Would you pay, if Facebook decided to start charging a weekly, monthly, or annual fee? If so, how much? Be honest.
Consider Newsweek’s experience with what they call a “paywall” in online vernacular. The first attempt was an admitted failure, and the second shot at it is still far from good. Mainly what happened is a lot of people stopped going to the Newsweek website. You can’t pay to download a single story that you want to read; you’ve got to pay the monthly fee.
I read all sorts of stuff on my desktop computer and on my iPad. Newspapers, Drudge, Huffington, Slate, on and on. And it’s all free. I download the “ap” from the iTunes store and read away. On the first of January, a consultant whose stuff I really like put up a paywall. I’m not sure how it’s working for him, because I didn’t avail myself of the opportunity to subscribe.
I ask the Facebook question above, because I’m still intrigued by Facebook jumping into the sack with Goldmine Sachs. Goldmine is putting out an offering for “special investors” to buy a piece of the Facebook company. Facebook has 500 million “users” and annual revenue of 2 Billion. So, each “customer” is worth 4 bucks a year. (Do the math.)
So, the question I ask, again, is: if Facebook started charging, would you pay? How many of the 500 million people who use Facebook do you think would pay? 5 percent? 15 percent? If recent paywall experience is applicable, not very many people would stick around if Facebook started charging.
Which leads to the next question: what is Facebook REALLY worth, given a business model with so many users and so little revenue? If Goldmine is paying 375 million dollars for a stake of a little less than 1 percent, that makes Facebook “worth” about 50 billion dollars. (Do the math.)
And, my final question: have we learned ANYTHING from the financial meltdown that caused the recession we’re still in?