Over this past weekend, many of my Facebook friends (on my personal Facebook side) started posting or copying and pasting a message about how Facebook was going to be charging a fee to use their services. When I first saw the message I thought someone was joking. Then I saw it again from someone else, then again. Here’s the message:
“FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO…IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY”
One of the first tip offs was how it was the same exact message and all in CAPS. I mean really? People still do that these days? Remember way back in American Online chat rooms when you’d get blasted for “yelling” when you typed? And what news station really reported this? I know there isn’t much fact checking these days, but don’t you think that if in fact Facebook was planning to incorporate a new fee, there would be several emails and probably a press conference for it? Now I watched the boring F8 Conference 2011, and with all the new apps coming down the pipes with Open Graph, a new user fee would have been discussed. There’s plenty of other concerns with user privacy to be up in arms about for now.
Being the largest social network on the planet, they’re already generating plenty of money from ads and data mining before they’d incorporate standard user fees. The number one goal of Facebook is to get and keep you using the site as much and as often as possible. The more traffic, the more ad viability, the more game play, and the more search.
Now I wouldn’t rule out any premium apps that may come down the pipes sooner or later though. A lot of current games will allow you to play for free, but there are “in-app purchases” you can make. I would see a slow introduction to premium apps that carry some type of subscription fee to use. For example, if you wanted to listen to XM Satellite stations while in Facebook, you can if you either already have a stand alone subscription, or you can easily create a new account within Facebook with your existing credentials and say a PayPal account or your actual credit card information. None of this is true right now, but this is an example of what could happen.
Let me know your thoughts on all of this in the comments below. Even if you were one of the users that pasted that message into your status update, I’d like to know what really compelled you to do so.