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FOBO launches in SF: Craiglist-style local auctions sans hassles

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Upgrading your tablet or smartphone but tired of the hassle of long eBay auctions, or worse yet, Craigslist listings? San Francisco-based FOBO went live on Friday, and has an alternative for you (via TechCrunch).

FOBO offers its end users a new way to sell goods -- via mobile app, and only via a mobile app. The methodology is such that sellers don't have to worry about a lot of the issues involved with other sales techniques. Not only does FOBO guarantee sellers will get a set price for their devices and be paid upfront, it ensures that their item is sold within 97 minutes.

The idea is that a listing on FOBO is an auction. The starting bid for the item is determined by FOBO, usually based on the average sales price for the same product on eBay. Your item is then set up with an auction that lasts slightly more than an hour and a half. During that time, other FOBO users can bid on the auction.

What about that sales guarantee? Well, if for some reason your item doesn't sell in the alloted time, FOBO will buy it for the guaranteed initial bid and then sell the item itself. So, assuming you are happy with the opening price, there is only upside to listing your item on FOBO.

There's another plus: Buyers pay for the item in-app, which means there is no chance they might try to haggle over the price once they show up to pick up the product. They must also agree to meet at a time that works for the seller’s schedule.

No shipping is involved. Much like Craigslist, these are supposed to be local listings. However, FOBO is limited to San Francisco right now. We're not kidding, either. If you try to sign up for FOBO, and your GPS tells the app you are not in SF, it won't allow you to sign up. It's also clever enough to prevent a user with Location Services turned off from signing up.

There's another limitation: The product is currently iOS-only.

The FOBO team has raised $1.6 million in funding from Index Ventures, Greylock, Kevin Rose, Chris Sacca, Y Combinator, and a few others.

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