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The Dawn of Real Facebook eCommerce

Facebook is set to begin testing an expansion of its Gift Shop, for third-party developers to begin selling items to users for Facebook’s virtual currency. The really interesting part about this is that these developers can sell physical merchandise, not just Facebook gifts.

The web has been waiting for this concept to come. Earlier this year, Facebook was rumored to begin testing a payments system that would compete with entities like PayPal and Google Checkout. Then they hired none other than Prashant Fuloria, former Director of Product Management for Google Checkout. Inside Facebook’s Justin Smith reports:

Here’s how it will work: gifts created by developers will be integrated into the Facebook Gift Shop alongside regular Facebook virtual gifts, marked with the developer’s logo or icon. In the case of virtual gifts, the price will usually be 10 Facebook Credits or USD $1, the same price as most virtual gifts created by Facebook. However, physical gifts – for instance, say a dozen roses – might cost up to 500 Facebook Credits, or USD $50. When users select a physical gift, they’ll be prompted to enter the delivery address in line, just like in a traditional shopping cart experience.

Facebook Payments

All signs point to this leading to a much larger eCommerce phenomenon. Facebook just may corner the market on gift giving in the not too distant future, not to mention just item buying. Facebook apps are going to start looking a lot more appealing to online retailers. Consider the portability of Facebook in products like Facebook Connect, the fan box, etc. Something tells me we’re going to see a lot of Facebook shopping.

I can see it now: "Checkout on Facebook – You’re already logged in."

A lot of web users are already spending an absurd amount of time on Facebook. The ability to shop from Facebook is going to make the time spent with the social network increase that much more. Add to the mix, Facebook’s extremely targeted brand of advertising that serves ads based on user profile information. Things are going to get really interesting on Facebook.

Facebook’s new changes went live last night for some users. It remains to be seen when they will be available to all.

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