Facebook ability to make money up from its mobile services up until this point has been insubstantial. Enter Gifts. It’s a new way for Facebook users to send real gifts to each other in the mail for special occasions and it’s available on the Facebook website as well as the mobile apps. Cha-ching.
Facebook Gifts work as you might expect. In the events section of Facebook (including in the sidebar on the home page) under any friend’s special occasion you can click to give that person a gift. On the mobile apps, the “Gift” button appears on every profile where you’d normally find options for posting to the wall.
These are real, tangible products that you can send unlike those weird graphics from a few years ago that you could send to your friends for a buck. Facebook partnered with over 100 retail companies in a variety of categories. You can give your friends anything from a teddy bear to some cupcakes to a Starbucks gift card to toys to ice cream and more. A preview of the gift immediately posts to their wall and the actual gift will arrive a few days later.
All of the gifts available for giving on facebook.com can be sent from the app, too. Facebook says hundreds are being added every day. This is a major push forward for the social network to start making some decent money off of those once very sluggish apps and it’s a great idea. Gifts will start its rollout in the U.S. and then expand internationally.