Facebook hits on yet another method of prying dollars out of the user base:
Ordinarily, a Facebook user’s Inbox will only display messages from friends and people the user might know, such as friends of friends. Messages from other sources end up in a separate Other folder, where they’re likely to be overlooked.
“We’ve heard that messages people care about may not always be delivered or may go unseen in the Other folder,” Facebook said in a statement on Thursday, explaining that it has launched the experimental pay-to-message feature to see whether “economic signals” can be used to help determine message relevance.
The buzz has been solidly negative, but I think this is a swell idea: if you want guaranteed access to my inbox, it ought to cost you, and $1 doesn’t seem unreasonable. (About three decades ago, I was hooked up to MCI Mail, where every message you sent cost half a buck. Needless to say, there was no spam.)