From about 2008 to 2012, one way everyone thought Facebook would make a lot of money is through something called "f-commerce."
"F-commerce," was a play on e-commerce.
The vision was that small and large retailers alike would open stores on Facebook.com, and that through the magic of "social," the distribution of Facebook's News Feed, and Facebook ads these stores would become a huge success.
The dream was that these stores would become such an integral, useful part of Facebook that Facebook would rival eBay and Amazon as a place for shoppers and stores to do business.
In 2010, AdAge's Kunar Patel wrote "the 400-million-member social-networking site is starting to look more and more like a giant, global shopping mall."
Some thought Facebook would eventually take advantage of this commercial ecosystem by launching a "pay-with-Facebook" button, similar to the one-click options in iTunes and on Amazon.com.
It's looking more and more like the whole f-commerce dream was nothing but that.
In early 2012, huge retailers JC Penney, GameStop, and Nordstrom all quit selling goods on Facebook.
When some wondered if that meant F-Commerce was failing, the response from several corners was no way, check out how awesome a startup called Payvment is doing setting up retailers to sell goods on Facebook.
Then yesterday happened and news broke that Pavyment is shutting down. It sold its customer list to a rival, called Ecwid and shipped its engineers and tech to Intuit.
So, what happened?
TechCrunch's Sarah Perez and Josh Constine, who broke the news of Payvment's decline, put it best: "Payvment, despite growing to hundreds of thousands of merchants, still faced a challenge in that shopping on Facebook – sometimes casually referred to as “f-commerce” – is still in its early stages."
"Users still seem more interested in liking and commenting on items, than actually transacting on Facebook itself."
Facebook isn't a shopping mall. It's a party. And no one likes being sold to at a party.
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