Facebook has selected Austin, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco to launch its own version of daily deals coupon sites like Groupon, Living Social, Localiter, and dozens of others. Facebook users in those five cities will be able to buy "Facebook Deals" like a kayak ride on Lady Bird Lake with Live-Love-Paddle for $25 (normally $42) or a photo booth party with up to six friends at South Austin Gallery for $30 (normally $75).
You can find the coupons by looking for the deals link in the left-hand menu on your Facebook profile. In its guide for business, Facebook says the deals will also be posted on the main page of Facebook business profiles, and appear in the news feeds of people who have "Liked" that business.
The announcement comes one day after Google launched its own pilot service in Portland.
While selling your product or service for a sharply discounted price might bring in new business, not all proprietors agree that daily coupons are the best way to build their customer base, the New York Times reported earlier this month.
Each site insists that its own proprietary Web gimmick will counter recession blahs with new-customer buzz while building repeat business. As millions of hungry bargain-hunters click on these dining deals, restaurant owners say it is unclear whether the great online social-coupon gold rush is the future of American eating or a new, faster way to go out of business.
The online discount industry has exploded in recent years, but unlike industry leaders like Groupon, which has 70 million subscribers, Facebook can leverage its active user base of more than 600 million people.