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Facebook Testing $100 Fee To Mail Mark Zuckerberg 228

Posted by samzenpus
from the cost-of-sending-messages dept.
iComp writes with a story about how it will cost you $100 to message Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. "Got something you'd like to say to Mark Zuckerberg? The Facebook CEO still maintains a profile on the social networking site he founded, but beginning on Friday, sending him a personal message could cost you. Mashable was the first to notice that some users who weren't otherwise on the Behoodied One's Friends list were being asked to pony up before they could send a message to his Inbox, to the tune of $100 a pop. As El Reg reported in December, Facebook has been conducting a limited test of a feature that requires users to pay a fee to send messages to people with whom they have no direct connection. The idea is that the type of users who like to send spam, hate speech, and otherwise frivolous messages typically aren't willing to pay for the privilege. Impose a fee – however small – and they probably won't bother."
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Facebook Testing $100 Fee To Mail Mark Zuckerberg

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  • Laugh (Score:5, Funny)

    by koan (80826) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:00PM (#42576391)

    I'll pay $1000 to slap him silly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:01PM (#42576395)

    It's his company, so any money made benefits him, but when they start selling access to other people without them making anything, it just doesn't work. Now, perhaps if they allowed people to sign up for this service, and do something like Apple where there's a 70/30 split, then maybe you have a recipe for success.

    • I think it's to reduce the complaints for how crappy his service is.
    • Thats how Linkedin works.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I do think it works for other people.

      I want people to be able to reach me. But I only want people who have a legitimate reason to reach me. Spammers don't qualify. My fianceé's ex-husband doesn't qualify. But neither of them would pay money to reach me. Who would? I don't know. A fan of my work. A long lost relative. A lawyer wanting my testimony. If I knew, it wouldn't matter. They'd be my Facebook friend. By charging for the service, Facebook can open up my message box to the public and make money wh

    • by TheLink (130905)

      Yeah. It can be a big success and Facebook could get even more information and money from it. As I mentioned in a post last year on a similar topic: http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3332885&cid=42362747 [slashdot.org]

      It could create a popular alternative way to support artists, coders, etc.

      For example artists/coders/creators can sign up formally with Facebook (so that they can get paid more easily) and Facebook takes a 30% cut (like Apple does for their stuff). Then the hordes of fans can easily send them mone

  • That's what I read, at first.

    No, it doen't make sense. :)

  • by Monoman (8745) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:06PM (#42576429) Homepage

    "It’s free and always will be."

    • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:20PM (#42576529)

      "It's free and always will be."

      MZ must like his privacy -- imagine that.

      The facebook is still free, but the "cool" (i.e. rich) people will exist in a separate world. Almost surprising it took so long to separate the first and economy class. I am guessing MZ will never need to pay to message anyone.

      • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill@ g m a i l.com> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:47PM (#42576707)

        "cool" (i.e. famous)

        FTFY. Famous people are those who are known by many more people than they know personally. It is entirely reasonable that such people should need greater protection from unsolicited messaging.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It should be, but someone who has claimed that privacy is dead and has a business model based on that assumption is not in a position to claim such protection without being a total hypocrite. And this is about privacy, having privacy means being left alone when you want to be left alone. If he can claim $100 for receiving a message I would like to claim $1, just 1% of wat Mark asks, for every fact about my browsing habits Facebook records, for every connection they make with data I can or cannot see, and pr

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That would be nice but it wouldn't be Facebook. At Facebook you are the product, you always have been, and you likely always will be.

            A system which enabled people to be reimbursed for data aggregation and marketing based on their personal data may be possible with a distributed social network with PGP under the hood (uses have responsibility to protect their own private keys but they can pass this responsibility on to a business of their choosing and pay a tiny fee). I've not kept up with such projects bu

      • by guttentag (313541)
        Some people are more equal than others.
    • by chromas (1085949)
      That's what Dennis Miller said about NetZero.
    • but only if Zuckerberg would respond back.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      That's about the "sign up" part that you left out of your quote.

      You can still sign up and use it for free. Just some functions you have to pay for. Oh well, it's not that Facebook is essential for connecting to people. It's convenient, but by no means essential.

  • My prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:07PM (#42576433)

    I predict that Slashdot groupthinkers will bash the idea of ever paying for Facebook messages as greedy, evil capitalism at its worst, etc., even though they overwhelmingly supported charging a fee to send emails to cut down on mass spam when that idea was being thrown around a few years back.

    • Got no need to bash it - hell, I think he's allowed to do it all he wants. His servers, his rules.

      Not sure anyone here ever agreed to charge $100/email during the previous conversations you refer to, though...

    • No need to bash either idea, they both have "will not work" written all over them.
    • by Smauler (915644)

      Slashdot groupthinkers [...] overwhelmingly supported charging a fee to send emails to cut down on mass spam when that idea was being thrown around a few years back.

