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Local business getting free WiFi help from Facebook in exchange for check-ins

To help local business, Facebook has entered into a deal where they send routers to businesses. Users can then log onto the internet for free, provided they check in on Facebook. The resulting routing to the business' Facebook page is intended to help bolster likes for lesser known businesses and improve Facebook local searches.
November 4, 2012
Facebook seems to be on an advertisement binge as of late. They’ve done a lot of ad oriented things. Most recently allowing advertisers to choose what mobile devices will see their ads. Now, they’re taking their advertising to the streets by providing free WiFi routers to local businesses.

According to Inside Facebook, Facebook is sending out a bunch of routers to local businesses. The businesses themselves have to provide the internet access. In most cases, it may seem preferable to just buy a router. These are not ordinary routers, though.

To connect to the router, people have to check in on Facebook. Once that’s done, they’ll be redirected to the official Facebook page of the business. They’ll be given the opportunity to like the business there. Then they’ll be free to browse as they please. For people who don’t want to do that, they can request a pass code from the business.

The point is to help local businesses promote their Facebook pages. By making people visit the site and encouraging to like it on Facebook, it helps promote smaller business. The increased web traffic to the various pages should also help improve local searches.

Why would this be helpful to Facebook?

It is pretty much free advertisement. Local businesses get to show their customers their Facebook pages. The social media giant shows itself by making people check in. It’s kind of a win-win for everyone.

Each customer that signs on to the internet uses at least one Facebook service and views at least one page. Most patrons that connect will be viewing the Facebook page of the business, which may be more motivation for them to like it.

As Inside Facebook points out, there was article written about a year ago by Rakesh Agrawal that suggested Facebook pass out routers to businesses to improve local searches. It obviously was not that bad of an idea since Facebook happened to pick it up. Whether they saw the article or not is uncertain, but Rakesh Agrawal can definitely say that he called it.

Granted, it’s blatant advertising, but free WiFi access is free WiFi access. Is this something that will catch on, or will it just fade into obscurity? Tell us what you think on the matter.