Earlier this year, a new company, Loyal3, unveiled its new program that allows businesses to sell stock to its Facebook fans. The model, “Customer Stock Ownership Plan” or CSOP, really streamlines stock trading and allows people to buy stock without feeling as though they need a Ph.D. in Finance. Not only that, but it’s believed 80% of Americans don’t have access to the stock market, usually because of the intimidation factor. Many of us have no idea where to find a “trading for dummies” tutorial and even if we did, we would likely still feel as though we’re missing some important point that would eventually cost us our life savings. This fee free program is still in its infancy, but there is something very attractive about having a minimum investment of just $10. It has the potential to change the financial sector as a whole in the U.S. Facebook and Loyal3 – it’s a formidable force, to be sure. But now, Facebook is changing the way we view money yet again.
Who doesn’t love iTunes, right? Well, guess what? Facebook is making it even easier to send the gift of good tunes this holiday season. It’s added iTunes digital gift cards to its Facebook Gifts, and it is a fine day for both massive companies. It’s an amazing opportunity, especially for younger folks on Facebook, but even grandmas who are across the country and don’t know what to get the grandson. Maybe she just wants to send a “Grammy loves you” message – what better way to do that than with an iTune credit of $10, $15, $25 or $50 for purchases on Apple’s digital content site? Users can put their credits towards music downloads, tv shows and other digital content. Set the amount you want to send, input your credit card information if you haven’t already and then sit back and wait for that post that tags you as the “Best Grammy in the World”.
But this bold move isn’t the only thing going on at Facebook headquarters. In recent weeks, the social networking site has been steadily upping the ante in its Gifts service. Even Zuckerberg knows it’s the holiday season and a prime opportunity to drive up profits. You may recall in September, it was announced Facebook would now provide the ability to send friends gifts – real gifts. Not the digital coins that serve no purpose but to annoy your friends who have no concept of what Farmville is – and are perfectly content not knowing – but real swag, like Starbucks cards and GUND teddy bears. Several weeks later, Facebook added even more of the biggest names in retailers and gifts. Those include Baby Gap, chocolate companies and many more.
So what’s the long term goal? Facebook and Co wants us to turn to the networking site for all of our gift giving needs. Next thing you know, it’ll be providing marriage counseling. With so many birthdays, anniversaries and other events, the opportunities are endless. Think about it – how many days out of the year do you not post “Happy Birthday” on someone’s wall? Plus, and this is where it gets good – know those drama queens and kings who advertise their entire lives on Facebook?
Remember that girl you went to high school with who married that guy you went to high school with and over the course of the past couple of years, you’ve seen them air everything from his inability to keep his eyes off of other women to that terribly tragic post announcing their divorce? And remember how that just upped the drama even more? Imagine what happens now that they can “revenge gift” each other? I mean really, how cool is it going to be when she gets a bellyful of him again and announces their divorce, for the fourth time, via a RIP wreath to her not-yet-ex? And imagine the Facebook ‘likes’ his return gift of a Baby Gap gift certificate for the “baby you’re carrying that’s not mine”.
The way we see it, there’s going to be a lot of happy folks – from the retailers that have partnered with Facebook to the credit card companies that are racking up because two adults can’t keep their trash talk off of Facebook to those of us who thrive entirely too much on this kind of silliness. We’re going to send them special thank you gifts for their brilliance in allowing us to witness all that fantastic drama on Facebook walls everywhere! You know it’s just a matter of time.
But, for those who actually have lives and don’t live vicariously through the miserable drama on Facebook, it’s also a beautiful opportunity to send flowers to your best friend from college who just had her first baby and an Amazon gift card to your own Mom because that Kindle you gave her last year was the “best thing since peanut butter”. All kinds of magic going on!
As far as safety goes, it appears there’s a lot at play. While Facebook isn’t exactly known for its strong privacy features, the retailers and credit card companies are. Frankly, it’s an idea whose time has come. And you’re going to be reminded of that with the new features that go out that remind us of whose birthday is upcoming. You’ll now have the option of sending your friends gifts using the new Facebook feature. If you’re outside the U.S., though, you’ll have to wait since it’s only available to those inside the states.
What are your thoughts? Think this is a great idea? Are you looking forward to all the potential new drama this brings? You can own up to – we are. Share your thoughts with us – on Facebook, of course!