Last year Facebook had to shelve plans for Beacon, the advertising platform that told your friends what you were buying. But while even Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook screwed up Beacon’s implementation, the idea behind it remains intriguing. The ability to share your purchasing history, or brand preferences — with your permission — could be a very powerful tool for marketers.
Now a slew of third-party apps are taking their own crack at the same concept. And they’re doing a pretty good job with it. Here are four that we’ve seen, and we assume there are more; if there’s one that you particularly like, let us know in comments:
- LivingSocial: This is technically not one app, but 6 (TuneSocial, ReadingSocial, ReelSocial, etc.). But the idea is simple. Each one lets you check out what kind of music, books, or movies your friends like, and lets put up your own recommendations. The company makes money from Amazon affiliate fees. LivingSocial just raised a $5 million round, which included an investment by former AOL CEO Steve Case.
- MyListo: This app lets you recommend products to your friends, notify them about deals and tell them what’s on your wishlist. It was a recipient of a fbFund grant.
- MarketLodge: This app gives you the incentive to recommend products to your friends, because if they buy a product, you get money. Great idea, but the product selection is abysmal.
- Wishlist: Basically, a personal gift registry. Like LivingSocial, it’s integrated with the Amazon affiliate program.
The idea of recommending products to your friends is a good one, and Beacon could have made it work – if it was opt-in. But Facebook apps are inherently opt-in (you have to add an app if you want it), so that solves that problem. Who’s going to turn this into a real business?
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