What would you pay for Facebook?
I don’t mean if you a media conglomerate looking to write Mark Zuckerberg a big cheque, I mean if you’re a user. Nothing would seem to be the answer based upon the handful of Facebook Groups that have sprung up to vent anger at such a notion, with people claiming everything from ‘exploitation’ to ‘if it’s on the web it should be free’. One such group now has almost five and a half million members. But we needn’t start deleting our FB accounts just yet as CEO Sheryl Sandberg stated back in April of last year that their business is advertising.
This gets me thinking and not for one second do I imagine I’m the first to ask. Can you create an online business that doesn’t either mimic something done ‘off web’ like Amazon or Play.com or use online ads like Facebook or Google or Live or Yahoo? Is the answer subscriptions to content behind pay walls as proposed by the likes of NewsCorp? Or voluntary donations if someone thinks what you’ve produced is of value? Or some model as yet undiscovered?
About ten years ago I remember hearing Charles Handy talk about a world where the internet would make all content free…maybe we’re already on that journey.