You may have noticed a new item in the main ‘account’ menu in Facebook. It looks like this:
This is Facebook’s attempt to launch its own virtual currency. To start with Facebook credits are targeted at virtual goods such as games, but Facebook hope that it will eventually be used to buy anything online.
Good for Website Builders
For those with a Facebook page AND a physical website elsewhere, this is a potentially exciting opportunity to offer transactions within the actual Facebook environment.
And it has even bigger implications: Thanks to Facebook connect – which lets you log into other sites using your Facebook login – and Facebook open graph – which allows any site to be ‘liked’, the online currency could eventually flourish not just within Facebook but on the wide web too.
The potential downside for retailers and consumers is that Facebook plan to take a whopping 30% of every transaction. That goes way beyond the 2% that most credit card companies take.
This isn’t the first time an online currency has been tried. Those of us who remember the heady days of the web in the 90s will recall a startup currency called ‘beanz’, which was the first play for a universal way to pay online. Beanz – like so many early dotcoms – foundered because it wasn’t widely adopted. But with 500m global users Facebook definitely has the reach to make this work.
Experts are saying that despite the healthy commissions, Facebook credits could provide a very easy and frictionless way to pay online. And when friction goes down, sales go up.
What do you think?
Do you think that a Facebook currency could work? How would you feel about buying – or selling – for Facebook credits rather than hard cash? Has Facebook overstepped the mark, is it becoming too big, too much a part of everyone’s lives?
Leave us a comment below.