The buzz if yesterday was definitely the Facebook announcement to launch local deals as a part of their places platform. Using their mobile app to launch the service will surely be a first step in bridging the gap between online and offline commerce.
At first glance the success of local deals is not obvious. People use Facebook to socialize, make & read status updates & play games. What would incentivize people to use an app like local deals? Other initiatives announced by Facebook have failed, such as Facebook real time search so why should this Groupon clone succeed?
This initiative is different, though. With about 200 million mobile app users, Facebook surely have a critical mass of users to support their initiative. If Facebook users can be served deals in an app that they use frequently I believe they will use it. On top of that Facebook has most of the worlds major merchants as clients all ready, so the supply of deals will be no problem. Furthermore, they have the ability to couple geo targeting with the social graph and serve highly relevant local deals.
I vote for success and see tougher times ahead for players like Groupon & Foursquare which has not the global reach of Facebook . What do you think? Success or failure?