Many people feel that eBay has lost a little of its “soul” as it has grown. A new UK site wants to bring it back.
Fo.lk is an online community “where folk trade with folk”. Aiming to steer clear of the bulk traders and businesses that have colonised eBay, the site’s founders want to maintain a community feel that focuses on individuals selling second hand goods and keeps scam artists at bay.
Taking the ‘classifieds’ approach of sites like Craigslist or Gumtree and adding a slightly more eBay-esque style of presentation, Fo.lk site builds on an existing buying and selling community on the HotUKDeals forums, which means it doesn’t have to work too hard at creating an initial userbase for the project.
For now, Fo.lk is thinking small by ensuring that it provides a good service for the UK. However, they are happy to let it grow further as users demand. Other developments for the future include a mobile app, which will launch next month and make listing items as simple as taking a photo and uploading the items’ details.
Does Fo.lk have a chance of attracting a large userbase? It certainly has enough listings being added every day at present to attract bargain hunters. Everything from clothes and DVDs to a laptop had been listed in the half hour before I checked it out.
At present purchases are arranged through good old fashioned “contacting the seller”. There’s no “Buy now button” or automation to the process, which may put some users off. However, a feedback scoring system is in place to gauge users’ reputations and sellers can link up their Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to provide some external context as to who they are.
Fo.lk plans to monetise via charging for enhanced listings in the future but says that basic ads will always be free.