Facebook has been slowly rolling out tests to select developers that want to integrate with the Facebook gift shop. As of today there are approximately 5 companies that have been participating in tests: American Greetings, RealGifts, JibJab, GreetBeatz, and someecards. The latter three only recently began showing up in the gift shop. However Facebook has been testing out the gift shop as a platform for developers to sell virtual gifts over the past few months.
Back in August, the company also announced the addition of a number of non-profit companies that have begun using the Facebook gift shop as a way to raise money. Now it appears that many more companies are getting in on the action and while no details have been provided about how open the gift shop platform will become, this new model increases variety for users.
While I’d expect to see more developers in the gift shop, we’ll have to wait and see how quickly they are rolled out. This presents a huge opportunity for developers and as the platform becomes more open and the type of virtual gifts evolves, we’d expect to see this space expand. Just last week there were projections released that the virtual goods market could expand to $6 billion in the by 2013.
At this point that is just estimates but I’d expect Facebook’s gift shop to contribute to a fairly substantial portion of that growth. If Facebook completely opens up their gift shop with the launch of their payments platform, there will be a massive shift of digital transactions taking place on the site. We’ll have to watch as this space evolves, but for now we have three more companies to purchase gifts from on Facebook.