It was a lovely 3rd of November afternoon when we first heard of Facebook's intent to create a Deals Program amongst a handful of other new features for the social networking ecosystem, and now not quite four months after its inception, the program has been cut entirely. While the Facebook Deals program seemed at first to very much be an obvious Groupon Rival, even an early June 2011 announcement of a possible UK sect of the program did not prove enough to keep the system alive, and today Facebook has announced the cutting of the Deals.
Back the same day the Facebook Deals program was launched, we analyzed the situation, hypothesizing that this new platform could have the potential to drive more location based service usage, it appears that Chicago-based Groupon has proved too much for the big blue social networking site. Over in Palo Alto, California, Facebook has released a statement which made clear their intentions for the moment:
"After testing Deals for four months, we've decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks[,] We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses[,] We've learned a lot from our test and we'll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses." - Facebook
Facebook had thus far begun testing their Deals program in April in the USA in five major US cities: Atlanta, San Diego, Austin, Dallas, and San Francisco. Meanwhile the multi-faceted business empire known as Google is currently testing their own online coupon program, one by the name of Google Offers. It's important to note at this point that just last year Google attempted to purchase Groupon for a reported $5 billion USA only to be turned down by the undisputed king of group-based deals.
Meanwhile Facebook did add that while they were indeed shutting down Facebook Deals, they would stay true to the notion that connecting with local businesses was the way to go:
"[We are] committed to building products to help local businesses connect with people, like Ads, Pages, Sponsored Stories, and Check-in Deals." - Facebook
Check-in Deals differs from the Facebook Deals program in that a mobile device such as a smartphone is required when you visit a local business, you then "checking-in" and receiving some sort of discount or deal for literally being there on site with your device.