I’m a big fan of online classifieds. If I buy something new, I feel like I overpaid. In the last month, I've used classifieds to find a bunch of almost-new stuff at great prices: a kayak, kayak gear, and a roof rack for my car. I've also adopted two wonderful kittens.
About a year ago, I began using online classifieds to furnish a small hut I had built up in the mountains (I had wanted to learn how to use power tools and my wife wouldn’t let me practice on our house). I found great deals in a variety of places (Craigslist, the newspaper, eBay) but the process was way too time consuming.
As a buyer, I had three basic wishes that ended up helping to shape Oodle:
1. See all the listings in one place. This would help me not only find the right listing but also get a better sense for market pricing (which in comparison to new consumer goods is hard to assess) .
2. Quickly find exactly what I'm looking for. I’ve come to expect a great search experience when buying online. When I know what I want, I want to be able to quickly narrow down to only the most relevant listings (and not sort through and have to open hundreds of potential matches).
3. Stay on top of new listings as they pop up. Classifieds tend to involve "moment in time" inventory (e.g., job opening, used car, apartment) that are available for a short period and when someone takes them, they’re gone. I want to be notified when things I'm looking for get listed.
We also had a secondary intent in creating Oodle -- to make it easier to give locally. Too many things that could be helpful to local charities and community organizations end up sitting in closets & garages. Too many volunteering positions go unfilled. We wanted to promote these "listings" in Oodle and help direct more resources back to our community. For example, in Chicago we’re currently showcasing the Glass Slipper Project that is helping to turn old bridesmaid dresses into prom dresses for underprivileged kids. We’re just getting started but hopefully we can provide a great resource for when you are cleaning out your garage or have some extra time on the weekend.
Over the last year, we’ve come up with other ideas on how to make classifieds better that you’ll be seeing soon. Please let us know how we’re doing and if you have ideas on things you’d like to see, drop us a note!