Facebook’s Mobile Acquisition Spree Continues With Gift-Card App Karma

By David Cohen 

Facebook bought itself another gift over the weekend, acquiring mobile gift-card application Karma. Unlike other recent acquisitions by the social network, however, this is not just a talent grab, as Karma will continue operations.

Karma is an app for the iPhone and Android devices that connects with users’ Facebook accounts to collect information on friends’ birthdays, engagements, new jobs, new babies, or even just if they’ve having bad days, and then allows users to choose from several card designs and hundreds of products from leading retailers.

The app suggests gift items based on the specific occasion, or users can browse categories. Gifts can be sent without knowing the recipients’ addresses, as recipients fill in that information, as well as choosing size, color, or flavor, and whether to give to charity instead of accepting the gift.

Karma Co-Founders Lee Linden and Ben Lewis wrote in a post on the Karma blog:

We founded Karma with the goal of adding the sentiment and meaning back into gift giving. That’s what Karma is all about. That’s what the Karma team set out to achieve.

Over the past year, we’ve built a new e-commerce platform from the ground up. We’ve been honored to partner with amazing brands to create a curated catalog of products. We made those products instantly giftable in a brand new way. And we harnessed the power of Facebook’s social network to ensure that you never miss a chance to show someone you care. The phenomenal response and feedback we’ve heard from customers has more than exceeded our expectations. And we’re just getting started — today we take social gifting to the next level.

We’re thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook’s platform, we can delight users in new and meaningful ways. As we say … only good things will follow.

Simply put, together we can celebrate life’s important moments in ways we could not before. A word of heartfelt thanks to our partners, customers, and our incredible team for helping us share Karma with so many people.

Karma is the latest in a recent mini-spree of mobile acquisitions by Facebook, which has also added the seven-person development team from Lightbox, rewards startup Tagtile, social discovery app Glancee, and, most notably, photo-sharing app Instagram.

Readers: Do you think the spate of mobile acquisitions by Facebook is aimed at using the talent from those companies to address its revenue shortfall from mobile advertising?