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Finally, Facebook Places comes to Kenya.

I’m not sure when it happened exactly but looks like Facebook Places started working in Kenya during this past week. Facebook Places is a location-based “check-in” service similar to Foursquare. Foursquare started the Internet check-in trend a couple of years back and currently is the market leader. Facebook Places lets your friends on Facebook know where you are, what you are doing and connects you to them. In order to use the service, you need a smartphone such as an iPhone or Android that uses GPS to map your location according to the services and places near where you at the time.

I tried out Facebook Places today and already several businesses and residential locations have been added in Nairobi. There are certainly much fewer than the locations you will find nationwide on Foursquare but its clearly just a matter of time before Facebook Places could be much bigger. The reason for this is that there are over 1 million Facebook users in Kenya and whilst Foursquare is something of a niche player with a much smaller following.

Another aspect of Facebook Places which was recently launched and could make it quite popular in Kenya is that of local deals – much like the Groupon clones we have in Kenya such as Zetu and Rupu. Now, considering that Facebook has a much larger user base than Zetu or Rupu in Kenya, it could potentially become a major player in the discount deals space. However, only time will tell just how well Facebook Places fares in the coming months. Personally, I am pretty excited about it! You can read up more on Facebook Places here>

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4 Comments

  1. March 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm — Reply

    nice. well… Rupu and Zetu. where do I start… hehehe. Not looking to stir controversy BUT:

    Their deals are not particularly useful (25% off on spa treatment, 125 bob for 250 bob credit for safaricom phones, 1000 off for a one hour photo shoot… etc etc. When was the last time you sat down and thought “Hmmm… I wonder where I can get 25% off a spa treatment?”

    My take: Their deals are weird for the Kenyan market … and the reason why they have not taken off as well as they thought they would is probably because the Kenyan businesses treat this concept as a “novelty”… not as a core business operation.

    Question is, will Facebook Places change this in ANY way? I think its a more fundamental change that cannot be achieved just by a simple “hey, we are here now!!!! Use us!!!” … but again I may be wrong.

    It goes back to my earlier discussion… content versus distribution channels. Rupu and Zetu have weak deals (bad content) and probably a great distribution channel (I don;t know but let’s assume)… Facebook have an even better distribution channel, will they offer great deals on their service? Remains to be seen I guess.

    This issue of content versus distribution channel has irked me so much that I have set up an experiment… I am in phase 2. Started with starting a few groups around really popular content but with no effort on trying to sustain the discussion or content (Chekelea Mututho FaceBook Page)… it has fizzled down to a trickle… I hardly visit that Group myself!!!!

    Phase 2 is the actual building of webapps with great distribution channels via as many channels of media as possible… with exceptionally valuable and great content… let’s see if that works 🙂 Sneak preview of one such app is at http://www.ubwete.com... its still work in progress… and its certainly not Rupu, not Zetu deals and certainly nor Facebook Places!!! Will post updates once I have results 😀

  2. KK
    March 21, 2011 at 5:20 am — Reply

    Great to see Facebook Places finally here. The future is definitely looking up especially the craze we Kenyans have for FB.

    As for the Rupu & Zetu debate. Athman you right on point. Let’s take this discussion offline.

    Will look for you.

  3. kevin omondi
    March 21, 2011 at 8:19 am — Reply

    quite strange I cant seem to access it on my fb android app. How are you getting it ?

    • March 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm — Reply

      @Kevin I’m using an iPhone and running the FB App.

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