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Facebook Businesses Communications Social Networks The Almighty Buck

Facebook Test Will Let You Message Strangers For $1 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the here's-a-dollar-poke-someone-who-cares dept.
Spy Handler writes "According to PC Mag, 'Facebook is testing a feature that will let select users pay $1 to send messages to people with whom they have no connection on the social network. The $1 fee will open a thread with a non-Facebook friend. If that person replies to your note, you won't have to pay again to respond to them.' Facebook explained the test thus: '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.'"
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Facebook Test Will Let You Message Strangers For $1

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  • Seems to me that I should be able to let anybody contact me and I can opt in to people being charged a dollar to contact me. I don't want to make long lost friends pay to send me a message but I can see how some people might appreciate this. Also, Facebook isn't doing anything worth $1 to get this money and it's an (in)convenience fee so this money should go to a charity or something, right?

    How does Facebook deserve this money?
    • by HarrySquatter (1698416) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:41PM (#42360667)

      How does Facebook deserve this money?

      Because they say so?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        um maybe because it's their network that they created, and they can do whatever they want with it? If you don't like it, don't use it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How does Facebook deserve this money?

        Because they say so?

        Duh, it is because they offer a simple, efficient, inexpensive way to exchange information with anybody in the world in a safe environment. And... umm... oh... At least it is simple!

      • So what if people seem to want to message me and are willing to pay for it. At least Apple lets me keep a small percentage of the money they make on giving someone a copy of a song I have for sale on iTunes. Facebook wants 100% of the profits for themselves? I don't see this business model work if they aren't paying most of the money to the people receiving the messages.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They don't. Facebook are greedy cunts.

    • by blueg3 (192743) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:43PM (#42360705)

      I don't want to make long lost friends pay to send me a message

      They can send you a friend request at no charge.

      Seems to me that I should be able to let anybody contact me

      I believe that's called making your e-mail address public.

      How does Facebook deserve this money?

      They're managing to convince people to pay it. Naturally!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seems to me that I should be able to let anybody contact me

        I believe that's called making your e-mail address public.

        In fact, part of this change is that Facebook will no longer let you share your contact info with only people who already know someone you've friended. More and more Facebook is dropping the "social" and becoming just another personal web page host site. Welcome back Geocities!

      • by makomk (752139)

        They can send you a friend request at no charge.

        Of course, they can't actually explain where they met you and why they want to be friends anymore without paying Facebook money to allow you to message them. Facebook removed messages from friends requests.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:44PM (#42360715)

      They "deserve" it because it is their service and someone is willing to pay.

      Seriously, though the word "deserve" doesn't belong in financial discussions where there are willing parties on both ends. I make four times as much as a social worker. Do I "deserve" more than my overworked sister-in-law who works with troubled youth? No. But I do. The fact is that my skill set is valued by the market more than hers. Sad fact of life. Tiger Woods makes eleventy-billion times what I do. For hitting a damn white ball with a stick. does he 'deserve' more than me? Nope. Sad fact of life.

      If some idiot is willing to pay $1 to Facebook, then Facebook deserves that $1 and the guy paying it deserves to be $1 poorer.

      -- MyLongNickName

      • by jkrise (535370)

        They "deserve" it because it is their service and someone is willing to pay.

        So if someone sends a helpful message to strangers offering to lengthen their pelvic protrusions, or induce mammary hyperplasia, Facebook gets laid... er paid? Very sound business strategy, I should say.

      • if facebook is making $1 off of my inconvenience, facebook should pay me at least .50c of that money. They're basically sanctioning spam as long as the charge rates are high.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Saying "deserve" doesn't belong in business discussions is the greedy coward's way out of having morals and ethics.

      • by timeOday (582209)

        Seriously, though the word "deserve" doesn't belong in financial discussions where there are willing parties on both ends.

        This is a falsehood. What somebody is willing to do depends mainly on their situation. Sometimes the situation itself can and should be changed.

      • by mcguiver (898268)
        It isn't even so much as they deserve anything. They are offering a service that lets you message people you are not friends with. Now, they could offer that service for free, but that would allow for all kinds of abuse and would result in their service being flooded with spam. The idea is to set a price point high enough that makes the ROI too low for spammers, yet keep the price low enough that people are still willing to use the service. Since it is their service and they have to impose a fine on val
      • "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

        - Syrus, Publilius

      • by bondsbw (888959)

        There are many situations that two parties may agree upon, to the detriment of others or society.

        I believe in fiscal conservatism, but keep this point in mind. The willingness of two parties to submit to a contract is not a free check to do whatever they want.

        (That's a general thought. In this case, the only "detriment" is to a person taking advantage of a free service, a person who is free to stop using the service. So I agree with you.)

