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Facebook Deals dumped

Back to Groupon for tightwad suckers

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After its four-month test, Facebook has decided that whatever form its entry into the “local deals” market takes, it won’t look like Facebook Deals, which will be shuttered in the coming weeks.

Deals sites, in which businesses tip money into the pockets of middlemen so they can offer notional discounts for Brazilian waxes, are the engine-room of the current dotcom bubble. Facebook’s market test took place in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco.

Facebook Deals was touted as a competitor to Groupon and LivingSocial, and as well as flogging offers secured by its own sales team, it added an extra layer of middleman into the deals business by on-selling offers set up by companies like ReachLocal, Gilt City and Zozi.

Putting a brave face on the flop, Facebook told Reuters it will “continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses”. It is sticking with Facebook Ads, Pages and Sponsored Stories, as well as its Check-in Deals product.

August has been volte-face month for Facebook, which a few days ago also gave up on its Places product, a move that apparently caught its sales teams by surprise, since in Australia, the decision came shortly after major shopping centre operator Westfield said it would try marketing through Places. ®

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