Fbbin Serious About Online Classifieds

If I had to start a new web business tomorrow probably the last one on my list would be a free classifieds site. With heavy hitters like Craigslist, Kijiji and now Facebook playing in this space, you know you're up against some companies with a lot of users, a lot of money and, well, pretty good products to begin with that don't leave much room for improvement.

But my skepticism hasn't stopped a Toronto-based company from competing with the big boys. Fbbin.com (short for Free Bargain Bin) launched in September and covers 357 cities in North America. They're making an extra effort to penetrate the Toronto classifieds space and currently show about 3,000 local listings and have about 1,000 Toronto users.

Earlier this week I connected with Dov Markowich, one of Fbbin's founders to find out more about the site. Our Q&A follows:

Why have you decided to focus most of your initial efforts on Toronto?

We decided to focus initially on the Toronto market because this is where we are based out of and feel that we will be able to get the most initial support from our city. We are also more connected with people from the Toronto market than any other city.

So is the idea to learn and refine the site based on your experience in Toronto and then try to replicate that in the other 356 cities?

Toronto is not really our test market as it's more our starting point to get the ball rolling. Ideally, we would like all of the cities to populate the site right now. As far as testing and improving the site, that is something that we will be doing on an on going basis.

What makes you think fbbin can be successful in a space already dominated by the likes of Craigslist, KiJiji and Facebook?

There is always room for competition which in turn will always benefit consumers. Even though other successful sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji exist, we have decided to step it up a notch to differentiate us from them by developing custom mobile applications for Blackberry and iPhone users to allow mobile posting and managing of ads. fbbin has also developed a Facebook application for Facebook users to post and advertise their listings on their own profile page for their friends to see. When a user posts a listings on fbbin, from either the site, the Facebook application or either mobile application, their listing will automatically be listed on the website, their Facebook profile page as well as on Facebook's Marketplace for triple the exposure.

fbbin is the FIRST and ONLY classified site out there that has developed these types of Applications for this industry.

Would you say that most of the listings on fbbin also reside on Facebook Marketplace?

No. Because not every user of fbbin.com is a Facebook user. Being a user on Facebook allows you to take advantage on the other 2 listings features by adding the Facebook Application on your Facebook profile and linking it to your fbbin account.

All of our listings on our site have been created by individual users by promoting our site by word of mouth, and our friends that are on our Facebook friends list.

Oh. So are any of your listings from Facebook marketplace then? I thought initially that you're pulling data from Facebook Marketplace as well....

No, we are not pulling any listings or data from Facebook, if anything, it's the opposite, we are sending more data and listings to their marketplace to increase the visibility of a seller's listing.

Ok. My misunderstanding. What can you tell me about the iPhone application. The site says it's supposed to be ready by October....Have you set a new release date?

The iPhone application has actually just been submitted to the App Store (as a free download) and should be available literally any day now.

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