- Facebook partnered with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch to provide recommendations on home services professionals to its Marketplace section for e-commerce, the company announced. The social network, which has 2.2 billion users worldwide, this week began rolling out the service that will be available throughout the U.S. in the coming weeks.
- The collaboration with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch aims to position Marketplace as a single destination for Facebook users to manage their home improvement projects from proposal to completion. The service will show ratings and reviews of service providers, such as cleaners, plumbers and contractors, and let users get in touch with several professionals at the same time.
- Deborah Liu, Marketplace vice president, said in the announcement that Facebook users ask for suggestions on home services in the U.S. more than any other topic, and that millions of people have asked friends for referrals since the beginning of the year.
The partnerships with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch signal that the social network aims to hold a stronger presence in the billion-dollar market for home services. Total spending on home improvements last year hit $383.3 billion, and Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies estimates that the industry grows about 6% a year, pointing to a potentially lucrative opportunity for Facebook to get in on with additional services.
However, Facebook didn't disclose details on how it plans to monetize the new home services listings. HomeAdvisor, which last year acquired Angie's List in a deal that left corporate parent IAC/InteractiveCorp as a 90% owner of the combined company, makes money from service companies that pay for listings and referrals to consumers. Facebook has embarked on a variety of ways to appeal to local advertisers and small businesses that want to reach highly targeted audiences in a variety of regions. Facebook may be the simplest route, as the social network already has a massive user base and targeting capabilities to get messages in front of the right audiences.
The new offering is just one of several expansions for Marketplace, which is quickly becoming a rival of Craigslist, due to to other additions like home rentals and cars last fall. Like those expansions last year, Facebook pursued a similar strategy of working with partners to introduce these new listings for home services.
Meanwhile, Facebook isn't alone in seeking to expand in the home services space, even if its strategy is to partner with established companies that provide listings and referrals. Amazon in 2015 launched Amazon Home Services to provide consumers with a list of vetted and insured professionals to do things like mount a new TV in their homes. Google in November added a local services search to its voice-enabled Google Assistant, with results screened in some cities by HomeAdvisor and Porch. Walmart in March partnered with Handy to let customers pay for in-home installation and assembly assistance in more than 2,000 stores. Ikea also started a furniture assembly service from TaskRabbit in select cities, adding to the growing list of competitors Facebook will now challenge.