After a tough introduction to life as a public company, Facebook is determinedly looking at ways to boost revenue, particularly in the critical mobile space. Having turned on carrier billing in the UK, US and Germany, they have today put the service live in France.
This means that users can now purchase items within the HTML5 environment such as virtual gifts and game credits, and have the cost added directly to their mobile phone bill. Instead, of having to go through premium rate SMS or credit cards services, purchases can be made in just two clicks.
Ingrid Lunden on Techcrunch notes:
“Enabling carrier billing in the HTML5 environment is not only an important step to further functionality on the web, but it’s an important way for Facebook to keep developers interested in the platform.”
Specialist mobile payment company Bango are once again powering the service, and Facebook are pairing with France’s largest mobile provider Orange, who described how this new system will work:
“Payment in the Facebook HTML5 universe allows subscribers to use online services such as account topups or the purchasing of accessories in games. With internet+, users no longer need to enter personal details (phone numbers, bank details, login details, etc.) and the purchase requires just two clicks: one to choose the purchase and the other to confirm. This simple and secure system allows the automatic identification of an Orange subscriber. Customers need only to approve the purchase, which will be included in their next mobile bill. A few minutes later, users will receive a text message from Orange to notify them of their Facebook purchase.”
Such a system should provide an interesting resource for brands, as they can make online purchasing of their products much more simple, safe and unified across major European markets and the USA. Anything that makes it easier to buy a product in another significant market like France has to be good for brands that sell on Facebook, as well as Facebook itself.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is also meant to be conspiring with new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, over a search partnership between the companies. The two executives worked together at Google, with whom Yahoo currently have a 10 year deal around search that they are looking to extricate themselves from.
Mark Zuckerburg has previously commented that Facebook is “pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have,” and it seems a fairly obvious area for Facebook’s data mining to try and exploit.
Much-maligned Yahoo would also like to work with a company with Facebook’s standing, and have better access to the service’s one billion users. Unlike Facebook, they have been unable to attract the best programming talent in recent years, and pairing with the social giant could boost their standing with programmers, as well as users, significantly.