Some Facebook Places Pages for local businesses and locations are now showing an “Around The Web” panel listing of links to corresponding venue pages of the sites of Facebook’s Places partners: Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, and Booyah. These links could help businesses drive traffic and checkins to their other online presences.
Foursquare tells us its inclusion in Around The Web is not part of its official partnership with Facebook. Therefore the feature may simply be designed to provide useful information to Facebook users, rather than signaling a deepening of Facebook’s existing Places partnerships, or the fulfillment of terms of the original partnership announced a year ago.
Third-Party Location Service Links
Beneath the profile picture and navigation menu of some Places Pages that list a street address, such as San Francisco’s Bender’s Bar & Grill, there is a now an Around The Web panel. It displays links to any existing venue pages on other location services for the business or location represented by the Facebook Page.
If users click through their links, the third-party venue pages may show them public tips and photos, as well as if any Facebook friends have checked in there if the user has their Facebook account connected to the the site. Facebook Places Pages typically only show checkins, photos and other content from a user’s friends. The public data from these third-party sites could help users get a more accurate feel for a location, especially if they don’t have any friends who’ve checked in to the location before.
Around The Web will remind users to check in to the location on the service of their choice next time they’re nearby. The links may also help businesses attain more redemptions of deals they run to incentivize checkins on these third-party services.
Not Part of Official Partnerships
We’ve reached out to Facebook several times over the last week regarding how admins can add the Around The Web panel to their Pages, but haven’t received a response. The Pages we’ve seen with “Around The Web” have all been unclaimed Places. Our test of adding a third-party venue page to the website field of a claimed Facebook Places Page did not cause the panel to appear. Facebook may only testing the feature with a small number of certain types of Pages, but may choose to roll it out further in the future.
When Facebook launched Places last August it announced partnerships with Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and Booyah. Users of these partnered services can opt to syndicate their checkins to Facebook. The presence of partner logos and links to their sites on Facebook Pages is a bit of a surprise though, as Facebook rarely links offsite except as part of news feed stories about content contributed by third-parties.
Foursquare says its inclusion in the feature “isn’t part of a formal agreement between our companies,” but may use data from it’s Venues Project API that is designed to help share info about locations between different websites.
Facebook’s willingness to include links to other location services on Page may mean it doesn’t consider them a threat to Places. This contrasts with how it perceives Google+, considering Facebook recently forbid game developers from linking to Google’s new social network.
[Thanks to Eti Suruzon for the tip]