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February 28, 2006

Windows Live Expo beta released nationwide

Posted by David Hunter at 6:46 PM ET.

Moving quickly from an expanded limited beta earlier this month, Microsoft’s social classified ads service, Windows Live Expo, is now in open beta release for users throughout the United States. Press release:

Microsoft Corp. today will release a beta version of Windows Live™ Expo ( nationwide. Previously in closed beta, Windows Live Expo is now accessible to all U.S. customers and expands the traditional classified ad concept by providing social networking and community features through a trustworthy, convenient and free online service.

Most classified advertising services generalize product location by a pre-defined city location, regardless of where in the city the product is located. However, all products and services listed in Windows Live Expo are geographically identified, or geo-tagged, by ZIP code, not city, which specifically defines where the product is located. Windows Live Expo customers also have the option to search for items within a radius as small as 25 miles or as large as the entire United States, making it easier to define a search.

That’s not all that novel – metropolitan newspapers and aggregations of local papers have offered that online for some time.

Windows Live Expo listings are also integrated with MSN’s satellite-image-based Windows Live Local so customers can view maps and aerial imagery of neighborhoods they may want to live in or see exactly where this weekend’s garage sale is.

Now that is novel. Then there’s the “social” part:

Unlike other classified services, Windows Live Expo allows customers to choose to view only listings specific to their MSN® Messenger Contact List or personal e-mail groups, helping to add a level of trust in transactions.

I’m still dubious of the overall utility of that aspect. What worked well for an internal bulletin board service at a large company like Microsoft wouldn’t seem broadly applicable to the population at large. Finally, there’s some additional high tech bling:

With MSN Messenger integration, sales can now take mere minutes, as buyer and seller discuss, negotiate and clinch a deal via instant messaging. Also, new with today’s beta rollout, when someone sends a message about their listing, an alert can be sent to customers via e-mail, instant messaging or mobile phone* via the MSN Alerts service. With upcoming Windows Live Expo releases, listings will be accessible via MSN Spaces blogs.

Windows Live Expo values customer safety and provides its customers with a Windows Live Expo-only inbox. All messages and inquiries regarding a customer’s listings are sent directly to and from the customer’s anonymous Windows Live Expo message inbox. This Windows Live Expo feature helps prevent others from seeing a customer’s personal e-mail address, which in turn reduces the opportunity for spam or phishing attacks to reach a user’s personal e-mail inbox.

There’s more by following the link. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.

Update: See the “Hello World” post from the Expo Team on their weblog.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Social networking, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo

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4 Responses to “Windows Live Expo beta released nationwide”

  1. Windows Live Expo gets MSN Spaces, Messenger integration -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Windows Live Expo, Microsoft’s beta classified ad service, has gotten new integration with MSN features according to a posting on the team blog: Today, we’re thrilled to launch our integration with MSN Spaces. This integration allows you to post a free listing on Expo and have an abstract and thumbnail image displayed automatically on the front page of your MSN Space. Visitors to your Space can view abstracts from your different Expo listings and click directly to view more information and communicate with you via IM or anonymous messaging. [...]

  2. Microsoft to acquire Eurekster? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] On the other hand, what Eurekster offers (reviewed in detail here) is a horse of a different color. I’m still skeptical of many of the claims for adding social features to Web offerings (eg. here), but if you read “demographic” for “affinity group,” maybe there’s a pony in social search. Filed under Acquisitions, MSN, MSN Search, Windows Live, Windows Live Search, Microsoft, Windows Live Answers Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

  3. Windows Live Expo launched -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] So it’s USA only for the moment and UK shortly. Expo is Microsoft’s Craigslist competitor with a social networking twist and is presumably a big deal, so you have to wonder why it gets announced with a blog post while the beta program got a press release. Betanews has more details including that Windows Live Expo had 1.2 million unique users last month. Filed under Coopetition, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo, Microsoft, Craigslist   [Permalink] [...]

  4. Microsoft shuttering Windows Live Expo | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Windows Live Expo, Microsoft’s Craigslist competitor that was supposed to provide online classified ads with a social networking twist and which was launched in the USA in July 2006 is now being closed down by Microsoft. According to a popup on the Expo site: Windows Live Expo will discontinue service on 31 July 2008. In preparation, the following features are no longer available: [...]

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