      Mods? Why is this insightful?

      Seriously... I don't know the conversation the AC is talking about (if it exists), but if any place were against charging a fee to send emails, it would be Slashdot. Who modded this shit up?

  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:07PM (#42576439) Homepage Journal

    I assumed it was only polite to message someone who you like to add as friend, before or while you click 'friend'.
    Now I assume I have just to click 'friend'. Albeit most of the people I know on FB ... I just know, they are not my friends ofc.

  • by Lieutenant_Dan (583843) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:08PM (#42576445) Homepage Journal

    When you scramble to monetize your product by pimping off your CEO you know it's downhill from here on.

    Next:
    - for 5 euros they will attach the head of one of your friends on a porn star
    - charge 1 cent every time you use your FB login with another site
    - charge $5 to add 50 new friends for the socially inept or people you need to get that extra mile
    - for $1,000 bump someone off FB with the same name and get exclusive rights for 12 months
    - $5 for audio greetings, $10 for video
    -$1 to send a text message

  • funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lapm (750202) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:09PM (#42576449)
    100$ to send him mail? After all that 100$ dosent even garantie you reply from him...
    • Re:funny (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:21PM (#42576537)

      My guess is that this is some kind of clumsy way of trying to get in on the LinkedIn gravy train. LinkedIn has a setup where you have to pay for a premium account to be able to message people you aren't directly connected to, and they actually pull in quite a bit of cash through that, because recruiters and various other kinds of businesspeople will pony up to send those messages.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      100$ to send him mail? After all that 100$ dosent even garantie you reply from him...

      Of course not
      You would need to pay at least $500 to guarantee receiving a reply from him. But with a monthly $5,000 fee, that price can be knocked down to $150.

    • Forget reply, it doesnt even guarantee that he will read it. For all we know, he has some intern read his facebook messages and reply to it.

    • Ya, I am sure his inbox already has a few hundred thousand unread messages from non-friends. I think the real story hear is that it is for all non-friends to anyone, not just him.

    • spellcheck (Score:4, Funny)

      by Frankie70 (803801) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @06:39PM (#42577701)

      After all that 100$ dosent even garantie you reply from him...

      No. But they throw in a free spell check.

  • I've already sent a message by not having an account.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:25PM (#42576583)
    Let's raise $10k to get 100 people to send Zuckerberg GNAA spam.
  • by fotoguzzi (230256) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:37PM (#42576633)
    I figure my scheme will lose $15.9 B a year, but I think people might go for it.
  • Attention economy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dainutehvs (936606) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:42PM (#42576675) Homepage Journal

    I like the concept. Actually I think it is brilliant. There are gazillions of things that fight over our attention every day just as we open our eyes. We live in constant noise of commercials/e-mails/calls/banners/meeting-requests/u-name-it. And the most efficient way to reach a person is to be loud. And annoying. And it costs virtually nothing. And intermediaries - ad agencies etc. are those who take the most advantage and profit from this mess. But with this concept - everybody can charge for for their attention Directly . Maybe mr. everybodys attention starts to be Valued . IIn that case it would be like giving the power back to the people!

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:43PM (#42576681) Homepage

    Certified mail is a lot cheaper and will get his attention faster than someone paying $100 so his personal assistant will see the message.

    • And it won't be a personal assistant (or a PA's PA) that opens and reads his physical mail because...?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because you can say that only the named recipient can sign for the mail by adding restricted delivery. It is not uncommon for legal documents to be sent certified with adult delivery and restricted delivery certified. That way you can get the best shot of saying that the service rules were satisfied (only if personal service fails) because the certified mail with adult delivery can be signed for by any adult who lives at the address and with restricted delivery, they will make multiple attempts to deliver

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Because Zuckerberg has this really awesome letter opener he's been itching to use.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      Certified mail is a lot cheaper and will get his attention faster than someone paying $100 so his personal assistant will see the message.

      Even for $100, who says anybody will read the message, personal assistant, intern, janitor, or otherwise? There are several comments already implying that a human will actually read the email, but there's nothing in the article that implies there's any sort of guarantee or understanding that your $100 message will be read by anybody at all. It's not even a guarantee that a spam filter won't stop it, it's merely an "'economic signal' as one way to determine whether that user's message is legitimate."

    • by guttentag (313541)
      You should create a mock up of a post to his wall, print it and send it via certified mail. Then wait for him to buy the USPS to close the security hole.
  • I wish I could do this with my e-mail. I think I would like to charge any unsolicited e-mail senders 100 bucks too.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Well your could if you ran your own mail server, couldn't you?

      Just institute a whitelist of your "friends" and have an automatic bounceback for everyone else that links to a shopping cart that allows them to paste their email into a form. Charge them to complete checkout, which then forwards the contents of the form like the "special instructions" area of any e-commerce site's checkout page.

