|Pay for popularity on Facebook?|
Friday, 11 May 2012 14:15
The social network trials a feature that lets users pay to make their updates visible to more friends.
Facebook is reportedly testing a new `highlight` feature for its users, whereby they can pay to have a status update appear in more friends` news feeds.
The social giant is reportedly trialling the feature with a select number of users to gauge interest. As noted by TechCrunch, however, if such a feature were to be introduced it could turn many people off the service, should users start `buying` popularity.
It is not known how many users are included in the tests, but the first reports of the service emerged from New Zealand.
Facebook has previously confirmed that the average post from a Facebook user will only be seen by about 12% of their Facebook friends. This is due to the multiple algorithms that the social network uses to determine the relevance of content for users.
Business pages reportedly get about 16% of their followers to see the average post. Businesses do, however, have the option of purchasing extra distribution with the Reach Generator feature.
Changing to a pay-for-views model for all users on Facebook would, however, confuse the social network`s emphasis on providing users with the most relevant updates from the friends they actually want to see updates from.
Facebook is said to be exploring various avenues for differentiating its income and creating sustainable advertising models as it battles with users who are increasingly accessing the service via mobile (which doesn`t display many ads).
Those in the test group are said to have a `highlight` option at the bottom of their posts (next to `Like` and `Comment`). Facebook is reportedly testing different price points, but the average cost is $2 to highlight a story. Users pay for the service via credit card or PayPal.
Facebook`s statement on the issue is: "We`re constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people`s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.”
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