In Facebook's quest to become the ultimate social networking juggarnot, they've moved onto the land of online sales and deals. Today the site plans to launch its Facebook Deals program in 5 major US cities: San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas and Austin, Texas. What does that mean?
The site plans to merge online discount shopping combined with the social experience. So when you score that amazing deal for 6-month membership package at Crunch for 40% off, your friends can instantly be notified of the steal and get their Likes clicking. Or when you purchase the 50% off dinner at Le Cirque, its published on the newsfeeds of your friends.
This is not the first time that the site has done this though, a couple of months ago they launched "Check-In Deals". Its purpose was to help users obtain special offers when they check in at local businesses from their mobile devices. Offers through Facebook would last anywhere from a day to a week. Facebook has also had its own Marketplace. And from what I can remember on the site, people would simply sell things belonging primarily to them; some textbooks, a used iPod, laptop or subletting an apartment.
Well Facebook explains how different their approach will be:
While many Deals on Facebook offer discounts, it's more important to us that you find interesting experiences around you to do with friends. We've worked with partners and local businesses to help deliver the best social activities in your area. And once you've found a deal you like, having the deal on Facebook makes it easy to share, buy and plan with your friends.
If they execute their version of deals model correctly, they have the ability to completely take over online discounted sales, effectively killing Groupon, LivingSocial, GiltCity, LifeBooker, etc, etc, etc. It will also be just one more way Facebook controls your life.