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Facebook Takes On Groupon, Foursquare With Deals

Facebook has today launched a new feature in the UK & Europe called "deals" that puts the social networking website on a collision course with Groupon, Foursquare and Google Offers.

Facebook Deals, which is part of Facebook Places, is targeted at the company's 200 million active mobile users. It will allow customers to check in on Facebook straight from their mobile and claim special offers, rewards as well as discount coupons from top brands.

Deals was originally launched in the US back in November 2010 and from day one is already offering a number of offers and discounts from a number of well known brands like Debenhams, O2 and Starbucks.

Brands that participate in the programme will not only get new customers, but they will also be able to exploit the viral effect of social networks by encouraging Facebook users to tag their own friends.

Alton Towers, for example, is offering exclusive entry for those who check in on Facebook earlier, and the first 100 people who check in get a free one night stay in one of the themed Resort hotels.

Others, like Argos, will offer up to £10,000 to the Teenage Cancer Trust for the first 10,000 customers who check-in at an Argos during the week. Customers can either use their mobile browser or the Facebook App to access Places and then click on "Check In".

A number of "nearby places" together with a list of venues offering details will be listed with the user having to check in in order to claim it. Just showing your smartphone to the phone assistant or waiter should be enough to redeem the deal.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.