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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleciscosocial networkingsocial mediainternetFacebookstarbucks

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?