After months and months of testing, Microsoft's classifieds offering - Windows Live Expo (formerly Fremont) - is now, in beta, open for business in the U.S., reports ClickZ. Microsoft's attempt to combine classifieds with social networking aims to differentiate its offering in what has fast become a crowded online classifieds market, including players such as Google Base, Craigslist, eBay, newspapers, and various aggregators (e.g., Edgeio and Oodle).
"With Expo, you can browse and post listings to those you trust, like your buddies, co-workers, and fellow students, or, to all Expo visitors," according to a front-page intro on the site. "In addition, you can map listings easily using MSN Virtual Earth, post a free listing in less than a minute with our easy-to-follow steps, and use instant messages to communicate quickly with other members."
"What sets Windows Live Expo apart is that people can set their own search parameters for goods and services. They can define their own marketplace universe," said Garry Wiseman, product unit manager for Windows Live Expo at Microsoft, in a statement.