Oodle’s New Deal With Facebook Gives It A Huge Potential Audience

Facebook has decided to give up on powering its classified ads, turning to Oodle to do the heavy lifting for a cut of the ad sales revenue. The deal is all the more significant because Oodle already powers the classifieds on MySpace.

While the deal can only improve Facebook’s classifieds, it gives Oodle.com access to a potential audience of an additional 161 million unique visitors globally. When added to the 118 million visitors on MySpace, and the additional millions of visitors to the 200 or so other sites (including WalMart) it powers, Oodle will now have a reach unmatched by any other single service on the planet.

Of course, as Oodle CEO Craig Donato reminded us, potential audience is not actual audience. “We’ll work to see how many (of the potential audience) we can convert (into classifieds users),” he told us. However, Oodle has been doing that fairly well, growing to 7 million monthly unique visitors since launching in 2005.

“Our traffic tripled in 2008 and we see no reason it won’t triple again next year,” Donato says.

Certainly the Facebook deal will help, once the Oodle Marketplace launches in Q1 of next year. But it will also continue to get a boost from MySpace where Oodle only launched a few months ago. As users there discover that they aren’t buying or selling from complete strangers the way they might by running an ad in the newspaper, they will be more likely to engage in transactional activity.

“We’re a big believer in the notion of a community marketplace,” says Donato. “Our model is community and the community supports the people it knows.”

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Just between Facebook and MySpace the unduplicated global audience is about 200 million uniques, Donato told us, which gives Oodle a potential global audience of perhaps 300 million, considering the traffic its other partner sites get.

Merchandise is the category currently getting the biggest share of the traffic. It took a big jump this year as the economy turned sour, Donato notes. Recruitment gets between 15 and 20 percent of the total traffic, which means 1-1.4 million unique visitors monthly. That places Oodle among the top 15 or 20 career and employment sites in the U.S. in terms of traffic.

Oodle began as a classifieds aggregator, scraping listings from other sites (including Craigslist, until the List asked them to stop). Donato and his co-founders then began building out a network, powering classifieds for smaller newspapers, broadcast stations and others. Control over the nature and source of listings is up to the partner, so not all sites offer jobs, though MySpace does. Whether Facebook will is still to be decided since, Donato told us, the details of what will be offered and how haven’t been worked out. But, he did say, revenue could come from upselling the listings, all of which are free to post. The upsell involves enhancements to the basic ad. Whether Facebook will decide to offer the option is also undecided.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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