After a lot of anticipation, Facebook is taking the first steps into the deals and discounts space, just ahead of search giant Google. Google, as is heard, is building up Google Offers, following a rumoured failed attempt to buy the current leader in the space – GroupOn.
Facebook has tied up with Debenhams, O2 and Starbucks so far, to launch campaigns on Facebook Deals and the first 30,000 users who check into a participating Starbucks using Facebook Places can get a free coffee, while O2 is going to give a 10 per cent discount on gaming accessories and will give away Xbox 360s. Debenhams is offering free mascara and makeovers for people using the Facebook services and other brands, including Benetton, Mazda and Yo Sushi, will be joining the network’s Deals soon.
The location-based service is an extension of Facebook Places and lets merchants offer customers and their friends incentives for visiting their outlets. Once a user has checked in to an area or outlet, Facebook Deals will list nearby venues that are offering discounts. Offers are then redeemed by displaying a voucher to the staff in the outlet.
Facebook Deals is based on Facebook Places and more in line with what is offered by Foursquare, but both Google and GroupOn are also rumoured to be looking into finding ways to go beyond leverage group buying and location based incentives.