Is Edgeio a new Craigslist?

March 3, 2006

Topics: Reviews.

One of the latest offerings in tag-based offerings is a company called Edgeio. The new classifieds service has been described as "a brilliant idea" but also as "
confusion graduating to disappointment
".

My take? Well, I have mixed feelings. To explain edgeio is pretty simple – the service crawls RSS feeds searching for posts which have been "tagged" with the word listing. Having found these pages, it aggregates them into categories of items being listed – for sale, wanted, housing, jobs, etc.

The advantages: edgeio offers an easy way to publish your classified ads without needing to go to the site for each item and list it manually. Instead, you can do this through whatever other software you choose if it produces an acceptable RSS feed. You don’t need to be registered with the site or ever even visit the site – just apply the tag to your blog post, and there you go. Publishing your ad is very easy. For the user, finding ads is also quite easy – you can search for additional tags for items, locations, etc. The design is reasonably user friendly and certainly more attractive than Craigslist.

The disadvantages: edgeio requires a fair amount of technical knowledge to get it to really work for you. First of all, they give preferential treatment to ads by registered members; so you probably want to register if you’re going to use the service seriously. Second, the site seems highly susceptible to spam. RSS tools for scraping blogs are becoming easier to find, and there’s little reason they can’t be put to the use of creating fake sales listings to try and pull a bit of traffic. Edgeio has an option to report a listing as spam, but, if this service is like most others, the bigger it gets the harder time it’ll have catching up.

Last, the service doesn’t incorporate anything at all in the way of payment services. It’s just a listing of classified ads – all interaction arranging payment and shipping must be handled personally between the buyer and seller. If this is what you want, I don’t see why you don’t just stick with Craigslist or Ebay! Grabbing listings from RSS feeds would be great if you could incorporate automated buying schemes, as well. However, the "ease of publishing" for the ads advantage is largely voided by the lack of tools to simplify the actual exchange.

I think that the service has potential, but it doesn’t quite seem ready for prime time.

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