Microsoft Has Uphill Battle Against Craigslist
from the goliath-and-david dept
Because the free classifieds market isn't crowded enough, Microsoft has decided to take a stab at the Craigslist-dominated industry. The new service, called Expo, hopes to beat Craigslist by leveraging Microsoft's network of users. For example, users of MSN messenger will be able to see which of their friends currently has something for sale on the site. But is there really demand, among buyers, to limit their purchases to just their IM buddies? If so, it's a small niche. Expo is also able to sync up real estate listings with a satellite image of the home, a cool feature, but one that Craigslist could probably whip up in an afternoon using Google Earth, as Zillow already has. Almost any feature can be copied easily, so there really aren't barriers to entry in this space. The only way to prosper is to have a community. In this measure, Craigslist holds the trump card, their freewheeling uncensored bulletin boards where people rant about politics, sex, and bicyclists' rights. In the absence of having anything to buy or sell, people come back to the site just to read the posts. Unless Expo can replicate this, it's going to tough for them to gain in this area.