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Facebook offer: Pay $2 to promote your posts

A view of and Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen May 10, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Kai Ryssdal: T-minus seven days and counting now until the most eagerly awaited IPO of, like, forever.

Talkin' Facebook, of course. But let's step back from the hype -- if that's possible -- to check on the actual business model. You know the phrase "penny for your thoughts"? What about two bucks?

That's how much Facebook is asking users to pay to promote their thoughts or posts. Pony up and your updates will get bumped higher in your friends' news feeds. So, who among you 900 million Facebook out there users would pay?

Marketplace's Sally Herships logged in to find out.


Sally Herships: Excuse me. Can you hear me? Are you even listening?

Ever wish you get could people’s attention? On Facebook, I mean. What if all it took was $2? Would you pay?

Drew Avril: I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t for several reasons.

Drew Avril is a Facebook user in Brooklyn and a public relations professional.

Drew Avril: One, as a person I don’t have anything that is so important as to pay for that I need all 400 of my friends and my family to know that instant.

And two, Avril says he doesn’t want to be that guy. You know, the one who you block because all those posts are getting annoying. But for businesses, getting attention is crucial. And all Facebook is asking is two bucks.

Patrick Pezzati owns a chain of record stores in Massachussets. The Facebook page for his company, Turn it Up, has an audience of about 9,000 people.

Patrick Pezzati: Let’s say you just got a really cool record in, that’s a $30 record. You pay $2 to make sure a whole bunch of people see it. That’s definitely worth it.

It’s not yet clear what you get for $2, how high your post appears in your friend's news feed or for how long.

David Bell teaches marketing at Wharton. He says by charging ordinary users Facebook could make their posts seem more valuable. And he predicts that yes, regular people, not just businesses will also pay to post.

David Bell: Well I think this is the great thing about the Internet. There’s so many people out there, there’s one or two million people that might do it. 

 And that’s all Facebook needs to turn $2 into millions.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.
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