The past couple of days have seen big tech companies shut down some side features and products. Google closed down its Slide social app business on Thursday and Apple decided to no longer offer TV show episodes for rental on its iTunes service on Friday. Now comes word via Reuters that Facebook has closed the books on Facebook Deals, which it started up just four months ago as a competitor to group discount companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said, "After testing Deals for four months, we've decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks. We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses. We've learned a lot from our test and we'll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses." Facebook's program offered group deals in just five US cities. While it is ditching its Deals business, Facebook will still keep its Check-in Deals feature for its users. That feature allows Facebook users to see if there are any special offers that are being made by local businesses.
Some people wonder if this trend in web-based group discount offers is starting to lose its popularity if Facebook wasn't able to make it work. However Vinicius Vacanti, a co-founder of the discount industry tracker web site Yipit.com, said, "I don't believe this means daily deals are not a viable business. It more suggests that large media and tech companies can't just 'turn on' daily deals and expect them to work. It has to be more thoughtfully integrated into their existing product."