Facebook offers 'free' Wi-Fi in exchange for check-ins

Hotels and other businesses will require users to check in at their Facebook Pages to get free Wi-Fi

A check-in page for Facebook Wi-Fi

A check-in page for Facebook Wi-Fi

More hotels, shops and other businesses will soon be offering free Wi-Fi to customers if they agree in return to "check-in" at the business from their Facebook account.

It's the result of a partnership between Facebook and Cisco Systems that's been in pilot since last year and is now being rolled out more broadly, the companies said Wednesday.

To take part, businesses must first load a piece of Facebook software onto their Cisco router. When a customer opens a Web browser they're taken to a page that asks them to "check in" using their Facebook login. In return they get access to the Wi-Fi.

Businesses can benefit because the check-ins give them more exposure on Facebook. The social network will also give them information about the people who check in, like their age, sex and location, which the businesses can use for marketing programs. Facebook says it will provide "aggregated, anonymous" data, meaning it won't be linked to individuals.

"Businesses can analyze this data to better understand their customer's preferences and deliver targeted promotions," Facebook said, "ultimately improving their advertising and marketing campaigns."

Facebook benefits, too, because it encourages businesses to set up Facebook Pages and possibly run more ads on Facebook. And it helps Facebook keep the attention of its users, who can also get free Internet access from Google at places like Starbucks.

The offer extends a pilot that saw about 1,000 Wi-Fi deployments at small and medium-sized businesses in 50 countries. The program announced Wednesday is designed to target larger companies, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Some of the world's best-known businesses are piloting the service, according to Cisco, though it didn't name many. It said the restaurant chain Bonefish Grill is testing the service at two restaurants in the U.S.

The program could also help businesses target their advertising campaigns for customers checking in on mobile devices. Mobile is an important channel because more than 50 percent of consumers use mobile phones while shopping in a store, Cisco said.

If people don't want to sign in using Facebook, they'll still be able to access the Wi-Fi by entering a code, Facebook said, though presumably it will be up to the business whether they provide them with it.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags advertisingInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleciscosocial networkingsocial mediainternetFacebookstarbucks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?