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June 5, 2014

Facebook Marketplace is a Hot Mess

Facebook is already pretty gross in a lot of its policies which numerous critics have claimed are invasive to privacy. Facebook arguably played an unwitting role in the most recent presidential election by providing a platform for influential and untruthful news stories. Personally, my beef with Facebook is mainly around the difficulties in maintaining and promoting ‘brand’ or fan pages. But that’s another article altogether.

Facebook Marketplace Notifications

facebook marketplace tattoos

About 1 out of every 4 pictures is tattoos.

But the latest foray to make their site more “sticky” (ie keep people on it longer) is the “marketplace” functionality which they’ve dedicated a lot of the real estate in their app to (it’s in the very center at the bottom of the app). In true Facebook form, there’s perennially a red “notification” on the marketplace button to get us to click on it.

What a Bunch of Crap is Being Sold in the Facebook Marketplace

The problem is that when you do finally succumb to the temptation, it’s just a hot load of crap being sold.  It’s really unbelievable how deceptive and poorly monitored these “sale items” are. There’s literally no text describing the product and about every 3rd picture is a deceptive lead in selling:

  • financial services (like mortgage re-finance)
  • some infomercial item (like ginsu knives)
  • “drive for Lyft” or some other deceptive lead
  • thinly veiled business advertisement for businesses like auto dealerships and mattress “wholesalers”

Probably the most surprising thing to me is that, on top of the sale items being completely random, it’s actually quite difficult (on the app) to find a search field to look for specific items.  You literally can’t click anywhere and search for “guitar,” there is only a field to list what item you are selling (this functionality is included in Facebook Marketplace, but it’s not convenient at all on the app).

Craigslist: The Anti Facebook

Imagine providing the same basic functionality of, but taking away the convenience of searching for specific items by category in a specific area. That’s what you have in Facebook Marketplace.  It’s really quite unbelievable. Craigslist is also a much more altruistic organization than Facebook. Both based in the Bay Area, Craigslist has kept their model sleek, simple, and user friendly. They rely on providing a great user experience to get their visitor to return.

The next time you want to unload some concert tickets or a game console that you no longer need, I would recommend sticking to Craigslist (or Stubhub) for a much better experience.

This is a Great Way to Get Stabbed and Robbed

Just Horrible.

I have to make a mention of how Facebook purportedly “works so hard” to protect your privacy, but in this case it’s connecting you with users that are in your vicinity but not in your Facebook friends network with the presupposition that many of the times you are going to meet up and do a cash deal for (stolen?) goods.

In my Facebook Marketplace feed about one out of every 4 pictures is of tattoos.  Many touting their low price!  Nothing about my Facebook interests or usage indicates this is of interest to me, but really, the same goes for literally everything being offered in my “Marketplace.”

Take a look at a random selection which I’ve provided a screen shot to the right. There’s:

  • a wolf tattoo (bargain!)
  • an ad foran apartment on the other side of town (an hour away at least)
  • an auto dealership
  • mattress wholesaler advertisement (an hour away at least)
  • “Ipads” (an hour away at least)

This is just a pretty unbelievable selection of crap that I have no interest in.

I will not be using the Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell goods any time in the near future.  If you do, then do so at your own risk!


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