Facebook Gets in the Holiday Gifting Spirit

Just earlier this week we reviewed fbFund competitor Real Gifts, which combines virtual gifting with giving someone a gift in the real world. I thought that combining some of Real Gifts’ elements would be a good idea, for other apps or native Facebook apps. But this Thanksgiving, Facebook is taking advantage of the holiday’s notorious shopping reputation to earn a little revenue for itself. A number of participating retailers are sponsoring virtual gifts that Facebook users can share with each other.

The point? The items represented by virtual gifts, which will be available tonight, are supposed to get users talking about all the shopping they’ll be doing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For instance, Dell is sponsoring a festive red laptop that can be gifted to friends.

Giving a gift from one friend to another will be a sneaky way in which participating retailers can get their brands and products into users’ news feeds. Beyond this user interaction, some of the participating retailers will also be posting ads on Facebook and creating pages of which users can become fans.

While I’m excited to see the evolution of brands’ ability to find more engaging ways in which to reach out to users, I do wonder if the Thanksgiving holiday is the ideal time to launch virtual gifts. As users begin their shopping sprees this weekend, their Facebook news feeds might not be the first place they look. As the holiday season is also a good time to head to Facebook for catching up with friends, seeking out events and spreading holiday cheer, the Facebook news feed isn’t a bad place to interject some branding. In the future, I imagine that both Facebook and retailers will have even more relevant ways in which to interact with users throughout the hoiday seasons.