      I think the problem here is what you really want is a system that automatically charges them just for sending to your

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        I've thought about it and come up with something even better. A spam tax. All unsolicited spam to be taxed a nickel per recipient. Charge it to the ISP and let them collect it from the spammer. It should relieve the national debt in a short span....or eliminate spam. Win-Win.

  • I'll bet... (Score:4, Funny)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @03:49PM (#42576719)

    Hahaha. Facebook really is desperate.

    I'm pretty sure that if you had something really important (a major business deal for example), it will still reach the main man just fine using mark.zuckerberg@facebook.com .

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @04:03PM (#42576789)
    The real purpose of the $100 fee to Zuckerberg is only to draw free press to Facebook's paid spam service, where they'll allow companies to send you unsolicited emails that bypass spam filters in exchange for a fee. Without the fee Facebook says those messages go into the the "other" folder; with the fee the messages will go directly to the inbox. It's reprehensible, and Facebook has the nerve to claim the purpose of the fee is to reduce spam. The real purpose is to eliminate free spam.
    • Because sending email spam costs virtually nothing, I average about 1,000 email spams caught by my filters each day. (Most people don't know how many spams their provider filters out, so you may see 50 in your box, but 500 others were sent and rejected by the mail server.)
      I get about 3 paper spam in the mailbox each day, because mail spam costs the sender several cents to send. Hmm, 1,000 versus 3. Seems like when the sender has to pay a few dimes each, that reduces spam by 99.97%.
      • users who like to send spam [...] typically aren't willing to pay for the privilege. Impose a fee – however small – and they probably won't bother.

        But for different reasons: The spammers will find ways to avoid being billed themselves - having a habit of abusing the resources of others, they already are in people's PCs with their botnets, for crying out loud...

      • by BTWR (540147)

        Hmm, 1,000 versus 3. Seems like when the sender has to pay a few dimes each, that reduces spam by 99.97%.

        99.7%, not 99.97%.

        I never correct grammar, that's obnoxious. But this is Slashdot - correcting math is allowed :)

    • by ark1 (873448)
      Once this is deployed for everyone, will a normal user who is being targeted receive a % of the fee? Obviously in this case Zuck gets indirectly the money but what about the average folk?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      What's reprehensible about it? Facebook is giving you a free service. In exchange, they bombard you with advertising. Why should your "inbox" be anymore immune than your "wall?" Oops, I mean "timeline?"

    • by Tom (822)

      mod parent up.

      If the fee would go to the recipient, we could be talking anti-spam measures. With the fee going to FB, it's just cashing in on spam.

  • Check your apps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @04:24PM (#42576913)

    If Facebook will split this fee with the recipients, check your apps. How many of them have requested (and been granted) permission to send messages on your behalf? Could those apps send messages to persons not on your friends list (say the author of the app) and automatically accept the charge? If they can't now, how long before someone unscrupulous hacks it so it is possible and packages that up into a Farmville clone?

  • by big_e_1977 (2012512) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @04:34PM (#42576955)

    I would be willing to pay $100 dollars for a permanent media blackout so I will never have to hear about Mark Zuckerberg ever again. The only thing I might miss is a future story where he gets convicted by the feds for insider trading and fraud. But this is America were corporations and CEOs are effectively exempt from all laws so such an event ever occurring is slim.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @05:14PM (#42577175)
    Doesn't he know you can configure the settings so that people who aren't on your friends list can't send you messages or post on your wall. Meanwhile, the US Post Office only charges 44 cents.
  • He's probably not listening, but I'd be really very surprised if he actually reads his facebook page either. I'd guess he probably has some flunky do it. I might be willing to pay $100 for the video footage of his flunky conveying my message, but I doubt that's in the cards either. In any event, I can't think of anything that could interest me in creating a facebook account. Except maybe if I tell someone in the company to blow me and they took me up on it. Let's see if they're really willing to go that ext
  • ... though I doubt he'll pay attention: Deleting my Facebook account.

    Ads on the right-hand side of the page aren't enough. They now feel a need to insert them into my news stream. (To be fair, the frequency of those has dropped off considerably. But if it starts up again, I'll probably be telling FB see ya.)

  • Pay me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Isao (153092) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @06:43PM (#42577725)
    I love it, go for it Zuck! This is clearly a preview of a roll-out to the general user base, where anyone, including advertisers, has to pay a user to send them messages (unless they're already accepted as a friend). This is great! Monetize advertisers (FB takes a transaction fee), and incentivise users to accept advertising an their own terms. I bet the next version of this will include topic and interest filters, so you can discount the fees on things you might actually like to hear about, and raise them on the noise. I'd only charge $0.50 to hear about a tech item, but $100 to hear about a Justin Beiber concert. Works for me, where do I sign up?
    • by Kalriath (849904)

      You won't get paid, Facebook will. And the feature already exists, in a limited fashion.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    OKCupid already rolled this out a few months ago for all users. If a person's mailbox is full and someone tries to message them, they get a popup asking for a $1 "bribe" (their actual term) to have the message go the user anyway. Wouldn't be surprised if they also set up fake profiles of hot girls with "full" mailboxes. Easy money.

