Feeds

Facebook beds silent-bonking mobe coupon biz Tagtile

App-gobbling spree continues with NFC upstart

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

While the world was watching the Instagram deal, Facebook was also buying up a rather more innovative startup which hopes to provide all the profitable bits of NFC without the fluff.

Tagtile, a small startup acquired by Facebook last week for an undisclosed sum, offers coupon-based loyalty schemes based on a mobile phone application and collected (and redeemed) by tapping the phone against an in-store terminal. But unlike NFC there's no radio connection between the two, and the terminal doesn't even need an internet connection; everything is accomplished through the magic of inaudible sound.

Tagtile does require each merchant to get a special cube, and find space for it on the counter, but the cube doesn't require an internet connection and is pretty cheap as it comprises only a speaker playing a merchant-specific sound outside the range of human hearing, but easily picked up by the smartphone application (iPhone/Android) which can use the identity for loyalty apps or token redemption.

Coupons are the flavour of the month right now. Groupon and its ilk have been busy splattering the internet with vouchers for all sorts of things, but merchants are discovering that while one-time offers might get people in the door, they don't build any kind of loyalty (except to Groupon). It's that disaffection upon which Tagtile, and now Facebook, hopes to capitalise.

But they aren't alone. Interactive tokens – or loyalty schemes as we used to call them – are a business from which the mobile operators intend to make money too. After giving up on trying to take a percentage of every transaction, the operators now hope to see loyalty apps paying for NFC infrastructure – and have set up various national consortia to enable that. Those schemes don't need special whistling in-store terminals either – they'll use the NFC terminals already being deployed to handle pay-by-bonk – but they will need NFC built into handsets.

Facebook's purchase of Tagtile is clearly an attempt to make some money out of its huge mobile footprint, something the social giant desperately needs to do, but counter space in shops is premium space, and no one is bigger in mobile than the operators with whom Facebook will now be competing.

Tagtile probably wasn't expensive to a company willing to chuck a billion dollars at Instagram, but Facebook will probably have to spend a similar amount to push Tagtile terminals into shops, and that may prove a more difficult thing to achieve. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.