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From The Annals Of Idiot Facebook Business Ideas – They Should Charge For It

This is concerning Facebook itself of course, not the idiot nephew’s idea of delivering meat flavoured ice cream via the Facebook accounts that dogs don’t have. It’s still a pretty silly idea though, based on a complete misunderstanding of how Facebook currently makes money:

To save itself, Facebook must start charging users

Interesting thought. Worth noting that WhatsApp has just stopped charging people $1 a year to use that app. Wonder why?

So let me wade into this fray and suggest two possible business decisions the social networking giant could make.

First, Facebook should charge users a nominal $5-a-month fee. You can give seniors a discount so you don’t lose them.

Netflix does, Amazon does, Apple does.

Well, yes, although those other companies don’t have 1.7 billion customers in places between a little and markedly poorer than the US. $60 is a monthly wage to several tens at least, if not hundreds, of millions of Facebook users.

But it’s the why which is so much fun and qualifies it for the Annals:

It would make Facebook rely less on selling user data.

Facebook doesn’t sell user data, not in anything above entirely trivial quantities. Sadly, this is a common misconception about all the tech giants. They’re not “selling data.” Who would they sell it to for a start?

What they are doing is selling the ability to select who to advertise to. This is different in granularity but not in concept to traditional print advertising. You would advertise adult diapers in Playboy – both for needs and recreational purposes – and infant diapers in Mother and Baby. All the tech companies are doing is allowing you to select more finely.

They don’t sell the data when they do. They offer you tools to be able to sift through who you want to advertise to, that’s all. And they’re not selling access to those tools, they’re selling the advertising you buy after you’ve used the tools to select.

But then as this very site itself shows there’re reasons why people go into journalism rather than business. A joy at handwaving solutions uninformed by reality being only one of them.

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

If they start chargig users, users will move to a service that doesn’t charge.
In Japan I had the choice of LINE for free, or paying for a mobile phone SIM. I chose LINE. If LINE charged, I’d chose somebody else.
When at home, when on the bus I have the choice of The Metro for free, or buying a paper. I chose The Metro. If they started charging for The Metro, I’d chose something else.

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