Monday, October 26, 2009

Social Networking: free vs. paid.

I keep getting emails from that tell me that someone checked my profile or left a message on my account or whatever.

But I can't access any of that stuff for two reasons:
  1. I can't remember my log in info.
  2. You need a paid subscription to access the useful stuff like who checked my profile, etc.
Classmates could have been Facebook if they'd had a different business model. The company profile says, "..the company serves more than 40 million registered accounts, including 3.5 million pay accounts as of March 31, 2008.." So with a simple change they can get their 40 million registered accounts to use the service more if they would remove the fees.

Or not. I don't know. I don't know if this information would discourage most of us from using the service:
"The company's success is driven by its expertise in growing and monetizing large audiences in a cost effective manner and enabling advertisers to reach online consumers effectively. Large membership bases and rich databases of member information provide Classmates Media with a significant competitive advantage.
Yeah. I don't like the sound of that "rich database of member information" thing. I was just wondering why some services are free and some are paid and how a company decides which is the best for it.

Facebook has over 300 million users worldwide, but still hasn't made any money. "Mr [Mark- founder] Zuckerberg had predicted earlier this year that the group would be cash flow positive 'sometime in 2010'." [source: The Independent. Nick Clark. Wed, 16 Sep 2009.]

So Classmates says it makes money off of its 3.5 million paid users, but Facebook can't figure out how to get his 300 million to cough up five bucks apiece. Don't ask me to figure it out. Maybe you library school students can do the research and write a paper on this. Oops, it looks like it's been done, here and here and here (yes, that last one is The Onion). Too late.