Payvment Pulls the Plug on Facebook Commerce

Payvment announced today that is shutting down its Facebook commerce platform and handing over its customers to a competitor.

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In a letter on its website, Payvment said that it and its companion site,, will be closed as of March 1.

Over the next month, Payvment’s customers, which operate 200,000 storefronts on Facebook, will be able to transfer their accounts to Ecwid, a San Diego-based Facebook storefront provider.

Payvment’s CEO Jim Stoneham confirmed the changes in an email, but dodged questions about what happens next to the company. Technically, he said, Payvment is not going out of business.

“I can’t comment on the company our team is joining, other than to say it’s not Ecwid,” he said. “They are partnering with us to give our customers an immediate way to keep selling. We’re committed to making sure that our customers can carry on easily.”

Update: Intuit confirmed today it is acquiring at least some of Payvment’s employees. In a statement, the financial software provider said: “Intuit has acquired a team of highly skilled developers who will be of great value to the social teams at Intuit.”

In 2011, Payvment launched a mall on Facebook at which social network users could shop among thousands of retailers and add items to a shopping cart without ever leaving the site. Last August, it launched, which was a site off of Facebook that allowed people to shop for the products that were currently trending on the social Web.

Stoneham explained the move in October.

“Social product discovery and social commerce have very little in common with the considered purchase process … social commerce is better at delivering discovery-driven impulse purchases,” he said. “Products or services you weren’t necessarily looking for come to your attention in your social stream, you check them out and if you’re interested, you click buy.”

Now, without knowing Payvment’s exact fate, it’s difficult to speculate on why it is closing down shop on Facebook.

But Facebook’s increasing interest in retail must be one deterrent. Gifts is the social networking site’s retail initiative, which it introduced in September as a way to send physical and digital goods to any of your friends on Facebook, and it was pushed heavily over the holidays.

But despite a lot of effort, social commerce is still very much in its infancy — people aren’t primarily using Facebook or Twitter to make purchases, even if friends are influencing what they buy.

Payvment has raised almost $8 million in capital from Sierra Ventures and BlueRun Ventures.

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