Facebook Connect + Payments = Social Commerce

Today, Dave McClure wrote a post suggesting that the unlaunched Facebook payments platform in conjunction with Facebook Connect is the future of social commerce. I agree and I’ve also suggested that with Facebook Connect, the Social Ads service could also be extended to the rest of the web. Regardless of reports to the contrary, most of us were hoping that Facebook would reveal their payments platform at f8 on Wednesday.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen and as Mike Arrington illustrates, many were flat out disappointed. As Apple continues to wow the tech community with a new product release year after year, it is much more challenging for smaller companies (like Facebook) to do so. With all the disappointment, Facebook did in fact release a new product: Facebook Connect.

Unfortunately they announced it weeks earlier. Just as virtual goods have swept through Asia over the past few years, many expect the same to happen when Facebook offers their payment platform. Additionally, we may just be looking at the future of social shopping. While Beacon was a PR disaster, the idea behind it was a really great one.

Now Facebook has a second time to release Beacon under a second name: Connect. Just as Beacon partners could publish information to a user’s feed so too can any developer with the new program. Theoretically I consider Facebook Connect and Beacon pretty much the same thing with Connect now offering greater features. It’s a great program and while Facebook may not be monetizing it the way that they originally hoped, Connect has a much better chance of spreading.

Social commerce is not going to happen overnight though as many of us wish that it would. It will take time for developers to build upon the various social platforms and it will require the ongoing education of consumers. Right now the average person doesn’t understand the power of Facebook Connect if they know about it at all. Over the coming months though I have a feeling that they will begin to understand it and soon enough they will be leveraging it to make purchases.

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