Talking tech since 2003

Remember Facebook Gifts? It was a cute service, once upon a time, that allowed users of the social network to send virtual gifts to one another. The gifts were nothing more than a little picture that would appear on a friend’s wall. Following the business model of a drug dealer, Facebook would allow you to send your first gift for free. Every gift after that required a purchase. Two years after discontinuing the failed experiment, Facebook gifts are back, but this time they’re for real.

Today Facebook announced that soon you will be able to send actual gifts to your Friends. The idea is that you can select an item to purchase, fill out a 1990’s style eCard, and Facebook will alert the recipient of your generosity. It is then up to the receiver to provide Facebook with the necessary shipping information.

The introduction of physical items for sale seems a bit odd coming from the social media giant. While it might not be too far-fetched of a plan, Amazon is probably laughing at the prospect of Facebook entering the eCommerce world. With Facebook’s brand so heavily developed, and the purpose of actual online retailers so ingrained in the lives of users, it’s an almost unnatural thought to image people going on Facebook to make purchases. But stranger revolutions have happened; remember when Google decided to make an email service?

This does bring up the question of Facebook’s vitality as a company. Facebook’s stock is down about 47 percent from what it debuted at just four months ago and the overall outlook of the company is lower than expected. Is it possible that Facebook is looking towards other avenues to generate revenue? With large companies like GM bailing on Facebook ads, Zuckerberg might be feeling the heat from investors. The question now is whether Facebook can convince its millions of users to shell out cash in order to send cupcakes and stuffed animals.

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