CNET points out that Microsoft is launching a free classifieds service code named Fremont.
Techcrunch has also seen it and thinks it’s impressive.
A few takeaways from this:
1. Classifieds is going to be one of the major battlefields for the GAMEY companies (Google, AOL, Microsoft, Ebay, Yahoo).
2. It’s good Microsoft is going to integrate it with social networking and MSN Messenger. I fear that it will only be compatible with MSN Spaces and Messenger. For real success they may want to make it open to everyone.
3. You know things have changed when the quotes about it from a Microsoft executive are about how it’s different from Google Base.
4. Integration with their mapping service is a good idea, as well as being able to see listings based on things like domain, so you could see classifieds just from everyone who works at Microsoft by sorting listings for everyone that has a microsoft.com email address. How is Craiglist going to keep up with those features? Or will we find out that people just want simplicity?
(start idea rant)
This also leads me to a bigger business idea I’ve been thinking about in this space. Will someone just go ahead and build a decentralized classifieds system that had a form that publishers could put on their site to have data dumped into a centralized database that could then be accessed by that publisher or any other publisher who wanted to run those ads.
For example, on my community site Wakeboarder.com, I could place this form on my site for people to create classified ads that woudl go into this central database. I could then pull all the ads created by my users out of this database and show them on my site. The beauty comes though is that if another wakeboarding site also wants to display classifieds, they could pull any classifieds tagged with “wakeboarding” and display them. My users would appreciate the additional exposure for their ads, and this other publisher gets ad content they might not be able to get otherwise.
As Wakeboarder.com, why would I want my ads shared to a competitor? Well, theoretically that competitor would also start adding ads into the system that I could pull as well. It’s just more content we can provide and share, I see no need to put a wall around the ads my users are creating, I don’t make any money off it now.
(end idea rant)