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Oodle, the San Mateo, Calif. online classifieds company has oodles of competition, but venture capitalists have invested $11 million more to help it stand out.
On its face, Oodle is not that different from Craigslist, and other classifieds startups, such as Edgeio, LiveDeal and Vflyer, to name a few.
But Oodle, which announces its new financing tomorrow, is using the money to offer tools to help you make better buying decisions. Take its car classifieds, for example. If you’re searching for a Honda Accord, Oodle gives you market price data, and availability — data that you can’t get at the other sites. If you’re looking for a 2003 Honda Accord with 40,000-50,000 miles, Oodle will show you that the market price for this car is between $12,000 and $17,000 (see screenshot below). The bar chart tells you (apologies, the font size is small) a few of these cars are going for $12,000, you’ve still got a great deal at $14,000. It gives you other features, such as an alert that tells you when Oodel gets a listing for this car priced at $12,000.
Oodle can do this because it has good insights into the overall market. Oodle’s model is not to take listings itself, but to aggregate listings from other sites, such as newspapers — giving it a greater reach than many sites. It has 20 million listings culled from over 75,000 sources. As in cars, Oodle uses its reach to offer tools in other categories, including dating, pets and concert tickets. If you’re looking for a Sting ticket in Oakland, for example, Oodle will also show other bands in Oakland that evening — assuming you may be looking for something to do. In fact, it tracks 75,000 bands (Ticketmaster only tracks 10,000) and will give you a two-week calendar of bands playing in the entire Bay Area.
The investment comes from JAFCO Ventures, Greylock Partners and Redpoint Ventures. Chief executive Craig Donato said the company is still not profitable. It makes money by taking a cut from advertisers who pay a premium to get their ads featured at the top of returned results. Oodle is on track to make at least a million dollars in revenue by the end of this year, he said.