Facebook Credits came out of beta in January this year. Since it was launched in May 2009 in alpha it was believed that Credits would be used solely by people playing social games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars. Virtual currency would give gamers that added experience when competing with their friends on Facebook. Those thinking that might have missed the whole point about Facebook having it’s own currency and the opportunity that it presents to companies and causes.
During the last two years Facebook has been rolling out a series of offerings such as Facebook Connect that have enabled users to log-in to third party sites with their Facebook account. This made the social networking site into an aggregator, allowing users to not just publish, but see what people within their network like online – based on websites that adopted Facebook Connect.
More recently Facebook has been rolling out it’s Questions and Comments applications. The latter has been received plenty of views from the social media community. Techcrunch’s Jon Evans says that Comments epitomizes everything that he hates about Facebook, before adding that because it is so simple he might end up using it. Comments allows Facebook to further plough into third party sites. It is becoming the platform of choice for websites. Why? Well because everyone appears to be on it. In the UK there are now 30 million individual users, 35 million in Indonesia and many million more in the US.
I came back from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and what I learnt is how quickly they started to trade on Facebook. E-commerce is being replaced by f-commerce. Businesses are realising than rather that spending money to get people to spend money on their sites, perhaps they should be investing to get the business of people on Facebook – cross the road to sell to your audience rather than get the audience to cross the road. Sounds simple, yet for many businesses a step too far.
Today you can buy airline tickets, clothes, tickets, just about anything. Business is slowly realising that Facebook is also a site through which you can sell.
Facebook Credits might in the future be another extension that can be implanted onto third party sites. The days though have passed when the cashier used to ask if “sir would be paying by cash or credit?” PayPal is now looking over its shoulders at the over 500 million account mammoth that is bearing down. “Will that be with PayPal or Facebook Credits sir?”
Who knows, perhaps one day we will all pull up a paywall that will charge Facebook Credits, which we can then redeem on other people’s sites. Crazy idea, but you heard it here first!