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Old 06-04-2009
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Default Watch out, eBay - Facebook Eyes Ecommerce

It looks like Facebook, the social networking site made popular by college students, may consider itself an ideal platform for ecommerce. Facebook rolled out new payment terms and is testing a payment service with some third-party developers.

Facebook is free and said it has no plans to change that. Facebook Lead Counsel for Product Joe Sullivan wrote on the company's blog that it drafted new terms in order to simplify all of the company's payments-related terms by bringing them together in one place and to give it the flexibility to try new features.

Currently, payments are available for all users in two ways on the site. One is through the Facebook Gift Shop, where you can purchase credits to buy gifts for your friends. The second is to purchase advertising through the online Facebook Ads system. You also may see credits appear in other ways on the site.

However, the terms go beyond payments made to Facebook and include sections one would expect from a marketplace such as eBay:

If you enter into a transaction with a third party and have a dispute over the goods or services you purchased we have no liability for such goods or services. Our only involvement with regard to such transaction is as a payment agent.

We may intervene in disputes between users concerning payments but have no obligation to do so.

In an interview in InsideFacebook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he thought payments has the potential to be really important, and said he was optimistic, but provided no details.

Facebook already hosts third-party transactions through Faceook Marketplace powered by Oodle, which launched in March. Oodle CEO Craig Donato talked about the advantages of "social classifieds" in a blog post on Thursday.

See Facebook's blog posts about the payment terms here and here.

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