Facebook rolls out Deals, online coupon service for members

Consumer Reports News: April 26, 2011 12:38 PM

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The social-media site is now offering Facebook Deals, which may mean big competition for group-buying deal services such as Groupon and LivingSocial. Facebook is testing Deals in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco, with plans to roll it out across the country soon.

With more than 600 million members, Facebook will be able tap into a wealth of information offered up by member communications and activities through friend networks. Facebook Deals will let users share deals with friends, view when a friend buys something, and find offers that your friends are interested in.

Facebook will focus on offering things best done with friends, such as concerts and day trips--but it will also offer plenty of shopping and retail deals. (A peek at the lineup of discounts available now for the five test cities reveals coupons for concert tickets, horseback riding, kids' birthday-party specials, and hot wings, among other deals.) Facebook members can buy Deals with a credit card or with Facebook Credits—the site's own online currency. And a link on the Deals page lets business owners post deals.

Facebook has made no secret of its plans for a service similar to that of Groupon and SocialLiving, announcing it via the site's blog late last year; the popularity of daily deal services online has surged since Groupon first appeared on the scene less than three years ago. Google has also begun rolling out a similar coupon program online, called Google Offers.

Facebook Is Latest Rival to Groupon and LivingSocial [New York Times]
Google loses executive to Groupon, preps rival service [Reuters]

Maggie Shader

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