Facebook testing eBay alternative in Australia, New Zealand

Facebook is testing a new online marketplace in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand.

Similar to eBay or Gumtree, the marketplace allows users to upload products and sell them. Unlike Amazon or eBay, the seller must handle the shipping. It is a simple setup for now, with one buy option instead of auctions.

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Facebook is already used for selling items on Groups, but this new marketplace should make it easier for people and brands to sell items. The implementation of a Buy button also helps, allowing businesses to offer full access to the store on the social network.

"We are in the very early stages of testing a new way for more people to easily discover, buy, and sell items with other people on Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson said.

Having a direct link to millions of people in your local area makes it a lot easier to flog items. eBay only holds a few million active users, and Gumtree even less. The problem with the marketplace right now is there is no infrastructure set up by Facebook to make sure sellers ship items on time; handle disputes and ship internationally.

This could be solved once the marketplace rolls out to more places. With the launch in Sydney and Auckland, it is clear Facebook only wants local buyers to begin trading. In the future, it might facilitate some sort of international shipping program like eBay.

eBay was already slipping off the grid, with a lack of growth in the past few years. Facebook stepping in with an online marketplace might be the last nail in the coffin for the auction house, which recently split off from its successful payment platform PayPal.