Facebook has launched a local services site of its own, joining the growing market for local services. With this move, Facebook pits itself against Yelp, Angie’s List, and tech giants such as Amazon, Google and LinkedIn, and with start-ups that include Thumbtack and Pro.com, says a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook joining the crowded market
Facebook made a quiet launch of the new site, with the help of which users will be able to connect with local businesses and organizations that have the best reviews and ratings on the social networking giant. The platform includes a broad range of businesses similar to Yelp like the auto dealers, accountants and psychics.
Facebook ran a campaign this year to persuade the small businesses to beef up their Facebook pages, and this latest effort from the company can be seen connected to that. The company says that Facebook pages are the most preferred source, when users wish to learn about new businesses, especially on the mobile. TechCrunch was the first to report of Facebook’s news site.
A star rating is allotted to every listing based on the Facebook users’ reviews and the number of reviews. The listings carry a short description about the service including hours of operation, phone number and address. “We’re in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more pages for the services they’re interested in,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Flourishing U.S. local services market
Earlier this year, Angie’s List estimated that the U.S. market for local services is worth $800 billion. The fact that offerings are tailored to each city or region makes provision of a consumer guide a challenging task. “Liability can be a concern. For example, Amazon vets businesses and service providers that participate in its program, running a criminal-background check on anyone who visits a customer’s home,” says the WSJ.
The other players have opted for a narrower focus. LinkedIn launched ProFinder earlier this year with the help of which users are able to connect with career coaches, freelance designers and other professionals in California. Pro.com, based in Seattle, focus on home repair and renovations like painting a room or installing tiles on floors. Google also launched a service in August to find plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and house cleaners.