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January 11, 2013

Looking to Send a Facebook Message to Mark Zuckerberg? It's Going to Cost You

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

What would you pay to send a message directly to Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert)? Some users who have recently tried to message Zuckerberg have been offered the option to pay $100 for access to the Facebook (News - Alert) CEO’s inbox.

According to Facebook, the high price points are designed to test what extremes are required to filter spam. Even if just a few of Zuckerberg’s 16 million followers are tempted to pay a high price to talk to him, Facebook will receive a small gusher of cash. And who will be next on the $100 A-list? Would you pay $100 to message your favorite celebrity?

The good news is that Facebook won’t be requiring $100 to allow you to send messages to non-friends yet. The company is currently testing a service that charges $1 to users who want to send messages to a non-friend’s inbox.

Since going public last May, Facebook has tested numerous new ways to make money. Some ideas have been straightforward, like sponsored stories. If one of your Facebook friends likes Wal-Mart, for instance, then your friend’s face shows up beside the Wal-Mart logo as a sponsored story in your news feed.

But even straightforward ideas like sponsored stories have faced some problems. One famous example is the story of Facebook user Nick Bergus. Mr. Bergus saw an ad for a 55-gallon barrel of personal lubricant, found the ad hilarious and clicked “Like.” The next thing he knew, his profile picture was appearing on (News - Alert) ads that were attempting to sell the barrels of lubricant.

Of course, people do agree to have their profile pictures used in Facebook ads—about halfway through the 4,000-word terms of service. However, “lubricantgate” sparked a class action lawsuit over the practice, which may end up costing Facebook about $20 million.

Facebook did make some good decisions last year. The company purchased Instagram, kicked off mobile advertisements and offered its new Ad Exchange to customize advertisements to information from users’ browsers. However, charging $100 to write a note to Mark Zuckerberg probably won’t go down as one of its better ideas.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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