CBS News reports that Facebook is testing a special message system that would permit Facebook users to send CEO Mark Zukerberg a direct message- the same messaging abilities that members of Zukerberg’s friend’s list currently have. The fee for this special privilege?- $100 per message, the largest message- related fee that Facebook has tested thus far.
Paying a $100 fee to speak directly with Mark Zukerberg might seem like a hefty price, but there are undoubtedly those who would cough up the cash to be able to converse directly with the Facebook founder. Imagine logging into your Facebook account, sending a message to Zukerberg, and then receiving a reply message, just like you had friended each other? Of course, the problem is that, if such a service grew in popularity, Zukerberg would have employees send replies on his behalf. So, the personalized nature of this proposal may ultimately fail.
This latest fee test is not the first time Facebook has considered charging members to send messages. Just a short time ago, Facebook started to test a $1 fee that would allow members to send messages directly to someone not on their immediate friend’s list, bypassing the “other” folder and showing up where the recipient was more likely to see it. This move worried many Facebook users because they feared it was the first step toward charging all members a periodic user fee.
A $100 charge to message Mark Zukerberg might be a bit pricey, but it is very possible that a fee system may be put in place that lets members send direct messages to any high- profile, non- friend member. Zukerberg is serving as the guinea pig for now, but a service like this would certainly extend to other members, likely with a varying fee schedule based on the member’s popularity and the willingness of members to pay the fee.
Charging service fees isn’t going over well with the Facebook populace, but it is a business maneuver that should be expected. As a public company, Facebook has to look for ways to grow revenue, improve profits, and maximize shareholder value. Whether or not the $100 private message fee becomes reality is beside the point. Facebook has to find new ways to make money and a fee based system, however small or large, is certain to make its way to the Facebook business model sooner rather than later.
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