In the last 15 days, Facebook has made three major announcements. The first was the Facebook Graph Search, a way to search profiles en masse. The second was the results of the fourth quarter of 2012; Facebook did well, much to the shock of many Wall Street watchers. And the third, just announced today, Facebook has come out with its own reusable gift card.
Facebook will soon allow users to send “friends” a gift card to places such as Sephora, Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, and Target. According to Facebook, these gift cards are not just reusable but they can carry multiple gift amounts.
“Your card can hold multiple gift balances, and each balance is dedicated to the retailer associated with the gift. For example, you might have gift balances of $100 at Sephora, $75 at Target, $50 at Olive Garden, and $8.25 at Jamba Juice.”
The gift card will automatically reload when another friend buys the cardholder a gift amount.
The release comes the day after Facebook reported its earnings for the 2012 fourth quarter. The social network reported a higher profit than expected. In the fourth quarter, Facebook revenue grew by 40 percent, raking in $1.59 billion. Wall Street had expected $1.53 billion in revenue.
However, despite the good outcomes, the company’s high expenses appear to have pushed away some investors. Marketwatch.com reported that Facebook shares lost 6 percent today, resulting in $29.27 per share.
At yesterday’s report, Facebook also announced ways to increase revenue. Among suggestions such as cutting costs and higher mobile ads, Facebook publicized its plans to polish the Gifts products. According to the report, the Gifts product makes almost no revenue. CNET reports that Gifts was placed into the “other revenue” category. That category made an unimpressive $5 million in the fourth quarter.
"This past quarter, payments and other revenue also included around $5 million from sources outside of games primarily user promoter posts and to a lesser extent from our new Gifts product," CFO David Ebersman said, according the CNET.
The Facebook Gift Card has only been announced for a few hours and already the critics have begun to review it.
“It takes the saddest and lamest gift possible and makes it worse,” wrote Gizmodo blogger Mario Aguilar. “There is a potential upside, though. Assuming everybody in the world starts using Facebook for their lazy, last-minute gifting, all of your balances will be tied to your Facebook account and a single reusable card.”
CNBC’s Julia Boorstin wrote, “We'll see if Facebook can establish itself as a go-to-player in online retail—the more people who hand over their credit card numbers, the more likely they'll spend money on Facebook down the line.”
Only time will tell if the Facebook Card will work its way into people’s hearts (and wallets). For now, the Facebook Card is only available in the US and on a rolling-out basis.