Tales from Startup Alley: Social Listing

On Monday, I was in the audience watching the Disrupting Location competitors battling it out in front of the judges—Chris Dixon (Hunch), Soraya Dorabi (FoodSpotting), Dave Samuel, and the curmudgeonly angel investor Yossi Vardi.

One comment I heard from the distinguished panel was that ‘your location app was trying to do too much’. In other words, keep it simple.

I should add that Vardi also pointed out the great Hollywood axiom that no one knows anything, as in what makes a hit movie and by extension a hit app.

Yesterday, Duy Huynh of Social Listing was demoing for me their location-aware classified listing app on an iPhone.

It’s completely simple to use, solves a problem, and there’s no mystery about why this could be a blockbuster.

You have stuff to sell, a service to offer, a job to fill, etc., and “hyper-location” is an important factor in finding a match. With Social Listing’s app and perhaps three or so clicks, you have taken a picture of your object, embedded geo-data with the image, and then automatically published it on Social Listing’s mobile site.

I was able to post an image of my Archos tablet computer with limited guidance from Duy. So this startup, which launched yesterday, has completely flattened the learning curve for the technically challenged.

At the other end of the transaction, a potential buyer of my tablet would bring up the Social Listing app and view items that have been filtered by his or her location—using a mileage metric.  If the person is interested, I’ll receive an email and then Social Listing steps out of the transaction.

Since buyer and seller are nearby, shipping costs are low or non-existent if the two parties decide to meet directly. This genre of location apps taps into the huge local commerce market, the dollar stream that keeps small towns and neighborhoods across America running.

By the way, there’s also a community section to the site, that lets schools, churches, and other groups post about, say,  requests for volunteers. It’s a great idea on Social Listing’s part ’cause it further binds the local community with this app.

Huynh said currently their service is free, but they will eventually switch to a freemium model, perhaps charging businesses while stil letting private individual continue to sell stuff for free.

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