Facebook's announcement Friday morning is already causing a fuss online, they are testing a feature where you can message people who are not on your friends list for the easy price of 1 dollar. Of course, that's a low price if you don't live in a country where your average daily income is a couple of dollars a day - but we wont go there!
Outlets like Mashable have already pointed out that people like journalists would potentially be spammed with "pitches" - and why is this necessarily a bad thing?
Could this work via another means? For example, what if a person could set a price to contact them? or if a bid system was in place? What if they could SHARE revenue with Facebook for each message sent to you? That my friends would be interesting, you could essentially monetize your social capital on Facebook.
if Facebook decides to turn this test into a real feature - it should go all the way - and let users decide how much its worth to contact them or set a bidding system. The possibilities are endless and would no doubt open up a whole new phase to social media.
I for one would be open to charging people an amount to contact me, I would be curious how that would work in a bidding system as well. How much would you pay to message Mark Zuckerburg? There is an entire market here waiting to be exploited - Facebook is on to something.
On a side note, i dont know why everyone gets in an uproar when companies like Facebook or Twitter try to monetize their platforms - these are not public utilities, nor are they public goods. These are for profit corporations and if Facebook's stock price and IPO is an indicator, they aren't doing amazingly well at the moment.
I say open it up, let them innovate. Lets see what can happen if there are optional paid for services on these largely "free" platforms.