April 26, 2011, 10:52 AM — In what might be the least surprising news scoop ever, Facebook has confirmed it is entering the burgeoning online discounts market, according to a report in the New York Times.
Groupon and Living Social? That thumping sound you hear is a 900-pound gorilla banging on your cage. TreatFeed? Dudes, it was nice almost knowin’ ya.
Facebook Deals is launching as a test in five cities (Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco), effective today. Sign up and you may start getting offers in your news feed for deals on concert tickets and other group activities. Want to join in the fun? You’ll need to buy Facebook Credits, its virtual payment system, or hand over a credit card number.
[ See also: Turning your social graph info money ]
As I write this, Facebook is offering Deals for introductory improv classes in Austin ($100 or 1000 Facebook credits, marked down from $150), Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ in Atlanta ($20 worth of vittles for $8), five pole fitness classes in Dallas ($49, a 60 percent discount), a bike tour of wine country north of San Francisco (half off at $74) and two tickets to see Glee Live in San Diego (for $78, not $132).
Click ‘Buy’ on any of these, and Facebook will email you a link to a voucher you must print and bring with you. Some of these deals expire in 24 hours, others are available for a week. And of course you can buy them no matter where you live, though you can only use them in the cities offered (duh).