Facebook Email Test

By Pat Smith

There is a lot of talk about the Facebook email test which was unveiled the end of December 2012. The experiment is aimed at generating new revenue for the popular social networking group by assessing a $1 fee to send a message to non-Facebook friends.

For now, the Facebook email test is limited to individuals. Brands, companies, and fan pages are exempt, but likely to be included if the experiment proves successful. Individuals who are included in the test have the option to pay the $1 fee to ensure their message is delivered. Otherwise, the message sent to unconnected friends will likely end up in the "Other" folder.

Few people are aware of the "Other" email folder, let alone how it's used. Its primary purpose is to store messages that have been filtered based on personal preferences. Facebook provides two email filtering preferences which include basic or strict. Any messages that don't meet preferences are automatically sent to the "Other" folder.

Facebook users can change filter preferences by clicking on their Messages inbox and selecting the "Other" option in the upper-left corner. From there, users must click on "Edit Preferences" and choose basic or strict filtering.

Most people select basic filtering to ensure they receive messages from everyone who contacts them. Strict filtering limits contact, but doesn't prohibit non-friends from sending messages.

According to Facebook's Newsroom, the experiment is being conducted as a way to reduce spam. Users are less likely to abuse the system if they have to pay. Furthermore, those who pay the nominal fee are ensure their paid message will be delivered to the recipient's Inbox instead of being rerouted to the less important status of "Other".

While most people are not pleased with the email fee, there can be benefits to paying. A few reasons to remit $1 include reaching out to potential employers or clients. Another might be to connect with long-lost relatives or friends.

While Facebook messages will continue to be delivered regardless if users pay, most people find it unsettling to be charged for sending a message. Although Facebook is the premier social networking site, many people are looking for alternative ways to connect with friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Currently, Facebook is only charging individuals to connect with people outside of their social circle. Corporations and small businesses aren't allowed to send messages using the paid feature, nor can they send e-mails in bulk.

The Facebook email test is limited to a select group of users in the U.S. At this time, users can only receive one paid message per week. If they accept the message, the sender will not have to pay to continue communicating with recipients. Senders will not be able to contact recipients again if they do not accept the message.

Only time will tell how successful the Facebook test user email becomes. One thing is certain; Facebook is a public entity that must generate profits to stay alive. If users don't pay to use the service Facebook will find another way to produce income and it might cost a lot more than $1.

As the saying goes, it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. Companies that use Facebook to market their brand ought to diversify and utilize a wide variety of social marketing strategies.

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Published on December 14, 2012

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