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Facebook Introduces Location-Based "Deals" Service


Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the Facebook crowd has unveiled Deals, a location-based application. The initial deal partners and their deals were impressive.

For instance, The Gap will offer 10,000 pairs of free jeans and latecomers will get 40 percent off their purchase of a pair of Gap jeans. Also, the Golden State Warriors are offering a chance to participate in the human tunnel at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. All deals are accessible through Facebook Places on a touch screen mobile device.

There are three ways that Facebook mobile users can discover a deal, according to Tim Kendall, director of monetization for Facebook. First, users may already be connected to local businesses through "liking" their Facebook pages, and would be sent notifications when a deal became available. Second, users would receive notifications from friends who had participated in a deal. And third, if users select "Nearby" in the app, deal notifications will be sent to their phones as they near participating merchants.

Tight location parameters will be enforced. "There's really no point in offering a free cup of coffee to someone who's 10 miles away," Kendall said. The same privacy settings designated in Places will apply to the location-based deals app.

There are four types of Facebook mobile deals:

  1. Individual: a deal offered to a mobile Facebook user.
  2. Loyalty: User accumulates check-ins or purchases that can be redeemed. Facebook has developed a user interface that shows virtual punch marks on a card.
  3. Friend: A deal designed to include mobile users and their friends. For example, a restaurant could offer a free appetizer to a Facebook mobile user who came in with three friends, checked-in, took a photo and tagged the three friends and then showed the photo to the server to qualify for the free item.
  4. Charity: For the philanthropic-minded, a deal that offers a contribution to a specified charity when mobile users check-in at the location.

And the great news for retailers about Facebook mobile deals is: 1) it's free, and 2) page administrators will be able to use a single Facebook page to create their deal, similar to the site's "Create an ad" page.

Currently, your phone must have a touch screen or the capability of accessing www.facebook.com/touch in order to use Facebook Deals, according to Facebook Help. Facebook Deals app is included in the updated iPhone app available in the Apple Apps store.