One month ago, Facebook (NASDAQ:
) reportedly charged as little as $1.00 to send a message to a
stranger. The company also charged $7 to
messages to all of a user's friends.
For everyday members, this seemed like a terrible rip-off.
Instead of maintaining the current Facebook setup, the company
decided to tear up the ecosystem by giving privileged users the
chance to promote their messages above those who do not pay.
On the other hand, this service could be a valuable tool to
those who have something to sell. While it may not have been
designed for massive corporations, it might prove to be a useful
feature for young artists, struggling bloggers or new comedians. It
could feasibly help anyone trying to advance their status and their
own personal brand. Users who are already connected to them on
Facebook are not likely to care if they have to pay Facebook a few
bucks to advance their careers.
Even so, when social media companies begin to charge users to
enhance elements of the site that are typically free, one has to
question if, when and where a line will be drawn.
As it turns out, that line will not be drawn at $100.
Facebook is now charging users
$100 to message Mark Zuckerberg
, the site's co-creator and CEO.
While this might present an interesting opportunity to those who
have always wanted to talk to the firm's chief executive
(regardless of the expenses involved), it opens the door to future
changes -- and future expenses -- for the social network.
Facebook could not have survived as a fee-based alternative to
MySpace. It became the world's
number-one social network
by providing a free online avenue for people to connect. It has
inspired an entire change in the way smartphones, tablets and other
gadgets are designed. Without Facebook, the tech industry would be
If the company continues to add new fees and provides a better
experience to those who pay, Facebook could end up dividing its
users. And if it does, it might become more vulnerable to new
competitors -- including Google+ (NASDAQ:
Thus far, Google has not attempted to charge users to perform
any actions on its social network. Google+ is still fairly young,
however. The company could always switch to a fee-based service
once more users are attained.
As a celebrity, Zuckerberg may be able to command the $100
message fee. Facebook could feasibly apply a similar fee to actors,
athletes and other well-known figures. Politicians could use this
as a tool to raise funds, particularly if they personally respond
to the messages they receive. Celebrities could feasibly do the
Even then, are these fees really justifiable? That depends on
what consumers get for their money. Until Facebook commits to a
pricing structure, however, it could be difficult for users to
accept the strategy that the company has decided to take.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice.
All rights reserved.
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