Oodle Scores New Funding to Develop ‘Social Classifieds’

Online classifieds player Oodle won a hefty $5.6 million round of funding from existing investors. The money will go toward improving the company’s product, expanding internationally, and extending its network of partners, which already includes Wal-Mart, Facebook, and MySpace.

The company is working on an approach to online listings that Geoff Yang, partner at Oodle backer RedPoint Ventures, calls “social classifieds.” The idea, he said in a statement, is to “uniquely combine commerce, social interaction, and an entertainment experience,” he said.

Oodle recently entered a deal with Facebook to take over management of its Marketplace application. That relationship is expected to come to fruition this quarter. Oodle CEO and Founder Craig Donato told ClickZ Oodle’s value to social networking site users is partly its ability to be a “weirdo filter.”

“With classifieds, you hook up with the buyers online, but it always ends in face-to-face interaction,” he said. “It always has this social component,” said Donato. He said the goal is to allow sellers to offer wares and services only to people they know something about.

Oodle is also preparing to invest in overseas expansion. Already active in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and India, the company expects to enlarge its presence in Latin America and Europe. Oodle says traffic to its listings tripled in 2008, and says its network now includes about 200 partners, including Comcast and Cox Broadcasting. Venture capital firms included in Oodle’s latest funding round include RedPoint, Greylock Partners, and JAFCO Ventures.

In November Oodle laid off approximately 10 employees in marketing and account management roles as part of a reorganization aimed at cutting costs. The company says is aggressively hiring in engineering and other roles.

Fred Aun contributed reporting. This story has been updated.

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