Facebook has launched “Deals” in the UK, its location-based service which rewards you for regularly checking into places such as shops and restaurants.
Facebook Deals has already been trialled in the US for a few months, and has now been extended to the UK and other parts of Europe, and has a few big names on-board to get it going; Argos, Debenhams, Starbucks, O2 and Mazda are a few of the brands that will be available on the service.
The deals available vary from brand to brand. Starbucks, for example, is currently giving away free coffees, whilst O2 is giving some lucky Deals users the chance of getting a free XBox if they upgrade their phone in one of their stores. Other retailers will offer discount vouchers and other freebies, the details of which are then posted to your Facebook wall to promote the deals virally with your friends. TechRadar has a rundown of some of the early deals.
The deals fall into 4 categories:
The new service will no doubt eat into the market of other location-based services such as Groupon, and because it’s built into Facebook it will have a massive audience from day one. Facebook says it is not stepping on the toes of the likes of Groupon as it is not making any money from the deals, but users will only care about getting the best deal on their purchases, not whether a middleman is getting a cut, and it will come down to who offers the most convenient way of getting the deals. Facebook currently wins in this respect. They’ll no doubt be monetising the purchase history data (anonymised, of course) somewhere down the line.
Facebook Deals is currently available on Facebook for iPhone (as part as Facebook Places), and there are 3 steps for claiming deals:
If you don’t have an iPhone, you can also login at touch.facebook.com on any other smartphone.
You can find out what deals are available in your area by going to the Facebook Deals site and searching on the map. Sadly, it’s currently falling into the same trap as other location-based discount sites; lack of deals in smaller towns and cities. For example, a search for Wolverhampton shows no deals at all. Search for Birmingham, and you get Birmingham in the US (searching for Birmingham UK did the trick, but again, no deals were available at the time of typing). Actually, even searching for deals in London doesn’t return any results, so the launch must be pretty limited from day one.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on Facebook Deals. Will you use it? Facebook haven’t been very forthcoming releasing fgures on how many people have been using it in the US, so will it see the start of location-based services going mainstream or is it just another feature that no-one will use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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