Facebook To Close Its Virtual Giftshop August 1st

Those goofy ninja drawings, multicolored troll things, and birthday cakes adorning your Facebook wall are about to become collector’s items. Facebook has just announced that it is closing Facebook Gifts — a feature that launched back in early 2007 as the result of a Hackathon project and went on to seed the creation of Facebook Credits (it marked the first time Facebook users could actually pay for something). You’ll still be able to purchase gifts up through August 1st, and all the gifts you’ve received will remain on your profile and Facebook Wall after that point, but you won’t be able to buy new ones.

The explanation Facebook gives for the change is a little odd — Facebook employee Jared Morgenstern writes that it will help Facebook focus on improving other products:

Closing the Gift Shop may disappoint many of the people who have given millions of gifts, but we made the decision after careful thought about where we need to focus our product development efforts. We’ll be able to focus more on improving and enhancing products and features that people use every day, such as Photos, News Feed, Inbox, games, comments, the “Like” button and the Wall.

It makes sense for Facebook to trim away products that are adding clutter to the site, but these are pure profit and it’s hard to imagine they were draining too many resources. That said, Facebook has continued to evolve the feature since it launched, with the addition of celebrity gifts and the ability to gift Lala songs last year (the Lala feature was disabled after the music company was acquired by Apple).

This also can’t be good news for RealGifts and the various eCard vendors that Facebook offered as part of its Gifts selection.

If you still need your gift-giving fix, Facebook suggests third-party applications like Birthday Cards, Hallmark, Pieces of Flair, and someecards.