It has long been a rumour or a hoax, but has finally become reality: Facebook is becoming (partly) a paid service – although so far it only concerns a test in New Zealand concerning promoting statuses.
2 dollar to promote a status
According to the BBC website, New Zealanders can pay up to 2 dollar (1.6 euro) to promote a status, although two less expensive (but also less effective) methods are available as well.
Facebook acknowledged that the company is “constantly testing new features across the site” and that. “this particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends.” Its spokesperson did not reveal whether the test would be extended to other areas or other services.
New ways to find revenue
It is not the first time that rumours like this have spread: often as a 'chain status' (like a chain letter, asking the users to copy and paste or “bad things will happen”), sometimes as a creative way to lure gullible users into donating money. This time too, the first user to spot the test thought it was a con trick, says New Zealand website Stuff.
Analysts expect Facebook to increase its search to new sources of money, as its revenue growth from ads has slowed down and its flotation is imminent. Others wonder if users will want to pay for a service and still be confronted with omnipresent advertisements.