I just paid $38 to Facebook to promote a post I wrote in Spanish about the iPad Mini and Surface. I did it because I find the business model kind of absurd but want to understand what the rationale behind this is. I also did it because I was surprised the price was $38, like the failed IPO price. You would imagine that Facebook would have given up on charging $38 for anything and I wanted to see what I would get for $38.

I still think that Facebook should offer a $5 per month no ads version of its service. I dislike the fact that Facebook gives me the service for free and is always trying to think how to milk me as a user an activity for which it has an incentive to invade my privacy in all sorts of way.  Especially in trying to make me as public as possible to sell me as a product to others.  Facebook’s ads are so irrelevant, so much worse than those of Google, so irritating.

And there is the language issue as well. I hope FB realizes that my post is in Spanish and does not spam everyone who reads in English with it. I know this sounds absurd and it is so easy to recognize languages. SpotRadio and RadioMe, apps that I developed for Android do this very well on the fly and for many languages at the same time. But Facebook frequently shows me ads that encourage me to learn Spanish. So how aware is Facebook of who I am? It also frequently shows me great looking women with no friends in common with me to befriend and ads for all sorts of ways of meet women even though I am happily married and said I found those ads offensive.

I should have said this at the beginning, I am debating to buy shares in Facebook which has an incredible asset but so far does not know how to monetize it. I bought at $25 but sold at $22 not convinced because all the well known insiders are selling. So I have decided to do this $38 experiment to test a part of their business model. Especially since ads on the web are so easily blocked with Ad Blockers and ads on mobile are tough to monetize at all let’s see what happens.  Will complete the post later as I find out.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Michael Geer on November 4, 2012  · 

Although not a fan yet of Facebook’s execution, we proved at Badoo that their is an amazing business model in giving people more power at a micropayment ($38 is a bit high probably) price. I think Twitter should be looking at this and executing quickly, as it makes even more sense for them.

Facebook’s future as a company is more in its social graph laid over the rest of the internet, but as for monetizing facebook.com and mobile, I think this is a step in the right direction.

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Bruno on November 4, 2012  · 

I did a similar experiment a few weeks ago, for the same reasons. In my case cost was around 7$ so Facebook must be “ranking” user by reach.

The sponsored post reached only 7% more people. I also posted the results:


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@igll on November 4, 2012  · 

So, using extrapolation of Bruno’s results… 1% increment per dollar. Ha ha.

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