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Facebook Kills Test of Its Deals Groupon-Clone

The company kills Deals on Facebook testing after four months; it will focus on streamlining its location-based offerings.

After a mere four months of testing, Facebook confirms that in the coming weeks, it will end Deals on Facebook, the social network's Groupon clone. This is not to be confused with location-sharing feature Places, which Facebook just revamped, or Facebook's mobile check-in deals, which will stick around for the time being.

The Deals on Facebook site was available in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco, and though it is still up and seemingly operating, the site will soon be gone, clearing the already-oversaturated playing field of daily deals sites a little.

"After testing Deals for four months, we've decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks," a Facebook company rep said in a statement to Reuters. "We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses. We've learned a lot from our test, and we'll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses."

The death of Deals on Facebook works with Facebook's current strategy of streamlining its location-based offerings. Facebook recently overhauled Places, so instead of checking into places with no rhyme or reason, the new Places contextually weaves check-ins with status updates and removes its previous mobile-only restriction.

But even as Facebook kills off one clone, it's keeping another around. The social network's Foursquare rip-off, which offers business-specific deals for check-ins, will remain intact--but for how long? Has anyone ever used a check-in deal from Facebook Places? Has anyone even seen a check-in deal yet?

The shuttering of Deals on Facebook should be a lesson: Facebook needs to stop cribbing notes from other businesses and try something original and innovative, something more in line with the company's origins.

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