What has been speculated for awhile now seems to be out in the open. Facebook is rolling out what appears to be an iTunes-esque version of the Facebook Application directory, in which users can easily find and purchase from “credits-enabled” applications. The feature was recently enabled on my Facebook profile, and after clicking an option titled, “spend credits”, appears to take you to a directory of “credits enabled” applications where you can use your Credits and purchase from applications supporting the method of payment. All users appear to be given a default of 5 Credits to start out with.
Clicking through to the applications, you are required to install them first, and then within the applications that are credits-enabled you can purchase things within the application with your credits. For example, the Social Calendar application enables you to purchase virtual “gifts” to send to your friends for various events. Purchasing the item deducts credits from your account.
Credits cost 10 Credits for $1, and can be purchased either via links in the applications, or via the drop-down at in the header navigation menu of Facebook. Becoming a “credits-enabled” application would appear to be a closed process at the moment, as Facebook has yet to make any announcements to developers yet, nor have they published any documentation on their wiki. It will certainly be interesting to see how developers embrace this when they do make it open, and what types of business models people are able to create through the new model.
Facebook, it would appear, is soon to embrace a new business model on top of their already ad-based system. I’m really excited to see how this plays out, and if we’ll see some of the big e-commerce players begin to embrace it (imagine what Amazon could do with such an integration). Here are some more screenshots: