Even though economies are still rough around the world, people everywhere still desire to own all sorts of stuff that they don’t really need. Facebook, which now has about a billion users, is aiming to help some of those folks get what they want by enabling wishlists, a popular feature on retail sites such as Target.com and Amazon.com.
The famed social network is now showcasing the products of seven different retailers and allowing some users to click on a “want” button that will put the desired item on a wish list for others to see, Reuters reports. This is part of a test of “Collections” functionality, that will also see if buttons marked “Collect” or “Like” will work better. In time, all of Facebook’s users and brand partners) will have access to the tool.
As Reuters notes, "Some users will see (a) 'want' button as part of the test, while others will see a button inviting them to 'collect' an item or to 'like' an item. Unlike Facebook's existing 'like' button, the feature that Facebook is testing will showcase the 'liked' item within a user's Timeline profile page."
Observers are seeing this is an eventual avenue into e-commerce for Facebook. Retailers involved in FB's Collections test that kicked off on Monday include Pottery Barn (which posted a holiday-themed collection called "Luxe Lodge"), Neiman Marcus (which created a "Borrowed From the Boys" collection), Michael Kors (a "Rock Star" collection), Victoria’s Secret ("Fave Fall Dresses"), Smith Optics ("New & Favorite Sunglasses"), Wayfair ("Sofa Styles"), and Fab.com ("Dutch Design Shop").
"People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook," Facebook said in a statement to Reuters.
That social graph of Facebook friends is growing exponentially. Having just hit one billion users, the Huffington Post predicts that Facebook could double in size by 2014, which could lead to a “lack of strategic direction.” Now that it's public with financials available, the social media behemoth just debuted at #69 on Interbrand's Best Global Brands list.
The potential pitfalls of such scale: that the site wil try to serve too many interests and desires, a lack of desire of venture capitalists to invest more as the user numbers rise, and the idea that each new user actually devalues the site’s ability to know exactly who the site’s users are. And there's always that old hot-button issue of privacy, and users not wanting advertising or promotion sullying their Facebook experience.
Meanwhile, Facebook is still trying to figure out how it will split up the $10 million it owes after settling a lawsuit this summer about “the use of users’ images in sponsored stories,” AllFacebook.com reports. Those affected could receive $10, though if more people apply for claims and the split amount equals $5 or less for each person, all of the money may end up going to privacy organizations.