2012 must have been a year of two halves for the man behind Facebook. Firstly there was the great excitement of Facebook hitting the stock exchange. After weeks of hype the company floated. Millionaires were made over night. Zuck was riding do high on the crest of his success that he decided to time was right to finally wed his long-term gal. But then the numbers faultered. They dipped. And then they plummeted. Everyone started talking about how Facebook might actually be a big economic black-hole…
Facebook needs to make money
It seems ever since then the Facebook has been trying to monetise more and more of its services. Advertising rates jumped, they introduced Promoted Posts – and not just for brands, individuals could choose to fork out their cold hard cash to make sure their post appeared in more Timelines… And now Facebook are testing “extreme prices” for the delivery of private messages.
Facebook private messaging
In case you’ve never noticed Facebook filters the private messages you recieve into two inboxes – messages from friends land in your Inbox and you get a notification, messages from people outside of your networks, or from pages land in the “Other” box. There you get no notification, it simply sits there waiting to be discovered. And seeing as very few people check it, it could be waiting a very long time…
But what if you could fork out some cash, which elevated your message from the “Other” folder, into the welcoming arms of the Inbox… $100 for instance may be enough to land your message in Zuck’s inbox.
Facebook is trialing what it calls “extreme” payment so that people who really want to use Facebook to contact people outside of their network have the opportunity to – and the high price point is designed to deter spammers.
Spam messages in your Facebook Inbox
Facebook is proudly talking about the role monetisation could have in reducing spam, with the VIP Facebook users (who have been selected to be part of the trial due to thier high follower numbers) recieiving only one paid for message per week. But I disagree with Facebook’s spin – any unsolicited contact is spam, even if it gas a high price tag attached. In fact what Facebook is doing isn’t reducing spam (which will still be rife, and will continue to land in you Other folder), it’s simply allowing cold messages to land in inboxes if the sender pays for them.
If a company is looking to reach out to key influencers $100 might not seem too steep when you consider the potential returns – that is assuming that anyone ever is influenced by cold-calling.
I simply do not see this big benefit to users that Facebook seems to be trumpetting about. Once again Facebook is looking for a way to make money, but is packaging it in such a way that it is seen to be designed to be for the benefit of the average user… I think Facebook may be being a little naive if it thinks users will swollow that one with their weekly spam.