In its relentless quest for total world domination, Facebook today unveils its latest ploy: Deals, an unapologetic attempt to capitalize on the bargain-wielding model of Groupon and LivingSocial. Debuting in five test markets—Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco—Deals is separate from the check-in-based deals model it launched last year for Places, notes Mashable. Offers arrive via email or might pop up in user's news feed; they can then "like" the offer, share it, or just buy it. The AP notes users in the test markets will see a deals insignia at the bottom of the page; clicking on it brings up a list of currently available offers.
Users can also pay with Facebook Credits, notes the New York Times, signaling the company's first serious move beyond FarmVille and its virtual ilk. "We're building a product that is social from the ground up," a Facebook spokeswoman tells the AP. "All of these deals are things you want to do with friends, so no teeth whitening, but yes to river rafting." Facebook is leveraging existing sites, such as OpenTable and Viagogo, to help get Deals going.