Oct. 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM ET
Pinterest is awesome when it comes to clipping pictures of dreamy stuff and then using it as inspiration — but if you want to actually buy the cool junk you see there, it gets a little complicated. Not so with Facebook Collections — a new shopping tool the world’s largest social network rolled out Monday to an undisclosed number of its 1 billion Facebook users.
“Collections is a new type of Page post that is eligible appear in news feed,” a Facebook spokesperson told NBCNews.com “For this test, people will be able to engage with these Collections by 'liking,' 'collecting' or 'wanting' the products. We are testing these three actions, and we are creating three distinct groups of users to test each action.”
This should work out a whole lot better than Facebook’s most notorious attempt to make the social network/e-commerce crossover, the Beacon Debacle of 2007. That’s when Facebook’s targeted ad system posted your online purchases on your public profile, pretty much ruining Christmas for everyone. (A class-action suit ensued.)
You’ll probably dig it, too — you know how you love pictures of stuff, as the popularity of Pinterest proves. And what with us being a capitalist society and all, it's pretty much your patriotic duty to buy stuff, too.
Seven retailers are participating in the limited rollout: Pottery Barn, Wayfair.com, Victoria's Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics,and Fab.com. Big, beautiful, catalog-quality photos featured on these “special pages,” invite you to click and add a comment as to why you like, want or are collecting the object pictured. Then, if you’re feeling spendy, click the BUY link and you’ll be taken to the retailer’s website where you throw down your money.
Everything you're liking, wanting or collecting then shows up on your Timeline for future reference, and "for your friends to see," according to Facebook. This new feature will adhere to your existing privacy settings however, so you can still opt out of who sees what.
Concerned that Facebook's getting its e-commerce in your baby-picture sharing? Suck it up Bub, like you do all the other changes you claim to hate. Now that it's a public company, Facebook needs to keep itself more attractive to businesses — those Facebook participants who actually pay money to the social network.
Not that anyone’s calling you a freeloader or anything. You are more than welcome to offer up your hard-earned cash. Facebook’s new “promoted posts” option invites you to make your individual status posts visible to more of your Facebook friends (at about $7 a pop). Facebook introduced that new option last week. And if you thought it was a hoax — like a whole lot of other Facebook users — well, it's not.
Your regular Facebook use remains free — contrary to a real, and oft-repeated hoax you and/or your Facebook friends spread last week, about Facebook’s alleged price grid. That one is a hoax. So stop spreading it.