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How to Have a Garage Sale on Facebook

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Posted Jun 16 2010 10:01 AM

Did you know you can use Facebook to get rid of that old stationary bicycle or funky lamp you've got sitting in your garage? This excerpt from E. A. Vander Veer's Facebook: The Missing Manual, Second Edition will show you how.

Marketplace is a Facebook application that lets you post and answer want ads. You can use Marketplace to advertise that you want to rent a house, fill a position, sell a sofa—anything you're either looking for or looking to get rid of.

Because you get to choose a location to advertise in when you create a Marketplace ad (called a listing), the ads you see are ones you're most likely to want to respond to. That way, if you browse through all the Marketplace ads associated with San Francisco, you won't see ads for garage sales in New York.

Note: Marketplace doesn't accept ads for illegal or distasteful stuff like illicit drugs, explosives, or hate-group paraphernalia. You can see the list of banned items by heading to the left side of your home page, clicking the Marketplace link (you may have to click the More link first), scrolling down to the bottom of the page that appears, and then clicking the Prohibited Content link. (You also get a chance to peruse these guidelines by clicking the "Terms of Service" link that appears on the confirmation box.)

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8.1.1. The Friend Factor: Ads from Facebook Connections
Thanks to the social-networking info it tracks (who's friends with whom), Facebook takes the concept of personal ads a step further than your average classifieds section or even the uber-popular free listing site Craigslist.org. Using the Facebook Marketplace application, you can:

  • Search through just your friends' (or fellow network members') listings. Given a choice, most people would rather do business with friends than strangers. Marketplace gives you two ways of doing just that: the "Friends," "Friends-of-Friends", and network links on the Marketplace home page, and—depending on how your friends placed their ads—on your friends' Walls.
  • Feel out a seller by seeing the friends you have in common. Sure, that "roommate wanted" ad sounds good, but before you contact the guy, wouldn't it be nice to contact a couple of mutual friends and find out what he's really like?

Note: Because its strength is putting a friendly face on ads, Marketplace is a great place to post ads you wouldn't want to put in the newspaper, like "Wanted: Help Moving" or "Wanted: Someone to feed my parrot while I'm on vacation." On the downside, because all your Facebook pals can see your ads, you might not want to use Marketplace to offload that chartreuse, monogrammed waffle maker your best friend gave you for your birthday.

8.1.2. Cost: Free, Risk: Yours
For now, Marketplace is fee free: There's no charge for placing a regular ad or answering one. When you answer an ad, it's your responsibility to contact the seller and work out payment arrangements—Facebook isn't involved and neither are the folks who created the Marketplace application. So be careful: If you pay someone for his beer stein collection but he takes the money and runs, you're on your own.

Note: As this book was going to press, there were rumblings about Facebook possibly adding a PayPal option that you could use to send and receive payments for Marketplace items.

Facebook: The Missing Manual

Learn more about this topic from Facebook: The Missing Manual.

This bestselling Missing Manual has been updated to help you take advantage of everything Facebook now offers. Each page in this informative and entertaining book is designed to help you with specific Facebook tasks, such as signing up, networking, shopping, joining groups, finding or filling a job, and a whole lot more.

See what you'll learn

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