[Facebook] Deals or No Deals?

From Techland:

[W]ith Facebook’s announcement today of Facebook Deals, that’s beginning to change. In a press conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out an impressive roster of merchants willing to play along with Facebook’s Places. Check into the Gap and earn a free pair of jeans. Check into North Face and earn $1 for the National Park Foundation. Not only that, Facebook has removed much of the friction from the process. It’s a few simple clicks from walking into a store and earning a deal through Facebook.

I’ll be honest: after using Foursquare a handful of times, I got very bored with it. It might have been that I didn’t have anyone in the area to compete against, that I didn’t go out a lot, that it was a pain to remind myself to check-in, there was no reward for any check-ins, or any number of reasons that keep conjuring in my brain. I dropped it after a couple of weeks of inconstant use.

With this announcement, Facebook is poised to steal the thunder from Foursquare for location based interactions. They’ve taken the idea to the next level in terms of rewarding all people (not just mayors) for visits and given a greater number of incentives for using a location based application.

Although, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Facebook is not an entity that comes to mind when you think of “privacy protection”. They’ve had their own issues with privacy, but a service like this does beg the question: what are you willing to give up to get a benefit? If I can check-in on Facebook Deals to get a free appetizer at a restaurant or a discount on a pair of shoes, is this snapshot of my shopping habits worth the trade in goods or services? In other words, how does the quid pro quo work for the end user?

Furthermore, is there something that we as libraries can do to capitalize on something like Facebook Deals? David Lee King wrote a post about using Foursquare with libraries back in January. Is there something we could offer patrons for checking in at the library? Off the top of my head, some random things come to mind: an extra item over the limit (like DVDs), jump ahead on a hold’s list, giveaways (show this and get a free book for your kid, for example), fine or overdue waiving, or home delivery of materials. (Disclaimer: I said random things, not things that would work perfectly or always make sense.) 

Could Facebook Deals be a big deal for libraries?

5 thoughts on “[Facebook] Deals or No Deals?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention [Facebook] Deals or No Deals? « Agnostic, Maybe -- Topsy.com

  2. Oh this is interesting. Foursquare doesn’t really hold a lot of appeal to me on the library’s behalf. There’s not much value that *we* get out of people checking in. I would rather reward users for following us on Twitter or Facebook, where at least they will be exposed to messages from us. Yes, you can put in tips in Foursquare but because of the IP address setup on our campus, you get tips for other nearby locations when you check into our library. The question of rewards is the seriously hard part when all our services are free. It’s hard to justify spending money on these programs, and we don’t want to penalize other users by encouraging overdues or line-jumping. I’m thinking we could maybe do a monthly giveaway for our “follower of the month” – they could pick from a selection of logo-ized pens, water bottles, usb drives etc. Or use leftover giveaways from special events. Definitely will look into the Facebook program.

    • I wouldn’t say the quick ideas I jotted down are perfect. Far from it! But I think with a bit of brainstorming there are benefits that could be granted so that it would make it reasonable for a person to consider checking in at the library.

      Don’t see it as spending money on a program. This is marketing. When you give something to them for checking in, you can give them flyers, pamphlets, calendars, and other advertisements for the library. This is strategic marketing, plain and simple.

  3. Oh, man, my kingdom to be able to jump ahead in the hold queue, but Jenny’s right that it wouldn’t be fair to others.

    This, though, seems like a nice counterpoint to the metal-lockers post, in that it addresses the question of, how do we actually get people through the door? And it might be something that disproportionately appeals to people who aren’t coming to the library right now.

    That said, I don’t have a smartphone so I don’t do Foursquare or any of that (and Facebook also kind of creeps me out), so I don’t know what the appeal is anyway. But some of those badges are pretty cute. Can you go on a library bender?

    Come to think of it, with the Deals thing — what’s in it for *Facebook*? I mean, I presume that what’s in it for them with the Gap or whoever is that FB gets to collect more interesting data on people, which it can then sell to advertisers. (Or, if not the data per se, the ability to have particular actions triggered by FB data.) But libraries aren’t really in the advertising business. What do libraries offer FB to make it worth their time? Do they have the money? And if they did, would it be consistent with privacy concerns? And if libraries can get in on Deals without paying FB…who *is* paying FB to get to use data about what people do in libraries?

    • Don’t get hung up on the hold queue thing. I just made up stuff off the top of my head. I think there are other more reasonable things that could work.

      I think it’s a matter of consumer data. If you can track people and their habits, you can market accordingly. I’m sure FB is turning that data into money down the line; I don’t imagine it being very different than what Google does with its search data. Toss in advertising money and it’s a grand prix for marketing!

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