Facebook DrinkGifter Sends Beverages In Real Life

Sure, applications like Pass a Drink were fun when you first joined Facebook -- for a few minutes, anyway. But what if you could pass an actual drink, and not a virtual one?

Sure, applications like Pass a Drink were fun when you first joined Facebook — for a few minutes, anyway. But what if you could pass an actual drink, and not a virtual one?

Therein lies the thinking behind DrinkGifter, which takes the cyber-cocktail concept one step further by allowing users to buy their friends real drinks by depositing funds into their PayPal accounts. The Facebook app debuted in beta Monday.

Rob Valli, part of the DrinkGifter development team, said in an email that another benefit of DrinkGifter is that drink recipients can quench their thirst anywhere, rather than being limited to bars that participate in coupon programs, as has been the case with previous, similar apps.

DrinkGifter uses application-programming interfaces from both Facebook and PayPal, eliminating the need to worry about whether transactions are secure. Also, if drinks are not accepted, no money changes hands, so the process is risk-free.

Here’s more of what Valli said in a rather funny email:

In the past, if you wanted to buy your buddy a drink, you would buy them a voucher that they would have to take to an affiliated bar to redeem. The problem has been that no company has been able to secure a long enough list of bars to appeal to most people, so in the end, your friend secretly decides that getting one drink from someplace they have never heard of isn’t all that fun, and they don’t want the hassle of what ends up to be a cruel scavenger hunt, and a waste of a Saturday, just to get the drink you sent them. So they don’t use the coupon, and both the gifter and the recipient are out $10, and the only one who “won” was the company that sold the voucher. How lame.

In short, coupons suck. And contrary to what some new techie companies think, this is true even if you can show it on your phone. Coupons are inherently awkward and easy to lose, and they are typically embarrassing to use. And redeeming one using your phone just makes you look like a “geek,” not “smart” (BTW, only geeks disagree with the previous sentence). Imagine yourself at some bar, and you are with friends, because you aren’t a loser. This means you are going to have to belly up to a crowded bar and order four drinks, but now you have to scream above the noise to the bartender that you only want to pay for three of them, and you want use your coupon for the fourth one. The result, of course, is some confusion, resulting in the bartender, and your date, looking at you like you just farted in church, for complicating what could have been an infinitely quick and simple cash transaction.

Now consider the DrinkGifter scenario. You wake up on your birthday to find 100 “Happy Birthday” messages on your wall, but one of them was from your buddy using DrinkGifter. You click on the link in the wall post, add the app and your PayPal address, and instantly, $10 is transferred into your PayPal account. Now when you walk into the bar, you just use your cash to buy whatever you want. Hell, you don’t even need to buy a drink — go buy yourself some socks! it’s CASH! It’s good anywhere, for anything! Yes, it’s true, maybe it isn’t the “exact” currency your friend had in his pocket, but if this really matters to you, maybe what you need is a job, not an app. But if not, then you can always pull out your PayPal debit card and just use that if you insist on transactional fidelity. Otherwise, pipe down, pay the bartender, toast your friend, and drink your drink. Transaction complete.

Valli added that future versions of DrinkGifter will include the ability to check in to Facebook places, plus an interactive guide to bars.

Readers, would this type of application inspire you to buy more drinks?