buyers or sellers, either. But based just on how many buy/sell groups have appeared in my area how active they’ve been, I’d say that Facebook’s minimal involvement doesn’t seem to be a hindrance.

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Facebook's buy/sell post template in the U.S.

So far, Facebook has kept fairly quiet about the Buy & Sell feature. It launched Buy & Sell with no fanfare in Auckland and Sydney and hasn’t made any public announcements regarding the feature. How long it will test the feature and whether we can expect to see it in the U.S. are unknown at this point, but it seems unlikely that the service wouldn’t make its way here. Given the data Facebook should be able to collect on its users’ shopping habits with the service, you’d think Facebook would have implemented the tool long ago.