Picture a full-screen Facebook news feed filled with all the beautifully designed items that all your aesthetically inclined friends have purchased. Now clean up the user interface so there’s no spammy news ticker. Got it?
Then you have arrived at Fab.com, the Web’s fastest growing flash sales site specializing in design. Today it launched an irresistible (and I do not use this word lightly) new feature it likes to call Live Feed, which uncreepily surfaces what other Fab.com members are buying, liking, tweeting and sharing across the Web. Unlike Facebook’s opt-out privacy features, Fab.com made the live feed on this new feature completely opt-in. You can choose to reveal your username whenever you purchase something, or not. If you don’t want other Fab.com members to see what you’ve purchased, you’ll just be known anonymously as “A Fab User.”
Not long ago, I wrote about the epic fails of Facebook commerce (f-commerce). Facebook is not a mall, and f-commerce is not the future. To be fair, Facebook’s one shot at f-commerce may come with the recent Facebook-EBay integration.
Facebook is still a site where people go to socialize, to enjoy photos and videos of babies and children and events, to share links they like and to, of course, stalk their ex’s. A Pew Research Study revealed that 67% of online adults use social media to stay in touch with friends.
Fab.com has 1.4 million members to date. CEO Jason Goldberg, a serial entrepreneur who, in a previous life, worked for Bill Clinton in the White House, writes that Fab.com is “going to take social shopping to the extreme.” With a site that’s both beautiful and non-invasive, this might actually be the truth.
The site originally launched in April 2010 as a social networking site specifically for gay men. CEO Jason Goldberg called it a “cross between Facebook and Yelp”, a site for gay men to discuss cites their travels. One year and 400,000 users later, Fabulis.com transitioned into the design-focused flash sale site Fab.com. It raised an additional $40 million in funding earlier this month.
“Online shopping is continuing to evolve, and we believe we are in the beginning stages of e-commerce 2.0,” Goldberg tells us. “Moving forward, we think online shopping will be more about discovery than search, and at Fab.com we are developing a very unique and innovative browsing experience that is more akin to someone walking down 5th Avenue browsing items in the store windows, and being inspired and wanting to find out more about certain items.”