Facebook tests charging users to send certain messages

SAN FRANCISCO Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:38am IST

In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through a magnifying glass held by a woman in Bern May 19, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Hodel/Files

In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through a magnifying glass held by a woman in Bern May 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Hodel/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) unveiled a test on Thursday that charges users to send certain types of messages through the social network, the latest example of the company looking for new sources of revenue and profit.

Until now, Facebook's messaging system sends the most-relevant messages, including those from users' Facebook friends, into an Inbox and siphons off less-relevant messages, such as potential spam, in an "Other" folder.

"Today we're starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance," Facebook said. "This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the 'Inbox' rather than the 'Other' folder of a recipient that they are not connected with."

A Facebook spokesman said the charge for the test is $1 per message, but added that the company is still looking for the "optimum" price. Users can only receive one of these paid, re-routed messages per week, he noted.

The company said its test service may be useful in certain situations, such as allowing users to send a message to someone they heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or contacting someone about a job opportunity.

Facebook, which went public earlier this year, is under pressure from Wall Street to find new sources of revenue and profit. The company has responded with a series of new services and tests in recent months. In September, the company said it would start charging merchants to run offers on its social network. <ID: nL1E8KK6DQ>

The test messaging service is similar to the InMail service from LinkedIn Corp (LNKD.N), the professional networking rival to Facebook, which lets users with high-end subscriptions send messages to other LinkedIn members outside their networks.

"For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them," Facebook added. (Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Dan Grebler)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Smartphone Wars

Reuters Showcase

Cloud Solutions

Cloud Solutions

Tencent teams up with IBM to offer business software over the cloud.  Full Article 

Cook Comes Out

Cook Comes Out

Apple's Cook: "I'm proud to be gay".  Full Article | Related Story 

 Rubin Quits

Rubin Quits

Android co-founder Andy Rubin to leave Google.  Full Article 

Glowing Flower

Glowing Flower

Video: Genetically altered glowing flower on display in Tokyo.  Video 

Web Fast Lanes

Web Fast Lanes

Comcast, AT&T seek to reassure on no plans for Internet 'fast lanes'.  Full Article 

Tech Reshuffle

Tech Reshuffle

Twitter product chief sidelined as user engagement slides.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage