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Will Facebook’s IPO Lead To PAID User Accounts?

While Mark Zuckerberg and his investors are out celebrating their $100 Billion Dollar valuation Facebook users like us are left wondering…

….With all this pressure of being a public company now, is Facebook going to break their promise and start charging for user accounts?

It’s a valid question considering the fact that Facebook recently launched a new money making enterprise, where users can pay as much as $2 to highlight a post.  The idea of this highlighted post is that more users will get to see it and as a result you would get greater results from your post.

Now in a business context this isn’t a bad idea, but Facebook didn’t launch it to businesses they launched it to users like us. This is a worrying sign, usually services like Facebook charge corporate users so they can provide free services to regular users.  By doing this they can generate a large user following of which they then present advertising to, paid for by corporate users.

But this latest “highlighted post” campaign is raising concerns because it seems as if Facebook is ready to “over step” those boundaries and start monetizing their users.  Already they make on average $3.75 per user through advertising revenue and now they’re looking for ways to increase that.

As a shareholder in Facebook this is great news for you as it’s going to result in higher earnings and higher profits, imagine Facebook’s spike in revenue when they’re charging even just $5 per user per account.  As a user, if Facebook switches to paid accounts you’re going to have a decision to make…

…Lose all those photos, comments, status updates and friend connections on Facebook or pay for your account.

You see, this is where Facebook is sneaky; they have you so invested in your Facebook profile that they know a high percentage of users would pay as they don’t want to lose their “emotional investment”.  The longer you’re a user on Facebook the more likely you are to “pay to stay”.

Now we don’t know about you, but this seems like a “sneaky tactic” where they are sucking you in with a free account, and then using their IPO as a reason to make you pay.  Hopefully, with all the user backlash about the “highlighted posts” Facebook has shelved their ideas for user monetization for a little while…

…But some bloggers are reporting that Facebook actually makes a tidy income from their highlighted posts test, which as you know, will only lead to a roll out of that functionality.

Let’s face it, Facebook has never really cared too much about what users think and say, they just force the changes on you and require you to “fall into line”.  Do you remember the back lash about the latest time line changes?  What about the user uproar over privacy policy changes?

It seems as if Facebook is happy to let user outcry over planned changes to fall on deaf ears.  You see, they know they’ve got you “hooked”, so while you’ll complain a little bit, for a little while, ultimately you’ll go quiet and put up with the change!

Well we can tell you if Facebook tries to monetize their users and make us have paid accounts, there’s a few users right here on this blog who aren’t going to “fall into line”.  While we love Facebook, we’re not “hooked” enough to want to pay to socialize with our friends – especially when they’re already making billions from us.

Join us in the comments below and let us know, are you going to pay for a facebook account?

UPDATE: It seems even more likely to Facebook will push forward with some style of further monetization of the site in the short term.  With Mark Zuckerberg losing $2 Billion Dollars over night and the share price dropping as low as $34.  Not a great start for a new share listing…