Facebook Deals launched Nov. 3 in the US. Now the location-based is launching in the UK, with charter brands offering specials including Alton Towers Resort, Argos, Benetton, Debenhams, Mazda, Starbucks, and YO! Sushi, plus other parts of Europe — Germany, Italy, France, Spain — plus Canada.
Starbucks in the UK, according to InformationWeek, "is offering a free cup of coffee to anyone (the first 30,000, says the Guardian) who checks in to Places Deals Monday (while) Benetton will donate £2 or €2 to Architecture for Humanity for every person who checks in. Mazda is giving users the chance to earn a 20% discount — or more than £4,600 — off its MX-5 sports car."
Additionally, the first 1,000 Facebookers to check in at Debenhams will receive a free mascara and makeover, and the first four customers to upgrade their contracts and check in at O2 stores will win a free Xbox or Playstation.
"Where's this all going?" asks the Guardian, adding:
Take the dynamic that Google exploited with web advertising, tapping thousands of smaller businesses, and think how Facebook could build on that from international brands to individuals through your local network. Promoting a local club night, selling your car, appealing for funds for the local community centre - there's a rich seam of targeted advertising already being nurtured on Facebook, and it has hardly begun.
Add to that Credits - Facebook's on-site payment systems currently restricted to games - and there's a much larger Facebook economy to be explored. Credits could be the next secure payment system - beyond virtual goods in games, users could buy music, films, books or anything else on sites integrated with Facebook Connect. If you "like" on a third-party site, why not "like and buy", with Facebook, which already has your name and contact information?
Facebook, which reportedly does not take a cut of sales generated via the Facebook Deals platform but positions it as a "value add" to its brand partners, last week released a how-to video and guidelines (including a downloadable handbook) for businesses contemplating deals: