Bling Nation, which makes the mobile commerce stickers so beloved by Facebook, has integrated itself with Facebook preferences, which are now now available by tapping a phone on the counter.
This is assuming that phone is equipped with a Bling Nation sticker, naturally. Such stickers are normally used for the company's pre-paid proximity-payment system, but NFC World reports that from next month the sticker can be used to register Facebook likes, as well as checking into Foursquare locations, simply by waving the sticker (and/or phone) near an on-counter reader.
The platform is called FanConnect, and will be launched in San Francisco next month, but it was announced at the PayPal X development conference, where one of Bling's CEOs explained why companies would want to get their customers tagging:
FanConnect allows brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of the growing number of consumers using social networks to shop by engaging their best customers and turning them into fans at checkout.
Apparently customers shouldn't be worried about their privacy as "no personal information is stored on the tag"... which is like saying it doesn't matter if Google tracks your searches 'cos no data is stored in your browser - clearly meaningless.
Bling Nation uses stickers based on N-Mark* technology, so the tag is powered through induction from the reader - significantly limiting the range at which tags can be read. The tag only contains a membership number anyway, more like a credit card number than an electronic wallet, so theft and fraud are dealt with in a similar way.
Facebook is a big fan of Bling Nation, having already issued local staff with stickers to try out the service, and sees radio tags as a useful way to expanded its influence from the virtual world into the real one.
* N-Mark is the official name what we used to call Near Field Communications, as the latter term is now apparently too generic. ®