    • duh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oGMo (379)

      How does Facebook deserve this money?

      As much as I am not a fan of Facebook (or on it at all), they run the hardware and wrote the software. You were the one willing to sign up to be their product and agree to their contract. Any right you had to complain already got clicked away.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How is providing a service that costs billions of dollars in infra structure not doing anything?

      • by clarkn0va (807617)

        a service that costs billions of dollars in infra structure

        [citation needed]

        This isn't health care we're talking about.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:56PM (#42360899)

      They do not, of course. It's all about the money. If they truly wanted to punish spammers, it would be a system more like this:

      1. You pay $1 to send message to someone with no connection on your social network.

      2. If that someone acknowledges that the message as legit (sender may be a long lost friend, or maybe a polite non-spam email), then you get $1 refunded, so it would not have cost you anything. Essentially, you go out on a limb with $1 to reach that person and let that person judge if you had bothered/spammed them.

      3. If the recipient does not do anything, or even marks the message as spam, then the sender would lose that $1, and the $1 goes to the recipient, as he is being compensated for having to deal with spammers.

      • by calzones (890942)

        EXACTLY

      • 2. If that someone acknowledges that the message as legit (sender may be a long lost friend, or maybe a polite non-spam email), then you get $1 refunded, so it would not have cost you anything.

        Facebook? Returning money to users???


        Thanks for the hearty chuckle!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387)

      How does Facebook deserve this money?

      Because for some reason, they are the only ones who've been able to build up a lasting social network. They certainly weren't the only ones to try, or even the first ones, but somehow they succeeded in a field full of competition.

    • by Thomas Miconi (85282) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:06PM (#42361019)

      How does Facebook deserve this money?

      If you stay on Facebook, you implicitly acknowledge that they do, because you still judge the overall value of their service to be positive despite this added "inconvenience".

    • by eggstasy (458692)

      People can reply to your public wall posts, see contacts on your profile that you make public, the whole thing is a bit stupid really. Then again, Facebook is not known for its sound logic.

    • by uncanny (954868)
      I dont know about it being opt in, but you can turn it off:
      http://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674 [facebook.com]
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Seems to me that I should be able to let anybody contact me and I can opt in to people being charged a dollar to contact me. I don't want to make long lost friends pay to send me a message but I can see how some people might appreciate this.

      Easy, you do it the old way. You send a friend request first and if they accept, you two can message all you want for free. Your long-lost buddy can go and send you a friend request first.

      This service is only for two random people who aren't on each other's friend lists

    • Facebook deserves this money, because they went out and got 900M+ users to sign up for their service. Just the same as NBC deserves advertising dollars because they get people to tune into the television shows they produce.

      Why would you think that Facebook is any different? They aren't in the "we run this massive no-cost website for people to shoot the shit on for fun" business. They are in the advertising business.

  • by Electrawn (321224) <{electrawn} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:38PM (#42360627) Homepage

    Since you are now selling access to me, why am I not getting a fiscal benefit as a result?

    Is this different from Linkedin's paid messages as those are work/career context that has a precedent?

    Is this different from Postal mail?

    • Re:Ok...Questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by blueg3 (192743) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:45PM (#42360723)

      Is this different from Linkedin's paid messages as those are work/career context that has a precedent?

      One is on Facebook and the other is on LinkedIn.

      Is this different from Postal mail?

      The search feature is different, delivery is faster, the cost is higher, and in the end the person doesn't know where you live.

      • Facebook's problem is that my LinkedIn world and my Facebook world will forever remain separate. Furthermore, anyone who links their personal life and their work life is asking for a whole lot of trouble (yes, my LI and FB handles are different). I know that Facebook is looking to justify their $40 IPO, but this is just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping against all odds that it sticks.

    • Re:Ok...Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oGMo (379) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:48PM (#42360771)

      Since you are now selling access to me, why am I not getting a fiscal benefit as a result?

      When you pay the grocery store for a tin of nuts, the nuts do not get a cut.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Since you are now selling access to me, why am I not getting a fiscal benefit as a result?

      Is this different from Linkedin's paid messages as those are work/career context that has a precedent?

      Is this different from Postal mail?

      At least for your last question, "yes, this is different than postal mail." Postal mail is regulated by the federal government. This is not.

    • by Lashat (1041424)

      Junk Mail that comes via the Post Office is the same thing. They charge other people to deliver crap to you, that you don't want.

      I imagine that "select users" could mean advertisers and they could possible get volume discounts to message people.

