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Thu May 17 2012 12:37:29

Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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We're still knee-deep in Facebook IPO hype, and one of the promises of Facebook is that it will be the place people look to in order to make purchasing decisions. We will tap our Facebook friends to help us decide which jeans, car, or shampoo to buy, and it might even replace Google.com as the Internet's search "dashboard"; the first place people look to find things and solve their problems. And social networking will take the experience of consulting friends "offline" about purchases and move it "online."

But does that meet up with your reality? Do you ask your Facebook or other social networking sites' friends advice on purchases? Or are you influenced by what products or services they say they use?

Personally, that has not happened for me. The first and foremost place I look to when buying something is amazon.com's user reviews. I see these as a gold mine of information before buying just about anything. And maybe I don't want my Facebook friends to know if I plan to buy a Macadamia nut oil-based shampoo. (Remember the Facebook outcry when the guy's decision to buy his wife a diamond ring was broadcast, thus ruining the surprise?).

This caution comes among other skeptical news around the IPO, such as Greenlight's Global Study revealing that 30% of people "strongly distrust" Facebook with their personal data while 44% say they would "never" click on Facebook sponsored ads. Still, 900 million and counting people can't ignored.

But, do you look to Facebook or other social networking sites to help make your purchasing decisions? Or do you use amazon.com reviews, local reviews sites like Yelp.com, AngiesList, or something else? And if so, what?




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Thu May 17 13:08:21 2012

The only reason I used Facebook is to play FarmVille or FarmTown - I forget which.

Other than that, I find it fairly boring & wouldn't even consider shopping there or asking/receiving opinions on products & services.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu May 17 14:59:11 2012

Facebook must have a reason (even if they're the ones who manufactured it) to believe young people would use Facebook to ask opinions from at least some people they don't really know for purchasing opinions.

If this is true, what does it say about an apparent lemming mentality of the young?

I'll stick with Consumer Reports but then I'm an old pre digital fuddy duddy.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Thu May 17 19:31:08 2012

I played their 'targeted ad' game and all it did was cost me money.

I also tried their yardsellr thing.  No bites.

I absolutely do not look on facebook for things to buy.  Just as I do not go to Amazon to find old high school friends.    

I do have a page for my website business, but it is more of a billboard than anything else.

Maybe I just don't 'get it'.  But FB is prettymuch useless for me as far as a business tool goes.

When I want a product review, I look at Consumerreports.org, tomshardware.com, or Amazon reviews.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: Re-Lilly This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 17 21:05:01 2012

Facebook has revolutionized shopping for me. My shopping habits have completely changed. I could care less what my friends are buying. Facebook has allowed me to find authorized retailers of brands I purchase regularly where I can buy more for less. Many Mom & Pop businesses that don't have websites or have poor websites advertise their products and promotions/sales via Facebook, things I never would have found without Facebook. Facebook is home to many flash sales. Move over Rue La La many retailers are liquidating themselves by publishing flash sales and sale lists directly on Facebook. I used to buy a ton on eBay, not anymore! I shop my site, Re-Lilly, and similar for goods I previously purchased on eBay.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Thu May 17 21:24:21 2012

I got on FB for one reason only, as a possible means for communication with my son in the military. It turned out there are better means of communication. FB is only useful for me to log onto some of the varoius military FB pages to look at photos they authorized to be posted. But even Flickr is better for that.

I am a private kinda person so I don't hang around on FB any more than I have to.

It is the least likely place I would look to buy things. Or sell things.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Thu May 17 21:31:02 2012

Being that I'm an adult, I don't need peers to influence my buying habits and I certainly wouldn't take any adult who spends time on Facebook seriously.

Facebook is a waste of time and I'm so sick of hearing about it day in and day out.

I signed up several years ago, got contacted by a bunch of people  I could care less about, closed my account a few weeks later and never went back.

Facebook may have 900 million ''registered accounts'' but I'd be willing to venture the number of ''active users'' is less than 1/3 that number. Out of that 1/3, probably another 1/2 are tweens and teens with no buying power. I also know some SEO/Affiliate marketers with hundreds of fake Facebook accounts.

Seriously, back in 2005-2006, all you ever heard was Myspace, Myspace, Myspace. Look where it went. Facebook will follow. The sooner the better.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 17 23:10:42 2012

I agree with Spartacus. I signed up a couple of years ago and was contacted by a lot of people I didn't particularly want to be contacted by. People I sort of knew and thought I liked were forever insisting I join them in playing Mafia or Farmville. The people I wanted to stay in touch with had discussions constantly peppered with obnoxious comments by people they didn't like in the fourth grade. I asked to be removed, and after 30 days I was told I had been---but who knows? They're not trustworthy.

