Having become a public company in May 2012, Facebook have been looking for ways to monetise its success and capitalise upon the billions of users the service sees every day.
The move, which would undoubtedly be seen as unpopular by many, will allow users to remove adverts from their Facebook profiles for a small fee. They would then be able to replace the ad space with personal stories, information or other customisable content.
“The user may select one or more social networking objects to replace advertisements or other elements that are normally displayed to visitors of the user's profile page that are otherwise controlled by the social networking system,” the application reads.
The patent is seen as a bonus for both paying users and the company as it generates direct revenue, while improving users' experience.
It's unclear if this feature will ever arrive or if it was just made to stop others from following suit. After all, it has been two years since the patent was filed – and it was before the company became public.
The real issue here is the consumer, it's rare that many consumers would put up with such a service from many other companies – can you imagine if Wikipedia made you pay to use its services (instead of asking you for charitable donations)? Many users would just up and leave the information service.
Facebook, though, are more than big enough to ensure that they can keep the numbers high while also pushing to make users opt in for the payment service.
Under the possible payment redesign, Facebook profiles will go from looking like this (click image to make larger):
To looking like this (click image to make larger):
Do you think this is a smart move for Facebook?
Will it just alienate avid users?
Could you see other businesses making use of a similar model in the future?
Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.
Loyalty World Mexico 2013 and upcoming Loyalty World Europe 2013 both tackle the issue of offering customers something in return for their loyalty – just like Facebook believe they will be doing with their new payments system. To find out the best way to capture, and keep, consumer attention, download the brochure and make a note of who you want to see.