Payvment, the free Facebook app that allows people and companies to set up their own stores on the social network, is attracting the interest of US investors and has just secured $1.5m in investment from Blue Run Ventures and others. Blue Run helped to fund PayPal.
Although Payvment only has around 500,000 users at the moment out of Facebook’s 500 million or so it holds out the enticing prospect of converting Facebook ‘fans’ into buyers, a kind of Ebay on Facebook. Since it launched last November about 125,000 products have been put up for sale and it is about to expand the platform in the hope of attracting bigger companies and brands.
Payvment CEO Christian Taylor says: “Payvment delivers on the promise of a social network and helps sellers transform a relationship into a sale.”
The issue for Facebook, as it is for Twitter, is how to gain a return on the various ingenious e-commerce products that developers produce. Both sites are happy to let third party developers loose on such projects because it spares them the cost of developing them themselves.
But, sooner or later, they are going to want to derive revenue directly from some of them, either by revenue sharing or buying them out. The last thing they want is for a rival technology company to come along and, in effect, buy into Facebook or Twitter on the cheap.
So Payvment, which may be the most promising Facebook commercial application so far, is both an opportunity for its big brother and a risk.