Steve Chiotakis: Facebook is about to start testing a local deals service in several markets — something very similar to Groupon. Users in Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego and a couple of other markets will soon be able to buy different deals offered on Facebook and then share those deals with their friends. It’s certainly not the first time the social network giant has entered into a rival’s Internet territory.
Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe is with us now. Good morning John.
John Moe: Hey Steve.
Chiotakis: Now I thought Facebook was for gathering friends and showing pictures of the Grand Canyon. When did they start wanting to take over the Internet?
Moe: Well it’s not that they want to take over the Internet; it’s not that they want to be omniscient. They just want to be omnipresent; they just want to be everywhere on the Internet with you. The philosophy of Facebook is everybody learns from everybody else. The business reason for that, of course, is the advertising. The more they know about you, the more accurate, the more tailored your profile can be, the more tailored the ads that they serve you can be. And advertisers will pay a lot of money if they know that they’re going to get a good chance of a return.
Chiotakis: So what are they talking about, John?
Moe: They’re showing baseball games now. The movies are starting to show up. A Groupon-like service is being tested. Over in Europe, they’re already selling products; they’ve already become e-commerce — they’re selling shoes over Facebook. They’re taking over comments sections of newspapers like the L.A. Times, who just don’t want to deal with moderation anymore. So it’s a little bit of Facebook everywhere you go, and it’s definitely a lot of kind of swerving out of their lane, swerving out of that social media lane that they’ve been in to see if they could have success where companies like Netflix and Groupon and all these other companies have already had success.
Chiotakis: Is all this stuff, John, more than Facebook can chew?
Moe: The servers can handle it. The machinery can handle it. It’s just a question of whether they can do anything so much better than what everybody else is doing that it gives people a good reason to switch. I mean, you can watch “The Dark Knight” on Facebook, but you’re more attuned to watching it on Netflix or on iTunes or some of these other things. And you know, it takes a lot to kind of get past that hurdle of, ‘I think I’ll watch a movie on Facebook.’ I think there’s a lot of psychological hurdles that they’re trying to get to, but I think that’s OK with Facebook. As long as they have their tentacles loosely all over the Internet, they don’t need to be grabbing things with those tentacles, they just need to be sensing things.
Chiotakis: Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe. John, thanks.
Moe: Bye Steve.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.