By: Zack West
If anyone was on Facebook the weekend of Sept. 25, he or she might have seen a status being posted about Facebook charging for their services after midnight on Monday morning. If a person posted a status on his profile before midnight, he would wake up the next morning with free Facebook and the rest of us would be stuck paying a minimum of $3.99 a month for basic Facebook services.
With myself included, I am certain that most everyone enrolled in a college class at The University of Akron is a member of Facebook. It is a great tool for networking and keeping up with friends and family while our lives are filled to near capacity by school, homework, one or two jobs and the occasional good night’s sleep. This is the exact reason Facebook was created in the first place.
When we dive into the situation and actually think if Facebook would really do something as crazy as charge members for their services, we find that Mark Zuckerberg would have to be the dumbest businessman in history.
As of January of this year, after an investment deal, Facebook was tagged with a $50 billion net worth, more than high rollers Ebay and Time Warner, according to a foxbusiness.com article. The same article stated that Facebook receives over $2 billion annually, mostly from advertising.
If we consider this financial situation, let’s discuss repercussions of charging members for services. According to Facebook’s statistics, there are over 800 million active Facebook users, over half of whom log on daily. That means the advertising that basically pays for Facebook reaches over 400 million users in just one day.
In my opinion, if Facebook started charging members, they would see a drastic drop in membership. Who really wants to pay for something that was free for so long? The site was originally developed for college students and has obviously been expanded. But most users are in college and high school and, in that age range, with the already mass numbers of expenses college students acquire, who is really going to splurge and pay for something as silly as Facebook? I know I would not, and I think many readers would agree.
If membership drops, the price of advertising also drops. That cuts into the annual revenue for the company, and potential investors in Facebook might shy away from a dying company. Charging for membership would be such a risk for the future of Facebook because of the uncertainty and questionable loyalty of members.
After analyzing the situation, we can clearly see that Facebook will not now or ever (unless sold to new owners) charge for their services. It would be too much of a business risk. I challenge people to consider this as Facebook continues to grow into a corporate monster. Don’t worry, Facebook will be there when you wake up in the morning, during your lecture, right after lunch and after you post your last status before crash landing in your bed in the middle of the night. And it will be free.