Facebook’s first post-IPO acqusition was the social gifting app, Karma, and the social network insisted that the app was not to be picked apart as an acqui-hire of its founders and team. True to its word, TheNextWeb reports that the social gifting app’s technology will be integrated into Facebook’s own social gifting platform set to be launched soon.
Karma is an iOS and Android app that works by offering platform for users to purchase in-app gifts curated by Karma staff. The company gift wraps the ordered products and ships them to the recipient.
The indication that Facebook was making a move first appeared through a job listing that InsideFacebook had noticed for a “merchant operations analyst.” The job posting initially published to Facebook’s Careers site and LinkedIn both have been taken down. ““We are looking for an individual with strong communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills to help us launch our Facebook Gifts product,” the post stated.
It’s also expected that Facebook will be rolling the site into Facebook Gifts altogether and shutting down the main hub altogether.
According to TheNextWeb’s insider, Facebook’s social gifting platform will be launched in the U.S. within a few weeks times. The acquisition and launch is of course motivated by Facebook’s struggle to improve its mobile monetization strategy. According to our earlier report on eMarketer’s United States net mobile advertising revenues, Facebook was projected to make just $72.7 million in advertising revenue in 2012 and lags behind competitors including Pandora, Twitter, Google Apple and Millennial Media. Come 2013, Facebook’s mobile mobile revenue is projected to skyrocket and earn $387 million, following behind Google.
We reached out to Facebook, but the spokesperson declined to provide any comment on the matter. So for now, TheNextWeb’s reports are left up to speculation and educated guesses.
Facebook conceded its foray into social gifting after the company built out the unsuccessful Facebook Gift Shop, which exclusively offered virtual goods like “Happy Birthday” virtual cards purchased using Facebook credits. Facebook even at one point was testing out a feature for third-party developers to integrate their own virtual and even physical gifts that users could purchase within the Gift Shop. Then social gifting was a feature that was scrubbed and taken over by third-party developers that integrated their technology into Facebook as a Facebook App.
With this in mind, existing developers in the social gifting space like Give.it and Wrapp may have something to worry about with the launch of Facebook’s own social gifting app. And what we would like to learn is whether gifts will include physical goods, virtual items, or a combination of both. By looking at the job listing we can expect at the least that products will purchased by Facebook and be housed by the company in a manner similar to the inner workings of Karma.
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