Over the past month Facebook has been testing out an upgraded version of the Facebook gift shop and as of last night the company announced the roll out of the upgraded service to all users. The new gift shop will include music gifts from Lala (as we wrote yesterday) and branded sports gifts. If AdNectar research which suggests branded gifts are 1,000 percent more effective is accurate, the sport gifts could turn into a big business.
Right now officially licensed gifts are available from the U.S. National Basketball Association and U.S. Major League Software, and “a number of major U.S. colleges ranging from Oklahoma State to Stanford University.” I would guess that the number of licensed virtual goods providers will also increase over the coming months.
This relaunch of the Facebook Gift Shop is an expanded test, however it still leaves the door open for greater expansion in the future. While users benefit from variety, they could easily become overwhelmed with too many options. For now Facebook has allowed virtual goods integration from developers on a case-by-case basis with no word on whether or not this will expand eventually.
While we had a few details about the new Facebook music gifts from Lala yesterday, more details were released last night. For 9 credits (or $0.90), users will be able to gift downloadable DRM-free MP3s, whereas for 1 credit (or $0.10), users will be able to gift songs that can be played online. Given that the songs are 9 cents less than the average iTunes song, there’s an minor incentive to receive songs through Facebook gifts rather than paying to download them from Apple.
Additionally, “Other people who are able to see the music gift will only be able to play the song in full once, after which they will be able to play a 30-second clip.” We’re excited to see the upgraded version of the gift shop and will cover the evolution of this product over the coming weeks and months.