New online marketplace adds a personal touch

Win a $700 gift card. Visit Moms Love Emma Sweepstakes to find out more!

Buying and selling online can be a lot of fun but it can also be stressful. Most of the time you have no idea who you are dealing with, and there is always that slightly uneasy feeling when you have to meet up with a total stranger or have them stop by your house.

But those concerns may be over with the launch of a new marketplace that takes all the worry out of web-based trading. It’s called Emma and it adds a reassuring personal touch to those often anonymous online interactions.

To use Emma, you need to have a Facebook profile. Emma then uses that profile – and your network of Facebook friends – to help you create a marketplace where you have total control over the buying and selling process. You can use Emma to offer your own goods or services or to seek out goods and services from others. You can also scan thousands of other people’s listings, sorted by category, region, or your Facebook friends.

Emma has ambitious plans for its new service. There are six main categories of listings and dozens of sub-categories, covering everything from professional services to real estate to all kinds of merchandise. Emma is more Craigslist than eBay, but with security and peace of mind as the top priorities.

When you post a listing on Emma, you get to choose exactly how much information you want to make public. You can start out with an anonymous listing and then gradually reveal more about yourself as you become comfortable with your potential trading partners. Or you can create a more public listing but restrict who can see it to just a few close friends.

You can also specify how much of a potential bidder’s profile you want to see. If you are selling a car or a household appliance, then maybe you don’t need to know too much. However, if you’re looking for a date or someone to carpool with, then you might want to know a whole lot more.

As well as listing personal information, you can also upload photos, specify a location, and indicate what kind of deal you are looking for – a fixed price, a swap, rental income, etc. There is also an option to put a specific time limit on your listing, which can add some urgency to the trading process.

Bidders are also well-protected. You can show interest in a listing but you don’t have to bid on an item until you are comfortable that you have sufficient information about the listing’s owner. However, once you bid and your bid is accepted by the owner, then you are committed to go through with the contract.

Although the Emma marketplace relies on Facebook for profiles and distribution, everyone’s privacy is respected. Listings do not automatically appear in friends’ or friends of friends’ News Feeds, although listing owners have the option of posting their listings to their own Facebook wall. They also have the option of allowing others to share their listings via Facebook, Twitter or Google+, which can help generate a wider market for the more public listings.

The Emma marketplace is currently available through the Emma web site or as an app for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices. The mobile apps have the added benefit of notifying users when new listings become available.

To celebrate the launch of its new marketplace, Emma is offering Moms the chance to win a $700 gift card. Just post a listing and simply include “Moms Love Emma” in the description area and you will be included in a February drawing. Visit Moms Love Emma Sweepstakes to find out more!

Comment by supriya savant, posted 1/25/2012, 7:54 PM:

i am loving this Emma, and totally cool site with awesome listings!!
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