The team at Facebook may have found a new source of revenue thanks to paid messages. Facebook on Thursday announced a new beta program which allows users to send messages to non-Facebook friends. There’s just one catch, users will have to pay per message. Facebook is testing a $1 fee but that price could skyrocket if the program is a success.
In justifying its decision a Facebook rep writes:
“Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with.
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.”
Facebook has also announced two simple to follow Email filter options. The first option is “basic filtering” which includes the option to set “Who can send me Facebook Messages” to “everyone.” The second option is “strict filtering” in which only your most strict friends can send messages directly into your Facebook inbox. According to Facebook strict settings will be used if you have your settings already set to just “Friends.”
The hope is that the new email filters will do a better job of keeping real messages out of a users “other” folder, while reduce spam by charging to send messages to strangers.
At this time Facebook is charging beta users $1 per message and it has limited the numbers of messages allowed to just one per week.
Facebook hopes people will pay to send messages under various specific circumstances, for example to reach out to a speaker they just heard talk at a symposium. Would you pay to send someone a message?