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Social Networking Goes Commercial

Posted on 8.06.2007

Buy.com has announced the launch of a new service, Garage Sale, that allows social networks to post goods for sale directly from their profiles.

"We see tremendous growth opportunities in providing the millions of users on business and social networks with an alternative to eBay, and the ability to transform their personal profile pages beyond information-sharing," said Buy.Com Chief Executive Neel Grover, in a statement.

This will reap huge rewards. Many advertisers have struggled with monetizing on social networking - partly because of fears from being an intrusion and negatively impacting their brand, and partly because of the quality of prospects found on social networking sites. This elimnates both problems, while providing a word-of-mouth angle. If one "friend" visits another's profile page and sees a recommended product, it's a good chance they will consider purchasing it. Exactly how much the listings can be customized has yet to be seen.

Right now the service is available to Facebook users - another coup for the service that's already taking massive bites out of MySpace and LinkedIn. Other social networking sites will be included in the near future. Some interesting features of Garage Sale that may be included in the future are the ability to see what your friends are selling, haggling with sellers and reading buyers' comments within the profile page.

Auctions are not currently available. Buy.com will not, like eBay, charge sellers a fee but takes a flat 5 percent comission on sold items and processes all transactions through credit cards. Look for downloadable music next.

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