The Gaps in Facebook Places

11th November 2010

Last weekend, Facebook launched the ever hyped Facebook places deals and in true Facebook fashion, they had some of the best deals available with their launch partners. Naturally, I set out to explore and try my hand at a few to see how it all worked, here are my reactions:

1. Ease of use: 8 out of 10. Finding the deals was fairly simple, just login to Facebook places and similar to Foursquare if you are near a deal location, it pops up before you even check in.

2. Claiming the deal: 6 out of 10. Here’s where things got tricky, it was easy to check in and get the deal, but it looks like Facebook may have rushed on getting this out (surprised aren’t you?). The verbiage for “claiming” a deal is pretty much the same from place to place, so there is no way of knowing if the deal has run out.

For example, I checked into Gap around 7 pm expecting the deal for the first 10,000 customers to be sold out, however, when I checked in, I was shown a screen saying I had in fact gotten the deal and there were “over 100 remaining.” when I showed this to the cashier, he explained the deal had run out in a matter of minutes that morning, was no longer valid and despite what my phone said, he couldn’t take it.

I wasn’t too upset to not receive the jeans, I wasn’t expecting them, but since Gap had set up the promotion to end at a specific time rather than after a specific number of checkins, it left many customers out in the cold, and VERY upset.

However, at a visit to H&M where the deal was 20% off a purchase, a deal that also ended on a specific date but had no limit, it worked perfectly.

3. Sharing: 6 out of 10. Upon checking in, the deal is shared on your Facebook profile. As Facebook places has higher priority in a person’s newsfeed, this is excellent for the variability of a brand. However, when it backfires, as Gap did for me, it gives false information to friends.

4. Expectations: 7 out of 10. If Facebook can fix bugs like deal availability when brands create them, Facebook places has the potential to be a game changer. But, if Facebook continues to keep Places as a top priority in the news feed and continues to automatically publish to a users wall, the spam nature a Facebook deal diva may turn some people away from the tool all together.

What are your thoughts on Facebook Places deals? Have you used them or are you sticking to Foursquare for your location based sharing? And if you did score a pair of these elusive jeans, let me know in the comments 😉