On the heels of PayNearMe giving out bonus "Facebook Credits" at 7-11 convenience stores last month, starting September 5, the social networking giant is going retail again by selling Facebook Gift cards at Target stores nationwide. In denominations of $15, $25 and $50, Target's 1750 outlets will be the first to sell the cards via retail channels.
With virtual social games becoming the 21st Century's drug of choice, Facebook is hoping to make Facebook Credits synonymous with 'gaming' and 'virtual goods.' In the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks" - this new paradigm is satirized by kidd millennium, the online cartoon character known for political commentary.
The fictional accounting of Facebook in the graphic novel highlights how the social network has morphed into its own currency producing enterprise - hence the name "Facebucks." "Dumb F*cks" comes from an IM message Mark Zuckerberg (aka "Z-Man" in the graphic novel) foolishly used to describe Facebook's early followers when the network debuted in his Harvard dorm room. Now scaling past 500+ million users, Facebook could be viewed as an emerging sovereign state, only shy of India's and China's populations.
According to a USA Today report, more than 200 million people play social games on Facebook each month, and many of them are beginning to spend as much money on virtual goods associated with the games as they do on hard goods in the real world.
The cards can be used on more than 150 social games and applications, including titles from gamemakers such as Zynga (FarmVille, FrontierVille), CrowdStar (Happy Aquarium, HelloCity) and PopCap Games (Bejeweled Blitz). Facebook gift cards do not replace Zynga's existing game cards.
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch revealed today that through unofficial Facebook sources, Facebook will hit $2 billion by year-end. If that be the case, Facebook's entry into the growing gift card mark could boost those revenue figures exponentially. According to Mercator Advisory Group, the domestic prepaid gift card market is expected to reach $86.2 billion this year, compared with $80.6 billion in 2009. With Facebook Credit gift cards added to the mix, that's a lot of upside potential for "Facebucks."