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Facebook Sets Its Sights on Craigslist

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB - Get Report) is testing a classified ad service that might give Craigslist a run for its money.

According to The Daily, Facebook is quietly trying a new online advertising tool using the code name "Marketplace." That's a recycled name that had been used for a recent Facebook application.

Here's how it works: Users will be able to create short, personal ads that will be published in their friends' Facebook news feeds. You will be able to advertise anything and everything you can think of -- from a house, its contents, a car, a roommate or even a new job. Sharing ideas and services will also be a large part of Facebook's Marketplace appeal.

Of course, Facebook will make money from these posts by charging a small fee (a few dollars) for each little ad. All Craigslist posts are currently free except for therapeutic ads ($10), brokered apartment rentals ($10) and job postings ($25 in each category) except for the San Francisco Bay area ($75 in each category).

Promoted Posts currently look different from regular news posts to help set them apart. Marketplace ads will also be set apart from regular news posts by typeface and possibly multiple photos of the items being advertised.

Facebook's big difference is that the ads will be able to be targeted to specific groups of people. That's unlike at Craigslist, where everything is posted to everyone accessing their particular site.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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