As we all know Facebook launched Places in August as the long-awaited location-sharing feature on Facebook to combat with foursquare and Gowalla and other location sharing services.
In an article Facebook Gets Serious about Location with Deals Noah Elkin talks about what Facebook needs to do to make this feature more appealing.
When Facebook launched Places they thought that it would bring an early death to Foursquare, however, since the launch of Places, Foursquare’s user base continued to surge, growing from 2.6 million on August 12th to 4 million on October 21st.
Looks like Facebook underestimated its opponent. I have yet to adopt this new feature and I have heard very little about my friends using it. This could be because of the lack of compelling features, such as game dynamics, that provide an edge for foursquare. Based on a recent calculations by Silicon Alley Insider (SAI), a large number of people (a reported 30 million) have tried Places, but more people check in on foursquare on a more regular basis.
So what is Facebook to do if they plan to grow Places? Well yesterday Facebook launched its Deals program and they suspect the answer is commerce.
With the new Deals program Facebook has the opportunity to reap the success of group-buying services such as Groupon. Deals is launching with 22 national brands including, Gap, H&M, McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Macy’s, proves that Facebook is serious in playing in this game.
Now with over 200 million mobile app users Facebook has a real opportunity to make a significant impact in the marketplace. It could also offer a big boost to mobile-assisted commerce and make mobile not only a more viable but also more necessary channel for reaching consumers.
I may just have to check it out myself.