If you use Facebook to "check in" to your favorite restaurants or shops, you can now expect to see rewards and discounts from companies looking to drum up business and lure in loyal customers.
Facebook is looking to bridge online advertising with people's offline behavior as it announced a service called "Deals." It's an extension of Places, the check-in feature the company unveiled this year. Rising with the explosive growth of smart phones, services based on people's location help them find coupons, earn quirky merit badges or simply share with friends where they are.
As part of the Deals service, the Gap plans to give away 10,000 pairs of jeans on Friday.
"Check-in at any Men's & Women's Gap using Facebook Places and you could win*. Just show any Gap employee your check-in and you could score a free pair. If you're too late don't worry, we'll let you shop with 40 percent off any regularly priced item**," according to the promotion's Facebook page.
You'll notice some asterisks in that deal. Basically, it's "a first come first served basis," and don't even think about getting jeans at GapKids, babyGap, GapBody, Gap Outlet, Gap Factory Store, The Gap Generation stores, or online.
As for the rest of the fine print, check out the event, "Gap Free Jeans Giveaway Event - this Friday!"
The Gap is just one of 23 companies in on the test version of Deals, including 24 Hour Fitness, North Face and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a small theater chain that serves food and drinks along with movies.
The number of people using such services is still small -- just 4 percent of the U.S. Internet population have ever used it and just 1 percent on any given day, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
But it's growing, and businesses ranging from small mom-and-pop stores to national chains are starting to take notice.
Starting Monday, Alamo plans to give away limited edition pint glasses to people who check in to one of its cinemas. Tim League, Alamo's founder and CEO, said Facebook is his company's "primary marketing tool," and offering check-in deals will help increase customer loyalty.