Free Facebook? The Free Web myth
In light of the recent scaremongerering of Facebook profile charges I thought I'd actually look at the concept a little deeper.
Fact: Facebook does technically charge you to use its services. As does Gmail, Google, Hotmail and almost all websites.
All these services and many websites now deal in an interesting idea of advertisement currency. This basically means a user unknowingly pays for such services without a physical transaction taking place.
Put simply we pay fo many services in life by being "subjected" to advertisements. So the uproar people have been talking about with Facebook rumours of charging users to have is false but partially true. A free service would mean no adverts wouldn't it?
Well it depends whether you see adverts as a nuisance or as a useful assistance for finding products or services you need or want. After all Facebook adverts are very targeted, from geographical location to your age, to the books you read, so they are specifically tailored for you. This sort of goes against the tradiitional viewpoint that adverts are a nuisance as we are used to being bombarded by often generic and irrelvant products.
Recently an estimate was made that each Facebook user was worth $300, although a possibly inflated figure you can see how you could view differently what is deemed as a free service.
I think if a charge was ever to be put in place it would be for the removal of advertisements and really just compensating the likes of Facebook for their loss of ad revenue. This is the priviledge UK citizens get for paying their TV license and thus the removal of ads from BBC TV and Radio.
It opens up the discussion further to the future of advertisements and the extent at which we will open ourself up to adverts in return for services. Perhaps we will be able to travel on trains and buses in the future for free or at least at a discount rate as long as we sit in sections which are in abundance of adverts.