Facebook Launches Local Deals, Should Groupon Be Worried?

Paul Lilly

You might already be familiar with Facebook's Check-In Deals, a service the social networking site launched a few months back and designed to help users take advantage of special offers when checking in at a local business from a mobile device. Deals on Facebook is different. This newly launched service is more akin to what Groupon is doing, in that it serves up discounts to select establishments that you purchase online and redeem offline.

"While many Deals on Facebook offer discounts, it's more important to us that you find interesting experiences around you to do with friends," Facebook said in a blog post . "We've worked with partners and local businesses to help deliver the best social activities in your area. And once you've found a deal you like, having the deal on Facebook makes it easy to share, buy, and plan with your friends."

Initially, Deals on Facebook only applies to users living in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco, though Facebook says it hopes to expand the service to other cities in the future. So what kind of deals can you get?

If you live in Atlanta, you can buy two hours of horseback riding lessons and a guided trail ride for $25, down from $100, or order $20 worth of menu items for $8 at Hottie Hawg's Smokin' BBQ, to name just two examples.

Facebook's obvious advantage here is its huge social element, something Groupon can't replicate to the same extent that the world's largest social networking site can.

"It is not about mimicking an existing business model and force fitting it into Facebook," Facebook's director of local initiatives Emily White, told The Wall Street Journal . "The premise here is that people come to Facebook to have social experiences with one another."

You can check out Deals on Facebook here , as well as sign up to receive updates when deals become available in your area.

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