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Facebook Adds a Gift Store

Facebook started a new service called Gifts. It allows Facebook users only in the United States for now to buy presents for their friends on the social network. Facebook also added iTunes gift cards.

The gift service is part of an aggressive moneymaking push aimed at pleasing Facebook’s investors after the company’s dismal stock market debut. Facebook has stepped up mobile advertising and is starting to customize the marketing messages it shows to users based on their Web browsing outside Facebook.

To power the Gifts service, Facebook rented a warehouse in South Dakota and created its own software to track inventory and shipping. It will not say how much it earns from each purchase made through Gifts, though merchants that have a similar arrangement with Amazon.com give it a roughly 15 percent cut of sales.If it catches on, the service would give Facebook a toehold in the more than $200 billion e-commerce market. The company will accumulate a new stream of valuable personal data .

One of the appeals of Facebook Gifts is the ease of making a purchase. Facebook users are nudged to buy a gift ie, a gift-box icon pops up for Facebook friends on their birthdays. They are offered a vast menu to choose from: beer glasses, cake pops, quilts, marshmallows, magazine subscriptions and donations to charity. They are asked to choose a greeting card. Then they are asked for credit card details. Facebook says it stores that credit card information, unless users remove it after making a purchase.

Facebook has declined to say how many users have bought gifts, only that among those who have, the average purchase is $25.

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One Response to Facebook Adds a Gift Store

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