Today, D.C. based LivingSocial announced the acquisition of BuyYourFriendADrink.com, an automated sampling solution for the beer, wine, and spirits industry. The site was one of the first sites for letting you purchase drinks for your friends that can then be redeemed at bars and restaurants around the country. According to the company’s website, over 20,000 drinks have been served so far.
The way BuyYourFriendADrink.com (BYFAD) works is extremely simple. Users log in to the site, pick a friend they’d like to purchase drink for, and then send it to them. This is a perfect fit for LivingSocial which is tightly integrated into the social graph and could soon become the largest application on Facebook (it’s currently the 3rd largest in terms of monthly active users).
While there are tons of “send your friends a drink” applications on Facebook, none of the existing ones actually result in a physical drink (as far as I know). Integrated into LivingSocial’s existing applications, such as “Restaurants”, I could see this taking off pretty quickly. As founder Steven Cohn states, “Brand advertisers can now reach users who have indicated that they like a specific product, brand or category, and drive sampling in a completely trackable and viral manner.”
This is a great monetization model and soon enough you may see drinks that your friends have been bought show up in your news feed. BYFAD already incorporates into bars’ point of sale (POS) systems, which enables the company to track how much was consumed. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into automated status updates which state “John just had four glasses of wine at O’Neill’s Pub … he must be pretty drunk now!”
This is a logical expansion of LivingSocial. I’m excited to see where this leads in the near future.