As Facebook looks for ways to monetize its presence, the company rolled out Gifts earlier this year — a program that is now available to all U.S. users. But Facebook wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to test the social gift market. Several other companies — such as Plumfare, Boomerang, Treater, and GiftHit — use Facebook to deliver experiences that can’t be captured with gift cards.
Subway has a pretty tasty deal with CityVille players. Those who play the popular Facebook game can build a Subway restaurant into their city, in return, Subway gives the player a coupon to be redeemed in-store. When the coupon is used, the player then gets a code for CityVille bonuses. An expert panel discussed this and other ways that brands can build loyalty with fans through Facebook in one of the final events of the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in New York.
Believing a gift card Facebook offer for Starbucks that seems too good to be true could land users in hot water. Dennis Yu, founder of BlitzLocal, tipped us off to this latest scam making the rounds on Facebook: offers from a shady page called Discounts (which appears to have been taken down already). Users who clicked on the offer for coupons from Starbucks and McDonald’s, among other brands, entered their email addresses, supposedly to receive loads of free goodies, but instead got hacked.
We all know the five-second reaction to seeing a friend’s birthday on Facebook — a basic greeting posted to their timeline. What if you want to do more? Several companies are filling the gap and making a statement with social gifting, allowing people to give real-life presents to their friends. While entities such as Wrapp and Gifties are getting a foothold in the market, Facebook announced Thursday the launch of Gifts, a native program where users can give things such as Gund teddy bears, Starbucks gift cards, and Star Wars flash drives.
Remember SuperPoke!, when you could virtually bake a cake for a friend or throw a sheep at them? A new Facebook game, Gifties, revives the spirit of SuperPoke!, but with real-life payoffs. Now, when you give someone cookies, you might actually give them cookies, which would be delivered to their door. You could even end up giving the gift of a gift cards, flights, or a hotel stay.
Only 30 of the top 500 online retailers, or just 6 percent, have added the option of logging in with Facebook to their account-creation process, and of those 30, 30 percent are shooting themselves in the foot by requiring users to create separate password for their sites, according to the results of a new study from Sociable Labs.
As summer turns to fall, it’s time for one of Starbucks’ most popular drinks — the pumpkin spice latte. The coffee shop has turned to Facebook for a contest to figure out which city will be the first to sip the sweet java. This contest’s application was so popular that it crashed within one hour of its launch Monday morning. Not to worry, it’s now up and running again. As of Tuesday morning, the town of Clarkesville, Ga. (population 1,742), located 85 miles northeast of Atlanta, is the leader.
Facebook’s initial public offering is a milestone in the evolution of not only social media, but media itself. Fairly or unfairly, Facebook is the lightning rod, the proxy, for the broader discussion about how fast consumer behavior is changing through our increasingly frictionless ability to share and socialize.