    • by Kalriath (849904)

      Dating sites have always worked that way. Haven't you noticed how sites (especially AFF and their like) say "not real members" in really microscopic print on their ads?

  • by KPU (118762) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @07:02PM (#42577825) Homepage

    your post advocates a

    ( ) technical ( ) legislative (x) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to fighting spam. your idea will not work. here is why it won't work. (one or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    ( ) spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
    (x) mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
    ( ) no one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) it is defenseless against brute force attacks
    (x) it will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    (x) users of email will not put up with it
    ( ) microsoft will not put up with it
    ( ) the police will not put up with it
    ( ) requires too much cooperation from spammers
    ( ) requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    (x) many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
    ( ) anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

    specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) laws expressly prohibiting it
    (x) lack of centrally controlling authority for email
    ( ) open relays in foreign countries
    ( ) ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
    (x) asshats
    ( ) jurisdictional problems
    (x) unpopularity of weird new taxes
    (x) public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    (x) huge existing software investment in smtp
    (x) susceptibility of protocols other than smtp to attack
    (x) willingness of users to install os patches received by email
    ( ) armies of worm riddled broadband-connected windows boxes
    ( ) eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
    (x) extreme profitability of spam
    ( ) joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
    ( ) dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
    ( ) bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
    (x) outlook

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    (x) ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    ( ) any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    ( ) smtp headers should not be the subject of legislation
    ( ) blacklists suck
    ( ) whitelists suck
    ( ) we should be able to talk about viagra without being censored
    (x) countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
    ( ) countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
    ( ) countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    (x) sending email should be free
    (x) why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
    ( ) feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
    (x) i don't want the government reading my email
    (x) killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    furthermore, this is what i think about you:

    ( ) sorry dude, but i don't think it would work.
    ( ) this is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    (x) nice try, assh0le! i'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

  • by guttentag (313541) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @07:13PM (#42577867) Journal
    Given the hidden costs of having a Facebook account, I'd say anyone who has the ability to use this service has already paid enough for the privilege.
  • by ed.markovich (1118143) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @07:21PM (#42577895) Homepage

    Imagine you get more mail a day than you can read. You got two choices: spend significant time filtering through or risk missing the signal for the noise.

    Now imagine every message in your inbox cost someone $100. First, it would significantly cut down on the volume. Second, if you know that a stranger spent $100 to write to you, you can assume it's not completely trivial - someone must have thought that what they have to say is so valuable that you're going to care and respond that they staked money on it.

    Frankly, $100 is cheap. Say I have a startup idea that I think facebook would jump all over but I have no-one in my network who can help me bring it to FB's attention. I would GLADLY pay $100 for access to Zuckerberg - if $100 is enough to bring his inbox to a reasonable size such that my genuinely good idea could get the attention it deserves, it's well worth it. Frankly I think $100 is too cheap for someone at as high a profile as Zuckerberg.

    Many of us get LinkedIn email from recruiters that we generally proceed to ignore. Now let's say a recruiter had to pay $5 to email me (if they weren't in my network): it would both cut down the amount of noise, and make me likely to take the email more seriously: if the recruiter was willing to put up money to make me aware of his opportunity, maybe there's something there.

    Similarly, imagine it cost $5 to send your resume to a company. It would immediately stop people submitting their resumes for every posting in the world. The company could rely on the fact that any application for any position is from someone who genuinely believes they are a match and perhaps do away with machine resume filters, if the volume was brought down enough. In other words: although it would seem "greedy" to charge people $5 to apply for your job, it would end up meaning that more of the better candidates made it further through the process.

    In general, putting a $ figure on a communication significantly increases the signal to noise ratio. $100 for Zuckerberg's attention is fair. $5 for my attention on LinkedIn is probably fair too - especially if I could set my own price. If I don't get anyone contacting me, I drop the price. If I get too many bogus offers, I raise it.

  • All those interested in telling Zuckerberg to go f*ck himself, please donate one penny toward the cost...
  • Permission to send an email is meaningless if there is no indication he will read it. Presumably he has a small army of people handling corporate and personal communication. Let's look at the economics of his reading your special message:

    If we assume he will be earning $1B this year (argue if you will, I don't care), and he works 200 days, that means he makes $5M/day or $625K/hour or around $10K/minute. He gets paid $50,000 to take a dump during working hours.

    Now here's your $100 message. Does he really wan

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