February 14, 2012, 3:33 PM

Facebook is back at the discount game

Facebook is running a test that enables merchants to offer consumers promotions.

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Facebook Inc., which tested a Groupon-like Deals offering last year, is back at the discount game. The social network is running a small test that enables merchants to offer free discounts to customers on their pages, a Facebook spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer.

Consumers who Like a participating retailer may see the Offer on their news feed, the first page a consumer sees when logging on to Facebook. An offer might be something like “Get an extra 15-20% off select sale and clearance items for Valentine’s Day.” In the same window highlighting the promotion is a tally of the number of shoppers who claimed the offer.

When a shopper clicks to “Get Offer” an e-mail containing a discount code that can be redeemed either in-store or online is sent to the consumer. The offer then appears on the news feeds of the consumer’s friends on the social network.

“We think this test is complementary to the other products we offer businesses and we hope to learn more about how this might work for both merchants and customers,” says the spokeswoman.

Facebook declined to comment on whether retailers will have to pay to participate in the offering. 

The offering is a marked departure from Deals, which Facebook offered to shoppers in select markets for a little more than three months. Deals offered consumers in a handful of locations limited-time deals that focused on social experiences.

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