  • Bill Gates (Score:3, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:39PM (#42360641) Homepage Journal

    Someone copied Bill Gates' 1995 book "The Road Ahead," where he predicted charging fees to the senders.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:40PM (#42360651) Journal
    The suggestion was to charge a tenth of a penny per email. For regular folks who email, that works up to less than a penny per day. (No fees for business emails from private or hosted exchange servers, of course.) This would discourage spam emails and mass marketings from public accounts (although it wouldn't stop spam from zombie email accounts on private domains.)

    A dollar per message should be enough to discourage irresponsible spamming.
    • $1 to guarantee that your message appears to be from a contact of your target instead of "unknown?" That's worth a $500 scam because they just upped the likelihood of it succeeding significantly.
    • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot&nexusuk,org> on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:54PM (#42360877) Homepage

      The suggestion was to charge a tenth of a penny per email. For regular folks who email, that works up to less than a penny per day. (No fees for business emails from private or hosted exchange servers, of course.) This would discourage spam emails and mass marketings from public accounts (although it wouldn't stop spam from zombie email accounts on private domains.)

      Unsolicited SMS messages cost money and are illegal: spammers still use them.
      Unsolicited paper mail costs money (much more than a tenth of a penny): spammers still use it.

      How exactly is charging for sending email going to stop spam before the cost is high enough to have a significant detrimental effect on the rest of us too?

    • by Kergan (780543)

      A dollar per message should be enough to discourage irresponsible spamming.

      You must be kidding yourself. :-)

      $1 for an email that is guaranteed to get delivered? Methinks plenty of advertisers will sign up, and not just vanilla kind either...

      • There's a guarantee it'll get delivered, but no guarantee that anyone will respond. It's just another form of direct marketing.
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      The suggestion was to charge a tenth of a penny per email. For regular folks who email, that works up to less than a penny per day. (No fees for business emails from private or hosted exchange servers, of course.) This would discourage spam emails and mass marketings from public accounts (although it wouldn't stop spam from zombie email accounts on private domains.)

      A dollar per message should be enough to discourage irresponsible spamming.

      A dollar per message is a lot cheaper than paying for printing and postage on bulk mail junk mail, even with the discounted bulk postage rate.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why would exchange be so specially blessed? Why not postfix, or sendmail?
      What would companies that send out notifications to clients. partners, customers do?

      Not spam, think "This is to bring to your attention that Monday Feb 32 2013 from the hours of 1am to 11pm a technician will arrive to install your shark tank. Thank you for your purchase".

      • If a business isn't using a private email solution, they're doing it wrong. Doesn't matter if it's internal Exchange, private Google Apps, MailChimp lists, or some solution from a hosted ISP. A business that's using a generic Hotmail account to send stuff to their customers deserves to be charged for spamming, since they're abusing a public service that was never intended for business use.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          That is not what I am talking about.
          I am speaking of a business sending wanted information to customers or contractors who supplied their own email accounts that might well be hotmail or yahoo. The company in this case is using its own email servers to send those, but the recipients do not have accounts with them.

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:42PM (#42360683)

    If I can already send message to most people I'm not connected to, as long as they dont have their profile set super secret mode....this does almost nothing. So I can only assume then that the main point of this "feature" is that it WILL go to those super secret ultra private profiles, thus invalidating the settings and desires of said person.

    So ya. Spammer paradise.

  • No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grenadeh (2734161) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:43PM (#42360697)
    Wrong. Try again. Facebook has always been and should forever remain free, and you should have been able to message everyone regardless of connection in the first place. Stupid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dywolf (2673597)

      Who elected you to the board of directors and gave you the right to dictate how and whether they can make money off the business they created in order to make money?

    • I forgot the part where Facebook was running multiple data centers out of the goodness of their hearts, and didn't actually want to monetize any of that effort.

      Are you fucking serious?

  • Dear Facebook Friend,

    Naturally, you will be amply rewarded for your assistance by retaining a percentage of the funds transferred....
  • For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.

    One of the most important messages that a stranger could send me is "ka-ching." That is, let me set my own price and keep the proceeds.

    • Actually, that's a great idea. I'd set my "send me a personal PM even if I don't know you" cost at twenty bucks. If someone is willing to give FB twenty dollars to get in touch with me, they might actually be someone I want to talk with.
  • I realise they make money through ads but I suspect that won't last so they're seemingly looking for anyway to milk people. Sure it'll stop bulk spam but $1 is nothing to get your chance to be a total creep to some strange woman. On the bright side if creeping goes on that should kill FB.
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      I realise they make money through ads but I suspect that won't last so they're seemingly looking for anyway to milk people. Sure it'll stop bulk spam but $1 is nothing to get your chance to be a total creep to some strange woman. On the bright side if creeping goes on that should kill FB.

