Would you pay for Facebook?
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has insisted that Facebook will always be free, notes Chris Matyszczyk on CNET. But with the popular social media’s IPO imminent — its shares are expected to begin trading this week — and a recent slowdown in its revenue growth, Facebook has been looking for ways to maintain and increase its profit. While boasting billions of users in the eight years of its existence, it remains to be seen if Facebook can acquire revenue in ways other than the ads that currently appear on the site, based on users’ interests and other personal data.
Facebook has indeed started to test a “pay to promote” tool in New Zealand: To give an item posted on Facebook a better chance of being seen by family, friends and others, users can pay a small fee to promote it. The highest price that users are being charged is about $2.00, notes the BBC. A Facebook spokesperson would not provide additional information about whether the test would be extended to other places or when will end.
This “pay to promote” tool resembles Facebook’s strategy of having companies not only pay to run ads on the site, but pay extra to make them “premium ads.” These are said to be seen by “more than the estimated 16 percent of fans who actually see a brand’s messaging currently.”
The rationale behind both the tests for the “pay to promote” tool and additional fees for making an ad a “premium” ad is that, by spending that little extra, a user’s important updates — a company’s ads — are more likely to be seen. But such fees could change Facebook’s relationship with its users, as Matyszczyk comments:
Currently, Facebook can switch its privacy rules and drag you along because you are aren’t a paying customer.
But once you are, mightn’t people begin to take on a different attitude? A paying customer might expect a higher level of service, of feedback — and, yes, of privacy.
Facebook’s privacy-rule change this week allows it to use your face to advertise products away from Facebook.
If Facebook is going to use your face and personal information to sell some product or other, shouldn’t you be getting something out of Facebook for the “privilege”?
Zuckerberg Planning To Celebrate Facebook IPO “His Way”
Currently, investors are being told that Facebook’s IPO price will be $34 to $38, due to high demand. This price-per-share is slightly higher than initially forecast and could make Facebook originally worth $108 billion.
Zuckerberg had garnered criticism from some on Wall Street for making the rounds to promote the IPO in his trademark hoodie, rather than suiting up in more “official” corporate attire. In yet another sign that Zuckerberg will do things as he likes, CNET reports that, rather than the initial plan of him ringing the Nasdaq bell in Times Square to herald Facebook becoming a publicly traded company, he will be spending the day with Facebook’s 3,000 employees at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park in California.
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