The service has been around for two years. It was launched in September 2012 after Facebook purchased the Karma gift-giving app, but the giving gift idea never caught on with users. It originally offered actual gifts such as cupcakes, but shut that part of the operation down a year ago when it noted 80% of the purchases from the service were gift cards.
While Facebook Gifts will be history, that doesn’t mean the company is exiting e-commerce. In fact, the company sees e-commerce as a vital component in their revenue strategy going forward. They are simply refocusing the strategy to other areas where they hope to entice those on the site to make purchases.
A good example of that was the recent test of the Buy Button, which allows users to make one-click purchases in their News Feed without ever having to leave the website. The company is betting that users will be more willing to buy merchandise for themselves if they are able to do so easily than they were giving gift cards to people they hadn’t been in contact with for years except through Facebook.
For those who were given an online gift card from a friend which hasn’t yet been used, there’s no need to panic. The cards will continue to be valid and redeemable after the August 12 shutdown. There may, however, be a merchant expiration date with the gift card, so check to make sure you spend the gift card before that date comes around.