Facebook on Thursday unveiled Gifts, the company’s major initiative into the world of social gift giving and e-commerce.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Users can choose, mail and pay for real-world, physical gifts — not the lame virtual ones Facebook offered a few years ago — to send to one another, all completely inside of Facebook. They’re tied to the significant event reminders that pop up on occasion — say, a friend’s anniversary, or a birthday. Or even better for Facebook, users can also just buy gifts for others for the heck of it.
It’s a major undertaking for Facebook, tackling an entire new segment of online commerce and adding a brand new revenue stream to its business. And to a degree, we’ve known it was coming for some time — after all, on the same day Facebook went public, it acquired Karma, the social gifting application upon which all of Gifts is based and built.
Perhaps more significant, however, is that users aren’t limited to just the desktop to send and receive gifts; the entire Gifts program is accessible on mobile phones.
“This is truly the heart and soul of Karma, re-imagined inside of Facebook,” Lee Linden, head of Facebook Gifts, told me in an interview. “And it all works perfectly on the phone.”
This is crucial. Since the company first filed for its IPO, we’ve known that Facebook was weak on monetizing mobile. More than half of Facebook’s hundreds of millions of monthly active users access Facebook through a mobile device, signaling a massive shift away from the desktop in just the past few years. But mobile screens aren’t friendly to advertising, which is currently Facebook’s primary revenue driver.
Gifts, however, work just as well on Facebook’s apps and mobile Web site as they do on the desktop. Now, along with notes and photos, users can posts Gifts directly to their friends’ Timelines with the addition of a “Gift” button, squarely placed inside of the text box on each profile.
Read the rest of the article here: Say Hello to Gifts, Facebook’s New Mobile Revenue Stream