Facebook has been working on “social.commerce” and this has been uncovered by developer Tom Waddington – the clue? – An obscure ‘want’ button that didn’t work when he found it a couple of days ago, but apparently works now!
The proof: when he first found it the result was only an error code, but it has now transformed into a ‘clickable Want button’ which can be seen here. According to Waddington, the code, which he embedded into his blog started functioning because “The button has been updated since last week, so it’s definitely been worked on,” he said. “This shows that it’s still under active development, rather than being a ditched project.”
What could be Facebook’s intentions? The idea is to simply highlight popular products through the site’s social features and get these products to ultimately be purchased on the site. For example, similar to plug-ins like ‘Subscribe’ and ‘Like’ buttons, the ‘Want’ button could enable friends on Facebook to see what items are the most ‘wanted’ within their network. So, bottom line: Facebook would be selling us things and services; only instead of calling it e-commerce, Facebook prefers to call it ‘social.commerce’ based on what Tom Waddington found in the code.
Waddington says: “The fact the code contains references to ‘socialcommerce’ is a sign that they’re taking it seriously. In the same way music, news and videos are shared on the site, Facebook is planning to allow users to share both Wants and Purchases, from items bought within games to donations.”
With Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) under pressure to revamp its revenues, which are currently rather ad-centric, ‘social.commerce’ could be a fresh new revenue stream that would work well across all platforms, mobile or otherwise. Remember, the increasing trend of Facebook’s users to network using mobiles has raised doubts about ad revenues in the future – because ads are not viewed as very effective on mobiles. Even otherwise, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)'s returns on investments for advertisers was called into question by GM, which withdrew its Facebook campaigns on the eve of the latter’s IPO. In this scenario, social.commerce could be a much-needed shot in the arm for revenues
But when asked about the ‘Want’ button, Facebook’s bland comment was: “We’re always looking for new features for the platform. However, we have nothing new to announce.”