Facebook launches Places Deals in Europe – But the media keeps confusing it with Groupon

There is something amiss in the European media and I fear it’s going to start confusing the hell out of people. At the press conference for the launch of Facebook Places Deals in Europe, several questions from the amassed press corp indicated that one or two either thought the Deals offers were the same as Groupon flash offers, or that they would turn into Groupon style offers.

Now, I really don’t think my esteemed colleagues in the media are wilfully making this mistake. But in the excitement of a new launch, and the repeated denials of Facebook people like Joanna Shields (head of Europe) that this was Groupon-u-like, it feels like this is a great angle to go with. The trouble is – it’s wrong. If anything Facebook Deals will almost certainly kill off the ability of Foursquare to scale in Europe now – not Groupon. Facebook has boots on the ground in Europe. It has a ridiculously powerful team in Shields and partnerships chief Christian Hernandez, and they are doing deals with major partners like Starbucks like there is no tomorrow.

Foursquare’s ability to do check-in offers is now in real trouble in Europe, despite a wave of excellent schmoozing by co-founder Dennis Crowley at last week’s DLD conference in Munich. However, it may well be a boon to long-time players in Europe like Qype and to a lesser extent Yelp (which is smaller here), which will now be in a position to ride the wave of mainstream adoption.