With one billion birthdays listed on Facebook, the social network finally decided allowing you to send gifts through the social network was a good idea.
Sure, the company already has your email address, your family pictures, and your political beliefs. Now they want you to store your credit card number and mailing address in there too. And, with all the hoopla going around about copyrights and whether or not you own your content and photos online, this could bother some of you.
But, for the sake of convenience, I like to think of it as Amazon on crack.
You see, when Patti Knight joined Arment Dietrich, one of her first tasks was to set calendar invites for the birthdays of my 14 nieces and nephews. And then I had her take it a step further – I asked her to set the alarm one week before said birthdays so I could get a gift out in time.
But now I can send gift cards (with is what all the older kids want anyway) the day of their birthdays, right to their Facebook account, and not have to worry about what a terrible aunt I am for sending it late (even though I have that reminder set up a week before).
The service is aptly named Gifts and it’s only available in the United States right now.
Some of the merchants they have brought on board so far are iTunes, Dean & DeLuca, Magnolia Bakery (mmmmm….cupcakes), Hulu Plus, Gap, and more.
When a Facebook friend has a birthday, you are nudged to buy a gift (a gift box icon pops up). You are offered a menu to choose from: Beer glasses, cake pops, quilts, music, movies, TV streaming, subscriptions, donations to charity, the possibilities are endless. Then you choose a greeting card and input your credit card information. And, just like any other online shopping site, they store your information for you so you don’t have to reenter it every time you make a purchase.
How easy is that? Of course, you still face the “terrible aunt for being late with a gift” syndrome that I do if you send an actual gift on their birthdays. But if you’re sending something that can be delivered immediately and downloaded? Freaking brilliant!
Will it Work?
Commerce, of course, has eluded Facebook in the past.
More than a year ago, they allowed brands to open stores on the site and it failed miserably. But analysts expect this one to work, citing Apple that stores more than 400 million credit cards, PayPal with 117 million, and eBay with 108 million. Amazon has 180 million customers, but won’t say how many of those store their credit card information.
Not only is Facebook now playing in the very popular online shopping space, it is bringing commerce to mobile, which they so desperately need. Right now, the only way mobile makes money for them is through advertisements. But, according to the founder of Wrapp (a mobile gift-giving app), gift-giving on your phone is a much more “palatable way” to make money.
That, of course, will make the investors happy, which in turn will make you happy.
While other online shopping sites have your information, only Facebook knows who your friends are, what they like, and what they do. As this service grows, it certainly stands to reason someday Facebook will tell you exactly what your spouse wants for his or her birthday.
What do you think? Love it or hate it?