Would you pay to use Facebook?

November 1, 2008

Facebook is hugely popular, with 160 million unique visitors using the site on a monthly basis. Bit how many of those people would pay, if asked, for the privilege of using the social networking site? And if so, how much would it be worth?

Last month saw Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook declare that the primary goal of the site was growth, not revenue. Furthermore, it will be years until the site needs to really start putting a revenue model together.

But, the economy is on the slide, and advertising rates are going down as a result, so maybe Facebook needs to start thinking about monetization plans outside of just littering the site with adverts? In which case, could a subscription model be the way forward?

Sam Diaz asks the question on ZDNet, following on from previous discussions of the idea over at Techmeme. Diaz concludes that he would be willing to pay for Facebook, even if it were a couple of bucks a month purely for general access to the site. But he’d be happier to pay if Facebook were to introduce new features such as an ad-free interface, customization options, and domain mapping.

These are all fair ideas, and would make Facebook even better than it currently is. But I have to disagree on the whole idea of paying to use the site in the first place. I regard myself as a light user, checking the site every day or two. But I also have periods of heavy use, and weeks when I don’t visit the site at all. So for me, it would be easy to walk away.

The big problem Facebook would have if trying to force a subscription model on its millions of users would be the amount of competition. Facebook may be regarded as the best social networking site by many people, but the range and number of sites offering similar services means the majority of users would just walk away and start an account somewhere else.

A subscription based model is of course pure speculation at this point in time, but I wouldn’t rule it out happening in the future, especially if the number-crunching detailed at TechCrunch proves accurate. If it ever did happen though, Facebook would lose me, and everyone else I’ve asked whether they’d pay to use the site or not.

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16 Responses to “Would you pay to use Facebook?”

  1. meow:

    I agree, there are too many competitive sites alongside facebook, and Im sure those Facebook addicts would gladly pay to use it, but I think a majority of them would walk away and find a different site.

  2. Dave:

    I would not pay to use Facebook or any other social networking site. I use it for fun and entertainment. I also use it to keep in touch with friends but there are other ways to do that if there was no Facebook.

  3. Kylie Deans:

    NEVER PAYING FOR FACEBOOK.

  4. Douchebook:

    Facebook is soon to be formally known as douchebook if its going to make people pay to use it. Anyone else agree?

  5. Aman:

    I agree with Douchebook….taking this step would a suicide move for Facebook, even the addicts would not want to pay for it i m sure. The flamboyant claim of Facebook for having 150+ million users would be shred to bits, if they decide to charge users.

  6. Heyy.:

    I would not pay for facebook even though i am a little addicted to it. There is no reason for them to make you pay so i will stop using it no matter how much it takes. What is the point anyways in paying for a internet website anyways? Anyone agree?

  7. Mark:

    pay for facebook are you kidding me. why should we pay for a website when the majority of us pay good amount of money to have internet.i got a solution, how about the websites pay us for joining their websites. 25 cent for everytime someone logs into facebook or something. or 50 bucks to be a member for year that sounds alot better.

  8. Weber:

    I will walk away from facebook and never look back as will my 36 family and friends. They can stick it where the sun does not shine.

  9. Mary:

    No way will I pay for Facebook!

  10. chris guinn:

    i would not pay to use face book

  11. Dana:

    I wouldnt pay to use Facebook either..

  12. Darryl:

    I would not pay for facebook or any other site. I only use facebook because it’s free and a good way to hook up with old friends. but they wouldn’t be there if facebook would start charging.

  13. Debbie L:

    No I won’t pay to use facebook. I like it because it’s free and fun. But I won’t pay to use it

  14. ray:

    i think its a very good idea to make facebook a paying site..when they sigh up it will be a lot easier for the police and facebook staff to locate the scum that use it pedos etc.and it will keep children safe..so come on facebook put a charge on the site make it safer

  15. Donella Kerslake:

    I will NEVER pay for facebook, watch it fall apart when they do start charging $4.99 a mth as I WON’T BE I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO SPEND MY MONEY ON…..

  16. LT:

    Why do I feel like facebook is nothing but a drug dealer. Drug dealers give away drugs for free to entice and addict a person. Then they force them to pay for whatever they are addicted to. Sound business structure or extortion. I will not pay for the use of a website when there are others out there for free.

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