With the advent of Craigslist, the classifieds section of the newspaper—which was the traditional local marketplace for years—has all but disappeared. Now EggDrop, a new app that takes the marketplace mobile, is taking the next step by simplifying the process even further and letting you take it with you.
The company launched last June with $1 million from BlueRun Ventures and SV Angel. They now have about half a million downloads in 50 states and part of the United Kingdom, but getting there hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
Instead of having people submit their maximum bids in a set amount of time, EggDrop asked sellers to set a maximum price and then a minimum price, a system sometimes referred to as a “falling price” or “Dutch” auction.
Over the course of 72 hours, the price fell unless someone bid on it.
Working through the kinks
Turns out that wasn’t such a great model, so Dan Zheng and his team went back to drawing board—releasing a re-vamped product in November—and what they came up with seems to be working.
Keeping it simple
Here’s how it works for sellers: take a picture, upload it to the site, and set a price. They give you the option of adding a brief description while you’re at it, but it’s not required. Super simple, right?
On top of that, unlike Craigslist, you don’t have to repost all the time to make sure people are seeing your ad: the app will automatically do it for you after one week, unless you specifically tell it to end at a certain time.
If you want to buy something, you can browse through the available items and make an offer, but no payments are actually made on the website. EggDrop encourages its users to figure out payment between themselves, much like you would if you were using craigslist.
Keeping it local
You’re not allowed to ship any item from EggDrop, ensuring that the process stays local, and users give each other badges and “karma scores.” While they’ve given it a new name, this rating system follows the same concept of vouching for each other that any marketplace website uses: basically you get more props if you’re a decent human being who isn’t screwing people over.
EggDrop seems to be drawing greatly on the idea of community: their marketplace is strictly local, they encourage face-to-face interaction, and you’re going to get called out if you’re a jerk. The possibility that you could run into your “customer” at the local grocery store further encourages valid sales.
In keeping with the local/customer-to-customer theme, EggDrop has recently added anonymous messaging which allows buyers and sellers to talk in real time without having to give out their phone numbers or other personal information.
They’ve also added a “Wanted” section, where buyers can post what their looking for. What sets this section apart from traditional “wanted” columns is that the website then pairs the buyers with sellers who have what they’re looking for, making it super simple to find what you need.
Somehow, EggDrop has taken what is possibly the simplest, most straightforward marketplace model and made it easier with technology. Watch out, Craigslist. EggDrop might be coming for you.