#Facebook is now charging users for some of its services that used to be free

When I published a post on the unavoidable demise of the freemium era a month ago, I did not realise how imminent this was, and how pervasive it was also becoming.

You can also read: A new trend shows #freemium days are numbered

I got a shock of my life earlier tonight when trying to send a Facebook inbox to someone who I know well but I am not friends with on this social network.

<img src=http://"Facebook_Inbox_to_Non-Friend.png"?w=812 alt="Facebook Inbox to Non-Friend">

Facebook Inbox to Non-Friend

I  have sent Facebook messages to non-friends numerous times before, and I have never seen this message until tonight! Notice in the screen grab above that there is a freemium option – called “the Other folder” – an odd name by all accounts. See what this option means below:

<img src=http://"Desription_of_Freemuim_Option_for_Facebook_MSG_to_Non_Friend.png"?w=812 alt="Description of Freemuim Option for Facebook MSG to Non-Friend">

Description of Freemuim Option for Facebook Inbox to Non-Friend

My logical interpretation of this option is that your message is not prioritised, and you do not have guarantee that the intended recipient will read it in time, if at all. The initial Internet formula where users pay nothing and advertisers foot the bill is certainly changing of late, as some social networks are in a scramble to keep their Income Statements healthy and their shareholders happy.

All signs are there that freemium is heading for a rapid demise. Looks like Rupert Murdoch was not causing a storm in a teacup when he threatened to charge for access to news from his media empire’s Websites as far back as 2009, after all.    

This reminded me, a muted debate about whether people should pay for sending emails an Internet service that has been free for over 40 years now – in an attempt to reduce spamming, has been making rounds for the last 5 years or so. I predict that this debate is going to grow stronger now that we are starting to pay for everything Internet as users as well.

Back to Facebook. What more are we going to pay for in the future, posting messages on our walls maybe? It sounds impossible to imagine right now, right?

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One thought on “#Facebook is now charging users for some of its services that used to be free

  1. The other inbox has always been there, I think this is a way to allow users to prioritize messages, sort of like how LinkedIn you can’t just mail anyone but need to be either within their network or Connect before. I have a huge pile of Other messages and see the purpose for it, it just helps filter out messages from people and groups I just don’t know or belong to, mostly SPAM.

    If users want to message people, then I think connecting as a friend is a small price to pay, or just foot the R9.95 bill, if neither works for you as a user then messaging me shouldn’t be on your agenda to begin with.

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