Edgeio — not an eBay killer after all

Although it kind of got lost in all the hoopla about Google launching a customized search tool, Edgeio got financed to the tune of $5-million on Tuesday, in a round led by Intel Capital. Edgeio is the Web 2.0 classified service that Mike Arrington of TechCrunch co-founded along with Keith Teare, and remains a shareholder and board member of, as he mentions here.

At the time Edgeio launched to much acclaim, it was thought by many — including yours truly that it could become a kind of eBay-killer or a successor to Craigslist, because it allowed any blogger or person with a webpage to place an ad on their page and have it appear in the Edgeio index. But there seems to have been an evolution of sorts in Edgeio’s business model, or maybe something closer to a 180-degree turn.

edgeio

According to Pete Cashmore at Mashable, Edgeio is now integrating listings from eBay and Amazon, among other sites. In other words, rather than an eBay-killer, it has become an eBay partner. Pete says “this always seemed like a more solid business plan that aggregating blog entries, and perhaps the “listing” tag served more as a way to get bloggers talking than as a core strategy.”

Fair enough, but it still seems like a completely different approach to me. Maybe it makes more sense, maybe not. It looks like opening it up to all kinds of classified services has boosted the number of listings — to more than 100 million, according to the stats on the site, in over 14,000 cities and 140 countries — but possibly at the expense of utility. Searching for cars, for example, brings pages full of results from the same commercial auto dealer.

How exactly is that “listings from the edge?” Not what I would call hugely useful so far, and certainly not a Craigslist or eBay-killer. Venturebeat has more detail if you’re interested, and Fraser Kelton has some interesting thoughts in my comments section.

8 thoughts on “Edgeio — not an eBay killer after all

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  3. Mathew Hi

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. Just a quick comment. edgeio still takes listings from blogs. But very early in our life it became clear that the demand for a listings search engine extended beyond blogs. Even the big guys want their listings found. And many small businesses in the real estate, jobs, cars baby sitters, golf tee times and many others found use in creating an RSS feed for edgeio.

    Our mission hasn’t really changed – it is to bring together organize and distribute the world’s listings.

    As for having to many listings for a search for cars – and all from one vendor. That is fixable if you use the filters in the right hand column. There are 2. A geography filter (choose a place) and a tag filter (choose tags you want to find cars for).

    Also search works so you can search for an audi a8 in your home town.

    We also provide rss alerts (the subscribe button at the top of search results). So if you don’t find what you want today you can have it automatically delivered to your rss reader when somebody lists it.

    Hope that helps explain why we are called edgeio. Listings from ALL publishers (the edge) are uploaded into edgeio and then made available to anybody (also the edge) via search, subscription or our APIs.

    Best
    Keith Teare
    ceo/founder/edgeio

  4. May be it’s a dumb question-How are these guys different from Oodle if they are doing aggregation of listings only?

  5. Thanks for the comment, Keith — and the explanation. It still seems like quite a different model than the one Edgeio started with, but then I suppose sticking with a model that doesn’t work (or doesn’t scale) wouldn’t be very smart either. Good luck with it.

  6. The main difference with Oodle is that we only accept submitted listings. No crawling or scraping. What this means is that as our marketplace grows we have a right to distribute the data outside of edgeio to support marketplaces on othe peoples content (a bit like adsense puts ads on other peoples content). And secondly the relationship with the original publisher means we can introduce paid programs for them. Oodle has data but few relationships that can be monetized. Crawling gives rise to those limits.

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  8. I was thinking the other week that a true edge aggregator – capitalizing on what Edgeio initially attempted to do – may eventually come from a company like Rapleaf (if they’re able to achieve network effects).

    I like that Edgeio is changing course – business plans need an iterative approach and I think it was clear that Edgeio’s business model was overly ambitious in the sense that main-stream consumers weren’t ready for it (and the commercialization challenges were very real and very large).

    I don’t think the change precludes a return to their initial strategy, as I said a while ago, such a strategy is a crucial component for how I believe edge aggregators will need to be commercialized. (admittedly those thoughts were scattered).

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