As for going there to get shopping recommendations, huh?  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri May 18 00:12:02 2012

I agree with Spartacus, too. I signed up for FaceBook two years ago because a movie I was looking forward to was having a contest, and the contest had to be entered through FaceBook. Suddenly I was getting all these "friend" requests from people I hadn't even thought about in 30 years. Practically every day I get an e-mail that I have "notifications" pending. I've kept my account in case I need it at some point in the future, but I mostly ignore everything connected with FaceBook. I would never advertise the items I'm selling on FaceBook as that would seem like I'm begging for purchases from my "friends." If I need to know about a product I'm thinking of buying, I just Google, for example, "Acme Widget reviews" and read what comes up.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: rosecottagevintage This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 01:25:09 2012

Facebook does impact my purchasing decision since I both buy and sell on yardsellr, style.ly and dannyandkate, all sponsored (for lack of a better word) by facebook. My listed items show up on facebook. I also enjoy healthly sales. My other listings sites have somewhat tanked. I like the direction facebook is going with these sites. I also use facebook for checking on the well-being of my small elite(LOL) group of friends and relatives, but I'm careful what I post due to security issues.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri May 18 04:45:57 2012

I think Facebook will grow into a useful site for selling and reviewing and comparing etc. People trust their friends.

Those people who do not like or use Facebook will probably miss out.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Fri May 18 07:03:59 2012

@Digmen1: "Those people who do not like or use Facebook will probably miss out"

- No, if we want to ask friends or family about something we go "old school" & phone them. Or text a photo. My 75 year old mother can text like a fiend, AND she can spell & use punctuation while doing so!

As far as online reviews on a product, I always go to amazon, consumer reports, usually both. I have had good experiences with amazon's reviews steering me in the right direction.

I have looked at some pages on FB to see how their selling is set up, I just have not seen anything that I wanted to imitate in a selling format nor have I bought anything from a FB setting.

I can see how it might work for some that are really into it & on it all the time. But no one I know is on it to a great extent, not even my 20 somethings children! The people I used to work with that used it a lot had "friended" the bosses then they had to monitor what they said all the time because the bosses would bring it up! Including family issues. No freedom of speech or privacy  there! Creepy! Then clients would send friend requests - we worked under HIPAA requirements, so that ended up VERY touchy, with some of the FB users personal accounts being the subject at staff meetings. Uncomfortable for those not involved, can't imagine what it felt like for the FB folks taken to task (included bosses).
   Given the issues above, & how people can get bent out of shape in an office setting about being "unfriended", I just imagine what can go wrong with a professional selling scenario & run screaming from that format.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 08:45:18 2012

Nope, Amazon or Bonanza for me!!  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: bacpro This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri May 18 09:54:27 2012

I have used the Pay per click advertising and I should have put my money down the toilet because I got no buyers zero, nada.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 10:15:16 2012

NO! I have it to communicate with my grandchildren, they only text, never call.  And on occasion will tell my friends about something unique I have for sale. But I don't and would never shop there. It's always been a ''hyped'' site and therefore suspicious to me.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: thellama This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 10:42:23 2012

Yeah facebook is on it's way out, as it is about to become one of the most valuable companies on the planet.

facebook was one of the key players in The Arab Spring, OCW, the protests at the RNC.

A person may be able to think that facebook's add platform need work, and I think the markets already said that earlier this week, but to think that it is irrelevant or unusefull or stupid seeems either narrow minded or intelectually dishonest. Not sure if there's much difference.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri May 18 11:26:35 2012

I'm with basset. I use Amazon  when I want an honest product review. Most Amazon reviews are well written, fact based, exhibiting the pros and cons without being overly opinionated.

Unfortunately, it seems the typical Facebook enthusiast tends to be overly opinionated as evidenced by the last paragraph of thellama's comment where anyone who disagrees with his/her opinion is ''stupid'', ''narrow minded'' or ''intelectually dishonest'' (although he/she clearly can't spell intellectually correctly).

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: Brainiac jones This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 11:40:37 2012

My interest in Facebook is minimal--I'll sign in perhaps once...maybe twice a week, to catch up with folks who have contacted me; most of whom are overseas.

To actually use Facebook for shopping...well, I simply can't imagine it. I know that folks use Facebook for a business account so that they can be 'liked' and all, but seriously...who effing cares?

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 19:36:18 2012

It appears to me since FB is now IPO that a few people will get rich and quite a few people will lose money. FB is the last place I'd look for consumer opinions on products.

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Fri May 18 21:45:18 2012

Yeah.  And how many times have we all seen a promotion worded something to the effect of:

"Like our facebook page and get a free widget!"  or "free download of my ebook if you like our facebook page!"

It amounts to buying votes.  

Do Sites Like Facebook  Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?   Do Sites Like Facebook Impact Your Purchasing Decisions?

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Fri May 18 22:59:22 2012

AND - I'm sick of news outlets directing folks to their facebook page to "find out more about this story" or "like" a newscaster's page & get a free entry to win an i-gizmo. Give me a break & just give me the news & weather, you have a freakin' TV station & paid talking heads!!!

One TV personality semi-griped her facebook page comments are an entire spectrum of good to bad remarks about her hair & makeup. So relevant to the content of the news she has to deliver. Aaaargh!  

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