      $1 is pretty cheap considering how much bulk mailers pay for printing and postage to send you stuff via snail mail.

  • Translation (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:46PM (#42360749)
    "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."

    Translation

    "Money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money."
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:47PM (#42360751)
    Give me the option to turn off the receipt of all that are not from my Facebook friends, regardless of how much money Facebook is making off the sending of those messages.
  • My time is worth more than $1.00.
    Let me set the price, FB can take 10%.
  • by Hartree (191324) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:49PM (#42360789)

    I hope there's a way to block this. For example, the following $1 message comes to mind:

    "Hi, I'm the one who was sent to prison due to your testimony about me repeatedly beating your daughter while she lived with me. I just wanted to let you know that I've been released and am thinking of you. Much love!"

  • Bulk discount (Score:4, Interesting)

    by space_jake (687452) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:51PM (#42360823)
    I'm assuming there will be some sort of bulk discount for businesses.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:51PM (#42360839)

    Before: Facebook keeps your contact information private only allowing people to contact you that you have approved.

    Now: Facebook keeps your contact information private only allowing people to contact you that you have approved or have paid us.

    Yeah, there is no way that new policy won't be abused.

  • On the surface this announcement sounds like Facebook is providing a beneficial feature to keep strangers from sending you messages which I didn't know was a widespread problem.

    I guess it sounds better than Facebook announcing that they are selling access to your inbox for a $1 to solicitors who don't need or can't afford the the high-volume advertising service. I'm sure they will eventually provide volume discounts.

    Think about it... who will want or need to pay that dollar to send you a message?

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:57PM (#42360907)

    So for $1 can I or can I not send random folks goatse?

    Because that might just be worth creating a facebook profile for.

    • by neminem (561346)

      Funny, but I would point out nothing is stopping you from sending random strangers goatse already, into their email inbox...

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        My e-mail client doesn't show me images. When I view messages in Facebook I have no choice but to see whatever images they have decided are allowed.

  • $1 per initial message might seem like a deterrent but with a good result set from data mining various sources a company could establish a viable subset of facebook users likely to be swayed by subsequent promotional offers. Just takes a hook to gather a response from the first message so that additional messages can be sent free, like - respond to this so that your name is entered into a free draw to win Product X. If it's well targeted it'll pay for itself in the long term.

  • by Krojack (575051) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:57PM (#42360917)

    I expect spammers to start using stolen credit cards to send spam. In the end it will cost the CC owners and their banks money while FB most likely gets to keep the money. Depends if the banks force a charge back or not. Sometimes they do and sometimes they write it off and wait fro the government to give them money.

  • Dear Facebook,

    I love this idea. I don't mind you selling the ability to contact me at all; don't listen to these other internet clowns. Now, I can't guarantee I'll read each and every message, but I will look at their subject lines. A glance, that's all I can promise. Is this okay? Great. Great. I am loving this. Will you deposit the $1 into my bank account every time I get a message, or once a month like eBay does?

    I cannot think of a way that this couldn't work out well for me.

    -Dan

  • 'Several researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to raise Facebook's wallowing stock price'

    There, fixed that for them.

  • by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:04PM (#42360997) Homepage
    so basically instead of blocking spam they are just forcing these people to do targeted advertising. With all the information advertisers have on users this should be no problem
  • Oblig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:12PM (#42361071) Homepage Journal
    It's about Instagram [xkcd.com], but applies too. Living in a walled garden is nice until the gardener wakes up drunk and want to make changes.
  • If in fact i decide that the person is worth talking to i might decide to "wave" my cut but How Much of that $1 do i get???

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:22PM (#42361191)

    I suspect this feature will be used mostly by advertisers. If $10,000 gets you 10,000 messages to strangers who will be notified of it and probably read at least part of the message, that is a pretty good deal. I doubt most people will bother with it, preferring to just send a friend request. This set up is ideal for mass spam campaigns.

  • by kilodelta (843627) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:27PM (#42361255) Homepage
    To hear from anyone that I don't know on FB. I totally lock down my account, nobody but me can post on my page, only friends can see posts, etc.
  • ... attach a message to a friend request anyways?
  • 1) Get a facebook app on the service that...
    2) ... posts to N "holding" accounts"...
    3) ... which message back (negating the $1 fee) ...
    4) ... whose message gets eaten by the app.

    you then have N accounts you can sell to spammers, with no charges leveled due to previous communication. The person who tried the app doesn't get clued in because of the lack of charges and lack of messages.

    Mind, this is being posited by someone entirely ignorant of the facebook environment. Maybe it can't be done. Would you be

  • Yet another reason I will not join Facebook. Seems they really thought out their revenue model before going public...

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