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Microsoft Taking Classifieds To China

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-25

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Windows Live Expo, Microsoft's answer to Craigslist and Google Base, will be launched in China and five other countries before the end of 2006.

Live Expo product manager Garry Wiseman disclosed the expansion into China at the International Classified Media Association in Toronto, according to a report from Classified Intelligence. He did not name the other countries where Live Expo is scheduled for launch.

In China, "classifieds" are a foreign concept. Wiseman told the audience at the Toronto event that Microsoft researched the ways Chinese people look for jobs, buy cars, etc, and had to explain the whole concept to consumers in that country.

Placing job listings on Live Expo in China means Microsoft will have to work around the usual ban on commercial listings. Jobs will be gathered from companies instead of individuals, and by definition are commercial in nature.

The report said the Live Expo team had four goals in developing the service. Wiseman listed them during his discussion:

Ease of posting. It had to be very simple and easy to use, he said, noting Craigslist is fast for posting while at EBay "[it] can take quite a great time to enter a listing."

A "local to national to global" environment. "We want to be super-local. We try to think in terms of the Zip code."

A "trustworthy marketplace." "This is, for us, where the concept of community comes into play."...Microsoft is trying to build Live Expo around social networking structures.

"Enable great distribution for listings." As one example, Wiseman noted Expo integrates with several Microsoft online services, including "Spaces," its blog product. "And if you don't have a ‘Space,' you can check the box and it will automatically create one."

Wiseman also contrasted Live Expo with Google Base, which he said was designed as a classified product despite Google's claims otherwise:

"We didn't want to get into the uploading of billions of [ads from] feeds, because of the quality issues....We wanted to make sure that the stuff you got in [Expo] was local, and that it was created by an individual....

"The main difference between Google Base and Live Expo is we consider ourselves a place where people come to create the listings, rather than just a massive collection engine."


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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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