Of Yellow Pages, Classifieds and Beer Pong

I’m a day late to this because of the natural tendency to get caught up in SES, but LiveDeal announced that it will integrate community discussion boards into its classified engine. This is a good integration for LiveDeal that will not only boost the conversations happening around classified listings, but could also serve to enhance the directory content that was recently brought into the fold via YP.com.

As examined in Facebook and the Marriage of Classifieds, Social Networking and Video, there are natural ties between classifieds and social networking. Craigslist has proved this, but few others have brought it to its potential. Buy.com’s Facebook application could begin to do this by tapping into the network’s exploding popularity.

Oodle’s presence in the Facebook network could likewise bring classifieds to college campuses (Facebook’s original sweet spot), where they make a lot of sense due to turnover of apartments, bikes, books, ping-pong (read: beer pong) tables and old couches.

Social tools on LiveDeal could, as mentioned, have meaningful integration with its newly integrated directory content. This could be the foundation for a value-added layer of ratings and reviews, which are quickly becoming table stakes in local search as we’re seeing all over the place (and as echoed in a UGC panel at SES this morning).

Something could result that looks similar to Yelp if directory content is involved in this social media integration (my speculation). This could also follow a similar direction taken by YellowBot, which has an interesting user experience that blends directory content and social networking (see past interview with CEO Erron Silverstein).

For now, LiveDeal’s new features are more along the lines of topic-based discussion boards that can be started by anyone and drill down to specific areas of local interest. Some default topics are already in place (i.e., how do I find a vet), while others are topics about how to sell things on LiveDeal. Many more will develop.

This isn’t as structured as a user review program for individual businesses, but it seems to provide a valuable social element to a classified environment (sound familiar?). At the same time, its topic-based organization will be more structured, user friendly and relevant to some users than general discussion boards that contain a smattering of specific topic threads.

These topics will take on a life of their own and could evolve into a de-facto review program as users establish topics (i.e., Irish Bars in San Francisco). How this evolves, becomes structured, and possibly integrated with listings over time, will be interesting to watch. It’s a good step, and we’ll see where it goes.

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