Oodle continues to chip away at Craigslist’s domination of the online classifieds market by partnering with much larger sites like *AOL* and powering their listings — but with a new Twitter integration, the startup is making the battle about more than just scale — it’s trying to “make classifieds more social,” according to CEO Craig Donato. The company plans to start feeding a stream of listings to its Twitter account, complete with searchable keywords and hashtags; Donato said he expects the stream to average at least 10,000 tweets per day — which the company cleared with Twitter in advance.
Oodle users will also be able to post listings to their own Twitter, Facebook and MySpace streams from a single screen. The idea is that since people are already sharing content and personal information on these networks, sharing a link to the couch, bike or used car they’re trying to sell should come just as naturally. The exposure to their network should also increase the likelihood of a sale — since there’s an added level of trust when an apartment listing or other sales recommendation comes from a source like a friend-of-a-friend or coworker.
“We’re trying to get people talking about listings on these networks, as opposed to just photos and music,” Donato said. “When someone sees a job listing, for example, we want them to be able to ask a friend on MySpace if they’ve worked there. If there’s a used car they’re looking at, they can get an instant reaction from their Twitter stream about other drivers’ experiences. We know these conversations are happening offline — we want to facilitate people having them online.”
While most of the people sending tweets about their listings will likely be free users at first, the implications for Oodle’s paid listings business are clear. Local advertisers can pay to have their ads featured in a variety of ways; having their listings show up as part of a Twitter search increases the potential for exposure to Twitter’s more than 22 million unique monthly visitors (per Compete). And Oodle is hoping that the combination of scale and social interaction makes its paid listings more compelling than a buy on Craigslist.