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28/01/2013 by
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Is Facebook Creating Lock-In With Wi-Fi Hot Spots?

Is Facebook creating a lock-in with its Wi-Fi hot spots? More stores are now offering their customers free Wi-Fi after checking in on the social network.

get free wi fi through facebooks new hotspot check program.w654 500x291 Is Facebook Creating Lock In With Wi Fi Hot Spots?

Will the blue monster introduce Facebook TV, Social Search and Social Shopping in 2013?

Or will Facebook focus on other services like Wi-Fi, to create new lock-in across its user base?

Facebook has been struggling to get mobile users to “register” their locations, as millions of people do with rival Foursquare. This new “free W-Fi” service could be the check-in boost Facebook is been longing for since the introduction of the feature. But will it work?

When Facebook users check-in on the business’ Facebook page, they can continue to surf the web, free of charge.

By offering this service to users Facebook want to create a higher engagement and retail stores would like friends and followers to be more inclined to visit the store again.

wifi 500x335 Is Facebook Creating Lock In With Wi Fi Hot Spots?

Rumors are that Facebook is working on new classified listings, which could put it in direct competition with Craigslist. The service would allow users to create ads to show up in friends news feeds.

This looks like it could be a similar service as Craigslist is offering at the moment?

We recently wrote about Nearby, Facebook’s new check-in service tapping into the SoLoMo opportunities.


My Opinion?

Facebook has been growing fast, but will now have to make more strategic moves to lock-in its audience. The more stores and coffee shops I visit, the more I see this signs in the stores: Free Wi-Fi with Facebook.

I interviewed a dozen store owners. They all stated that it is a cool and free service, which is also promoting an automated check-in at the customer’s Facebook wall. They like that.

If all consumers are aware that by checking-in to get free Wi-Fi, their check-in is automatically shown on their Facebook wall, I doubt that. So be careful what you tell your partner or boss, when being asked: “Where have you been at lunch?”

Yes, it is Facebook again that is not too clear about their rules of engagement or what will happen to your privacy.

However, the free Wi-Fi service has potential for the long run. Store owners seem to like the service and the fact that they are promoting their store on Facebook for free.

What when the 2 hours of free Wi-Fi have expired? You can unlock another free period by liking that store on Facebook. So store owners can grow their fan base with Facebook Wi-Fi.

That possibility will make more store and SME owners aware of their number of Facebook “likes”. This awareness could pull more SME advertizers through the Facebook advertising funnel; Increasing the SME advertising revenues for Facebook.

This week we also shared our opinion on Facebook’s new Graph Search. Although I am not sure if that is the true definition of Social Search?

What About You?
Do you think Facebook can create a higher engagement through this new Wi-Fi service? Do you expect to see Social TV or Social Shopping features from Facebook in the near future?

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairman at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 3 digital agencies (sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is ‘freejack’ consultant and a sought after keynote speaker.

 

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