I am still a little fascinated by the Facebook phenomenon. More than 22 million users worldwide and it seems like most of my friends are using it, even the friends that almost never uses a computer. Facebook has been all over the news, and that’s why everybody in Norway are spending their time on Facebook instead of at the beach 🙂
When I heard that Google offered more than $2 billion to buy Facebook (I think that this was a few months ago), I couldn’t believe why Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want to sell it. He would probably not get the $2 billion for himself, but I guess that he wouldn’t have to worry about getting himself another job for the remains of his life. (If you want to read the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, you should visit Wikipedia).
My next thought was that Facebook must be earning a lot of money already, even though it’s a free service. And of course, they offer ads and with more than 22 million people, I guess they earn a lot of money from ads. But another thing that I didn’t know until yesterday was that they have a sort of a hidden feature that costs money for their members. Well, maybe not hidden, but I would never have guessed that I would have to pay for it.
I am talking about sending gifts to your Facebook friends. One of my friends had a birthday yesterday and I thought why not test Facebook and send him a balloon or something (just a virtual balloon)? I clicked on gifts and found the “perfect balloon” and tried to send it to him, but to my surprise I had to purchase it. It wasn’t expensive at all, I think that I would have had to pay $1. But why should I pay for a virtual balloon inside Facebook?
My friend didn’t receive any gift from me, but he received a congratulations and hopefully he was more than satisfied with that. I have a confession to make, if I hadn’t become a member of Facebook, I would never have remembered his birthday… because it popped up when I logged in at Facebook and there it was. I should probably have paid for the balloons just because Facebook helped me remember his birthday.
And today I know that Facebook is earning money from their gifts. I checked my mini feeds and two of my friends had received gifts in the past few days. And my guess is that whoever sent the gifts had to pay for them as well, but I am not sure if there is a such a thing as a free gift inside Facebook or not.
As far as I know, Facebook is earning money from ads and from selling virtual gifts. There might be other ways for them to earn money as well, but I haven’t found them yet. But just wait, they will probably explode their earnings in the next months or so… I am just waiting for some new features where members will go nuts about 🙂