How to make Facebook Marketplace even better

21 Dec 2016

Facebook Marketplace is good, says Paste Magazine’s Isabel Thottam. But it could be even better. She has four suggestions. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these find their way into Marketplace as the product matures. (If they do, you can say you read it here first.)

Filter by neighborhood

Thottam lives in the city and doesn’t have a car, so she would really like to see a “filter by neighborhood” option in Marketplace. That would make it easier for Thottam to know where the seller is located and if she’ll be able to easily carry an item home. Neighborhood “for sale” groups (on Facebook and other sites) often require users to list their cross streets before joining, Thottam points out. Zip codes are helpful but are often too broad and can be changed manually by sellers trying to game the system.

“It really sucks when you see something you really want, only to go through a whole back and forth with someone and later find out the item is further than you thought,” Thottam writes.

A map view rather than just a home page grid of images would help, Thottam adds.

Filter by price

Facebook Marketplace doesn’t have a way to filter by price. (At least not yet … ) Thottam says this should be at the top of Facebook’s to-do list. Why should you have to scroll through the grid “and just see photo after photo of expensive pieces of furniture” when you don’t have more than $50 to spend on a table?

More privacy

This kind of goes against the nature of Facebook, where everyone has to use their real identity, but what if you don’t want someone to know who you are or what area you live in? Thottam wonders if it would be possible to limit the Facebook Marketplace display to just one’s first name or to institute something like the unique email addresses that Craigslist uses. Or perhaps if this is a red line, Thottam should use another more anonymous classified app.

Ban businesses

Thottam wants her Facebook Marketplace experience to be exclusively peer-to-peer, but she says she’s seeing users post links to a website or direct someone to go to their brick and mortar store to buy an item. That’s probably not what Facebook intends with Marketplace, but just like the scams that we reported on previously, these types of offers are inevitable.

Will Facebook set up automated systems to block links to websites? Or will it make Marketplace a buying-and-selling free-for-all?

As with everything at this still very-new product, time and user behavior will tell.

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Brian Blum

Brian Blum covers the U.S., Canada and Israel for Classified Intelligence Report, and contributes to our special reports and research projects. Originally from San Francisco and now based in Jerusalem, he has been with the AIM Group since 2004. He is the president of Blum Interactive Media, specializing in writing and multimedia content development for online, print, video and audio. His clients include newspapers, universities and non-profits. He is currently working on a book about the billion-dollar bankruptcy of a once high-flying Israeli startup.