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What does Facebook’s new like button mean?

A few days ago Facebook announced their latest platform direction, the “Open Graph”. If you remember at some point Facebook tried “Beacon” which handled privacy miserably and failed. 2 years ago Facebook Connect was announced and was supposedly a big success but is now renamed “login” and is part of the new Open Graph and social widgets initiative.

The major change that Facebook is introducing is the “like” functionality which allows users to interact with the site and to see friends’ activity without connecting to Facebook if they are currently logged-in to Facebook. This is similar to “share this” in many ways.  While this is probably going to increase engagement on the site, it is important to understand that as an e-commerce site you don’t establish relations with the user and don’t get access to the his/her data in this “like” model. Only when user connect or log- in to Facebook on your site, you get access to their data. So while the Open Graph could make e-commerce sites more social and engaging (see for example) it is recommended to drive users to login using Facebook on your site so that you can establish direct relationship with the user.

Last year we introduced our social widgets. Here is an example for our social wishlist widget:

parisWe used Facebook connect and therefore participating sites had direct relationships with the users.

This is how it looks when I “liked” a product on

leviIn this case only Facebook knows that I like the product but does not, as I have not logged-in.

We are quite happy to see Facebook actively leading this revolution. As a personalization vendor we recognized the synergies between social networks and personalization early on, and leveraged infomration from Facebook in a unique way that is optimized for e-commerce sites.  The new developments from Facebook will allow us to continue and innovate and make shopping more personal and social.

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