Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirms over one billion #Facebook users today. That is an absolutely amazing milestone to reach since it first launched in 2004. Even as recently as January 2008 most experts scoffed at the idea that Facebook posed any real threat to social media “Titan” MySpace, which at its peak boasted less than 20% the number of users Facebook now has. While many experts thought MySpace was “too big to fail,” Facebook overtook them in April 2008 and has never looked back!
Now that Zuckerberg’s company boasts over a billion users, the pressure on Facebook to translate this milestone into profits will be high especially considering the company’s now infamous IPO. Some type of “upgrade” will be offered with new “bells and whistles” and perks for “premium” members, all for a reasonable monthly fee, seems inevitable. Unless Facebook miscalculates and/or pulls an overreach by charging for what users are already getting and have come to expect for free (Larry Page over at G+ would be the only one happy with that… then maybe G+ wouldn’t feel like solitary confinement for nerds), I foresee “Facebook Premium” being announced at some point in the next 12 months starting with those of us that have business or professional pages. In my opinion, this is a considerably better idea than charging users $7.00 to “promote” their status update to their friends and family on their personal timelines (possibly the most audacious move in the history of social networking… not to be confused with Facebook Ads which affords professional pages the ability “sponsor stories” which I think is brilliant*).
Let’s be honest with ourselves, when/if “Facebook Premium” is introduced, the reaction will be no different from every other time they have offered a new service, updated their TOS, changed the layout (like from Profiles to Timelines). Many will whine, complain, and threaten to quit (via status updates ON FACEBOOK!) but they rarely follow through. We are have become addicted to Facebook and, like cigarettes and heroin, most cannot kick the habit.
If the “drug addict analogy” is too much of a bitter pill for you to swallow, then maybe you’ll prefer my “emotional abuse victim” analogy… Are we not in a relationship with someone who fails to appreciate us, betrays our trust, abuses us from time to time, swears it won’t happen again, let’s enough time pass for us to drop our guard, only to hurt us again? And what do we do after being victimized? Turn to the person who perpetrated the abuse for comfort (ex: A real-world/FB friend is really upset over Facebook’s changed TOS/Privacy as well as the changes to Facebook-owned Instagram. How do I know? From her Facebook status! How else? LOL)
Unsolicited marketing advice from me to Facebook: When you do launch Facebook Premium, I would associate it with something a little more exciting than chairs and doorbells. I mean WTF? You just hit OVER ONE BILLION ACTIVE USERS and you announce that feat with this cure for insomnia?
Like other changes, there will be some grumbling, but I don’t foresee any mass exodus from this global, dominant, social media company. I also think $2.99 a month is an amount we would begrudgingly accept for “premium” services vs. the free accounts. Facebook’s coffers could potentially swell by as much as $3 Billion (USD) each month. If they are not considering it, then their CFO‘s replacement is the minimum remedy and I want a commission on the idea! What are your thoughts? How much would you be willing to pay each month for Facebook?
* DISCLOSURE: I use sponsored stories/posts and other Facebook Ads on various pages from companies, movies, TV series, artists, etc.