AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON location-based online marketplaces - This application from Zaarly, Inc. seeks to patent the idea of...An online marketplace which associates a geographic location with each listing and and search radius with a prospective buyer or seller! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 5/3/2011 that discusses:

  • Online marketplaces which specify location of items and a radius of interest for buyer or seller

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - Geographic interest may be specificed by search radius and items for sale may be assigned to keyword categories

TITLE: Proximity-based online marketplace

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] An online marketplace where each listing is associated with a geographic target areas; potential buyers are shown example listings based on their location and target area of each listing.

  • Publication Number: US 20120284143 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/414,278
  • Assignee: Zaarly, Inc.
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 5/3/2011
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

An online system comprising:

  • A database storing

    • Example listings, and

    • A geographic target area associated with each of the example listings; and

  • A server configured to

    • Detect a location of a client device accessing the system over a network,

    • Identify a set of the example listings based on the detected location and the geographic target areas, and

    • Provide the identified set of example listings to the client device over the network.

In English this means:

A proximity-based online marketplace, comprising:

  1. A database storing listings and a geographic target area associated with each listing; and

  2. A server configured to:

    • Detect the location of a client device

    • Identify a set of listings based on the detected location and the geographic target area; and

    • Provide the listings to the client

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 5/3/2011

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming Assigning items to keyword categories, showing example listing and using demographic information about buyer to target items to potential buyers

"Network "architecture" for proximity-based online marketplace" from the Applicant

What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.

  • 1
    Isn't this exactly what Yelp does? When was Yelp first released?
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 19:47

6 Answers 6


How about eBay's location search, which looks to be around since at least 2005.

Here's a link to the WayBackmachine's archive from 2007 showing you could search for an item based on postcode and distance. https://web.archive.org/web/20070812210201/http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/buy/search_region.html

  • Telling the server the center of a region you want searched may not fulfill the element of the server detecting the client's location.
    – George White
    Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 21:24

Eventbrite, a "marketplace" for event tickets had a similar system in place before 2011.

They detected the location of the archive.org crawler as San Francisco and outputted matching events: 2010: https://web.archive.org/web/20101202033950/http://www.eventbrite.com/

They still do this today.

Groupon also had something similar in place:

While the API itself is relatively simple, Groupon does a few things behind the scenes to help streamline development. For example, Tagbulb simplifies tag search by aggregating content from developers are not required to provide geolocation information to the Deals API, in which case Groupon will try to return local deals based on the caller’s IP address. This might be helpful for mobile app developers who want to provide their traveling users with local deals wherever they happen to be. 2010-05-27: http://blog.programmableweb.com/2010/05/27/groupon-opens-api-to-help-developers-share-the-wealth/


http://nearbygamers.com does all these things. It's not "buyer" and "seller", but those words don't appear in the claims list. Looks like it was built in 2007 http://push.cx/2007/announcing-nearbygamers


We've been doing this at Streetbank.com since 2009. The user signs up, we detect their location, then we show them things in their area. The things are usually to be given away rather than sold though. We do allow tradespeople and shops to advertise their wares to local people.

  • Links, verifiable sources, or screenshots would be helpful.
    – Ron J.
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:10
  • This is the current site, it went live in late 2013 - streetbank.com/signup. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:17
  • The last iteration went live early 2011, at that point we were doing geocoding on signup via postcode, map or IP. Once we had found out where the person was we would show them relevant content. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:18
  • This is such an obvious feature "show people things near them" it can't possibly make it's way through the US patent system surely. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:19

Haven't Yelp and CitySearch both been doing this since 2008? There's a screenshot from December 2008 here showing the interface with a "0.1" miles" from here tag on listings. The article text says "Both tap into the iPhone’s GPS to let you find nearby restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, and stores. "


KSL classifieds www.ksl.com/classifieds has had this feature for years. Enter your location and a search radius and there you go.

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