Facebook Presents the New Deals, in the Key of Groupon

Written on
Apr 26, 2011 
Gavin Dunaway  |

facebook_small.jpgADOTAS – So all these media outlets are reporting that Facebook is introducing “Deals,” which is odd because the pair of jeans I’m wearing now I got thanks to checking into an H&M back in November.

Oh, but that was the old Deals — using a check-in discounter is so passe. I mean, does anyone even use Foursquare anymore? Like 8 million people — Groupon has 38 million subscribers, so much more impressive.

See, the New Deals is jumping on the pay-first voucher train and elbowing in between big boys Groupon and LivingSocial. The first users to get a crack at them live in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego or San Francisco. (Snub New York City at your own peril, Zuckerberg.) After signing up, users will receive deals — which Facebook told The New York Times will be for group-centric events such as concerts — in their email or in their news feeds, where they buy heavily discounted vouchers to redeem later.

Facebook members will be able to share deals with friends — which is handy because many are group discounts — as well as see what their friends are buying. Try doing that without a social network of 600 million people, Groupon!

The craziest part of the new Deals is that you can buy them using Facebook Credits — that’s right, funny money is now real money. Of course, Google introduced its Offer product late last week (Though no one is sure how it works — I received an email thanking me for signing up… Yeah, that was it.) but Big G doesn’t have its own currency… Yet? Those of us who haven’t traded in our hard-earned dollars for Zuck Bucks can buy Deals with our old-fashioned credit cards.

Facebook changing up its Deals system should make Groupon and LivingSocial worry — the social network has a much bigger user base — but they should note that Facebook Places actually boosted Foursquare’s users when it first launched.

I’m curious, though, what it means that Facebook is de-emphasizing the monetization side of Places — check-in deals can now be set up for free by merchants. Does the social network think it was to slow and lost out to other location-based mobile social network? Or maybe the check-in game just isn’t a revenue driver — which is funny because Facebook’s bread and butter is local advertisers, and check-in discounts would seem like a great way to engage nearby costumers.

Also consider that many businesses have complained that Groupon users are nothing more than deal-hunters and that the daily discounter’s pricing model is a losing proposition.

But Foursquare has definitely lost some momentum — perhaps the checking-in fad is checking out? Seems so odd that group buying would be the more popular phenomenon.

Speaking of checking out, take a look at some screen shots from the new Deals over at Mashable.

Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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