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Facebook is for friends, not business

October 17, 2011

Last week at Innovate, eBay’s new developer conference, Facebook did what most would have expected and announced they’re getting on board with eBay’s X.Commerce platform to integrate their open graph (the mapped connections between people created by their interactions on Facebook) into eBay’s offering.

This opens up a world of potential for social commerce, overcoming one of the two major downfalls of doing business on Facebook.

The first challenge so far in the f-commerce race has been that the creation of an F-commerce facility has been just like building a website – entirely dependant on having a third party developer come in and build what’s needed. This is often completely customized and therefore potentially expensive. While X.Commerce in itself is still a third party of course, it is a platform with the basic tools already built, which can be quickly deployed into any F-Commerce site, once the whole integration thing is figured out (and that ain’t easy).

The second challenge however is where this falls short of the mark, and this TechCrunch piece echos my own views on the matter:

“It seems that consumers aren’t particularly jazzed about doing their shopping on Facebook — part of which may be due to the novelty of Facebook’s eCommerce or it could simply be a reluctance to embrace new commerce functionality on what is really a platform designed to share pictures and stalk former romances.”

And there it is – put simply, Facebook is a place to chronicle your personal life, and to connect with other people who want to share theirs. Do you remember those special moments you shared with your significant other, your best friend, your kids, those travellers you met when you were abroad? Now ask yourself – were any of those people trying to use those moments to sell you something?

Invariably, the answer is no. Doing business on Facebook is tough because when you create a place for people to share their personal lives, they will always treat it as a place to share personal things, and not a place to do business, or to have people sell them stuff constantly.

And there lies the challenge with F-Commerce. I don’t want people selling me stuff there any more than I want them doing it on LinkedIn, or any other place.

There’s a myriad of companies and startup ventures out there right now trying to conquer the social commerce problem right now. My own is one of them, by the way. But there’s a slow realisation that the extent to which existing social media can be reworked to include eCommerce is limited – unless someone hurries up and innovates!

Deliriant Isti Romani – These Romans are Crazy!

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