Facebook tests “pay to promote posts” system in New Zealand
Social networking site Facebook has started testing a system that allows users, for a small fee, to highlight and promote their posts. This ensures that the important post (which often passes by unseen) is more visible to friends on the networking site.
Recent figures have shown that only 12% of a user’s Facebook friends see an average status update. The new feature promises to make a post more prominent, by allowing it to appear higher in the news feeds of friends as well as appearing in the news feeds of more friends. Test participants will have the option to “highlight” a post after submitting it; friends will then see the word ‘highlighted’ under the post.
A trial-run is being carried out on Facebook’s New Zealand users as a test to see whether or not people are interested in such a feature and whether they would be willing to pay to flag up their information. First reported in New Zealand’s magazine Stuff, it was initially suspected to be a scam. However, it was later confirmed as a genuine Facebook feature by a spokesperson.
“We’re constantly testing new features across the site,” said the spokesperson. “This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.”
The tests include different methods of highlighting posts to most attract attention; attached to these would be a range of charges applied to make the post more visible. The highest price, it is suggested, is £1.25 ($2) while others would cost as little as 25p, with payments made via PayPal or credit card.
There is rumour that Facebook’s recent slowdown of growth has prompted them to experiment and concentrate their attentions on making money; the company’s imminent stock market flotation will also be adding more pressure. Currently, most of Facebook’s money comes from advertising across the site.
“We’re going to see a lot more ideas like this where they are testing out different ways to try to make money,” said Ian Maude, internet analyst at Enders Analysis.
As of yet, it has not been revealed whether the test will be extended to other locations. But the question stands: would you pay to be popular?