Facebook To Eliminate Gifts, Its Online Gift-Card Shop

No gift for you.

Facebook will finally stop nudging you to buy your Facebook friends a Starbucks gift card on their birthdays.

The company is shutting down Facebook Gifts, the e-commerce service that lets users buy electronic gift cards from companies like iTunes, Starbucks and Sephora and send them to friends. Gifts will be gone on August 12. 

TechCrunch first reported the news earlier on Tuesday, and the company confirmed the move to ReadWrite.

“We’ll be using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the Web, on mobile, and directly on Facebook,” a Facebook spokeswoman told ReadWrite.

This is not the first time Facebook has cut back on its gifting options. Facebook had previously offered physical gifts as an option, later limiting its selection to digitally delivered gifts.

The Gifts shutdown comes on the heels of Facebook introducing a “buy” button, a way for businesses and advertisers to encourage people to purchase things simply from a Facebook post. That tool is currently in a limited test.

Facebook is clearly ramping up its e-commerce and payments efforts. It recently hired former PayPal president David Marcus to oversee its messaging products. 

During Facebook’s second-quarter earnings call on July 23, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said there will be “some overlap” between its Messenger application and payments. In other countries, particularly China, messaging apps often include features that allow users to send each other money.

And Facebook funnels payments from consumers to app developers in some transactions, like the purchase of digital goods. But it has struggled to link its prodigious traffic to real-world transactions.

Lead image courtesy of Petr Dosek on Flickr

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