This weekend a colleague of mine and I began discussing the topic covered by Nick Bilton in his: Disruptions: As User Interaction on Facebook Drops, Sharing Comes at a Cost article at the New York Times.
This is not a new topic, Facebook charging for post promotion, it has been going on for well over a year. Similar to Mark Cuban bitching about having to pay $3000 to reach 1 million fans in a post, and yet he profited by selling last minute Mavericks tickets.
Facebooks pricing model feels out of whack, paying to promote a post in certain circumstances (i.e. I am selling something) makes sense and feels fair but not for the amounts being asked.
Individuals with feeds? I have not seen the ability for an individual to promote a post but that could possibly kick in when you have enough subscribers.
In one way - it's a new distribution model that began life for "free" but in order to sustain it's business, Facebook has added a pay model for elements like "fans" and "subscriptions" - Facebook (as far as I know) does not apply the same costing to personal Facebook accounts.
Is $50 - $3000 to promote a post to "fans" who explicitly subscribe to a feed unreasonable? Nick Bilton (indirectly) and the New York Times are directly profiting from that traffic as well, so crying foul over paying to promote does not make my heart bleed for him in any way.
I'm not 100% sure what the answer is, but I would say if you make money on it, then you should pay to use the service, simply calculate your ROI and stop your bitching. That's fair. The cost structure doesn't feel baked right now though, feels arbitrary and fairly pricey given I may post 6-7 times per day. Professional post promotion subscriptions or something?
Maybe, but I still don't feel much compassion for the professional journalist at the New York Times complaining that he cannot tout his article at no cost. Unless of course I can get my online and print New York Times subscriptions for free.