Facebook made two relatively quiet “announcements” last week that must have come as a big relief to its competitors in the “check-in” and “social buying” categories, such as FourSquare, Gowalla, Groupon, and LivingSocial.
“Buried in its announcement of new privacy settings Tuesday, the social networking giant said it was scrapping Places as a standalone smartphone feature. Instead, Facebook users will be able to share location information more widely — across the desktop PC and devices, and in status updates, Wall posts, and uploaded photos.”
The promise here is that the attribute known as “places” will survive, and instead of being a stand-alone function will become a lower-profile part of many other Facebook services. Deals, on the other hand, has no such promise. Although Check-in Deals will survive with participating merchants, the Daily Deals service that was positioned to compete directly with Groupon and LivingSocial has been abandoned.
“Launched only four months ago, Facebook’s daily deals service had been criticized for the quality of the offers geared to social events and group activities, the level of discounts and lack of aggressive promotion by Facebook.”
Apparently, Facebook’s efforts to recruit merchants in the five test cities (Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco) did not yield the hoped-for benefits, either for Facebook or for the merchants. Facebook says it will continue to explore other avenues of working with local businesses.
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Related feature: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mobiledia/2011/08/29/facebook-ends-daily-deals/