Facebook’s Want Button is Fab

Earlier today Mashable picked up on this blog post exposing an experimental Facebook “Want” button in their SDK. This isn’t confirmation that it’s coming anytime soon, just that Facebook is experimenting with the idea internally.

However “product,” as mentioned on Waddington’s blog, does exist in the graph, which means it’s being tested. Compare the results from these two links:

As of this writing, ‘product’ doesn’t return an error.

Oh, and we also found kind of a big tell: Fab.com has the metadata in place that would help Facebook test this.

Yep. Our guess is that if there is an announcement, Fab will be part of it. The metadata is already in place on their product pages, and it appears they’re using a developer version of the graph. (We didn’t see any additional namespace that indicated this was part of their style graph initiative.)

While this isn’t irrefutable proof, the link between the two is pretty strong. But it isn’t shocking. Fab gets social shopping and is willing to experiment. Being a gated community, it’s a great place to test new features.

Implications

So what impact could a “Want” button have? Well, we can’t be sure. But this opens up a whole slew of possibilities and questions: Will Facebook become an eCommerce driver? Will “f-commerce” finally drive purchase at scale without expensive app builds? What does it mean for sites that have registries and wishlists? (We’re looking your way, Amazon.) And, the question du jour: can you tie social engagement and awareness to ROI?

But a few things are clear. Retailers that to date have not recognized the importance of social retailing will need to make open graph integration and the new “Want” button part of their ecommerce operations; if the success stories of the Fabs and Svpplys of the world haven’t been enough to create social shopping features, the isolation etailers will feel without the “Want” button will be.

Also, the “Want button can put a ton of pressure on the still nascent Pinterest. Given a choice between “Wanting” something on Facebook and “Pinning” something to your under-trafficked pinboard, we think people will go with the Want. But that depends largely on Facebook’s handling of how wants aggregate. A key joy of Pinterest is the highly visual interface that allows a user to browse tons of products (and stuff) quickly. By Contrast, Facebook’s actions – like “Likes” – have traditionally been fleeting – once a like hits news feeds, it is more or less gone (or appears to be). To effectively take on Pinterest as a retail driver, the Facebook will need to develop an aggregation interface akin to Pinterst’s pinboards.

Either way, we’re interested to see where this new feature can take Facebook.

Ken Kraemer contributed to this post.

UPDATED 07.01.2012