12/21/2012 9:59 PM ET|
What's next for Facebook message fee?
The social media giant is trying out a $1 charge to let strangers send messages to your inbox. Where's this heading?
As is true with all things Facebook, the social network's announcement that it's testing a message fee is getting outsized attention. The usual response from commenters is something like: How dare Facebook do this to us!!
Under this test, non-friends can pay Facebook a fee to get their message sent to your Facebook inbox, rather than automatically being dumped into your "other" file. The test is limited to an unspecified but reportedly small number of individuals -- not companies -- for a fee of $1 a message or perhaps more.
Here's how a Facebook news release explained it, in part:
"Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.
"This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them."
The fee test was announced at the same time that Facebook explained new changes to its message filtering system, which seems to give users more control over who can send messages to their inbox.
Donna Tam at CNET said this test is "pointing the way to let people buy access to your inbox on the social network." (If you find a pay-to-play message in your inbox during this test, rejoice that there's currently a limit of one per week.)
What do others think about this?
Devin Coldewey at NBC News wrote that "the update inarguably allows strangers to spend money for priority access to your inbox. On a basic level, users may find this undesirable, even though they can always delete messages or mark them as spam, as before."
More to the point, a number of commenters on the Web said they think it's downright creepy that Facebook would allow strangers to get a message to you (that doesn't go into that "other" box).
Right now, this experiment seems limited in scope. But what if Facebook decides to exploit this moneymaker? They've got to find more revenue somewhere.
"You probably don't need to worry about a draconian future in which you're charged for all Facebook communications -- but it's no stretch to speculate that the company could expand the service if it proves to be useful (or profitable)," Jeff Ward-Bailey wrote for The Christian Science Monitor.
"If Facebook eventually lets legitimate businesses pay to message users, that would be very different than the test it announced today. Certainly fascinating, though. Facebook could offer high-priced messages that go directly to users and would be essentially guaranteed to be read. In that way it could leapfrog email marketing and its low open rates."
What do you think? Creepy or a sensible source of revenue?
More from MSN Money:
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
- Highest drowning risk: Kids under 5
A new federal safety report shows toddlers and minority children make up a disproportionate number of drowning victims.
- Visit a theme park on the cheap
- Why colleges should cut costs
- When your child inherits money
- Should you join the military?
- Student loans hurt the middle class
- Want to buy a house? Take a number