It seems everyone wants a piece of the online classified ads pie these days. The newest arrival is from Mountain View social networking company Friendster, which just launched a listings site this week in the Phillipines. Joe Hurd, Friendster’s director of international business development, tells us that if the Filipino site is successful, Friendster will look at rolling out classified services in other markets.
As we noted back in November when eBay expanded into the Phillipines, that country offers challenges for anyone looking to build an online marketplace. Though mobile phones are big in the Phillipines, the broadband infrastructure is still very immature.
“There’s not a huge amount of online commerce,” Hurd said. “But it’s growing.”
Fortunately for Friendster, starting a classifieds site costs next to nothing. In this instance, Friendster formed a partnership with Filipino-American entrepreneur Terence Pua who was starting a classified site called Pusit. Hurd said Friendster hopes to grow a market by leveraging its brand and the users of its social networking service. Though he would not release any data, Hurd said Friendster has a ”significant” user base in the Phillipines.
Anyone can post ads to site. But Friendster members who login first will have their ads tagged with the Friendster smiley face.
Users can post ads for free for now. But that will likely change as the service grows, Hurd said. He hinted at a craigslist-like model, where employers are charged to post help-wanted ads and other listings are free. Speaking of craigslist, the San Francisco company recently expanded its service in Manilla. And of course, eBay recently pushed its way into the international classifieds market as well, though it’s not yet in the Phillipines.