Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Look Out, Facebook is About to get Richer

Facebook seems to be ramping up efforts to generate revenues with their latest plans to begin testing pay walls for many of their instant articles.

This article explains how Facebook intends to offer 10 free articles per month from a given publisher before a pay wall prevents further reading. Also, if you already own a subscription to a publisher, you can link via Facebook and continue to get your normal access. This is an interesting development for a company that has struggled to maintain their identity. As we read in "The Facebook Effect," Zuckerberg has long maintained that the vision of Facebook is to increase transparency of information and connectedness of people and that this has long been a challenge in terms of finding ways to monetize the website.

Facebook's initial foray into advertising was a carefully navigated path, as Zuckerberg didn't want to interrupt users' experiences. It seems as though recent marketing efforts have abandoned that philosophy.

This idea of adding pay walls seems to counter the goal of connecting people with information and there is some hesitation as to whether this will significantly impact Facebook usage or if it will even effect users. Additionally, there's some significant questions on how users would pay for this feature. Testing will begin in October and the earliest roll-out wouldn't be expected until 2018.

I personally find pay walls to be a huge turn-off. I understand that news sources need to generate revenues, but the few times I've paid through a pay wall and found the article lacking, I felt like I had just thrown away money. If I purchase a magazine and one article is underwhelming, there are other articles to dissipate that frustration. In this revenue model, I will directly attribute my annoyance (or satisfaction) to that specific instance of purchasing the article, and be more reluctant to purchase again. I can only imagine this model working for certain highly-specialized content creators with established followings.

Facebook to start instant article subscriptions

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