MyGirlFund Comments on Facebook's New Pay-Per-Message Strategy

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Social network MyGirlFund argues that Facebook risks alienating users if its new interaction fees are structured like a penalty tax.

When you charge for a basic service without providing direct value in return, you're really just imposing a tax on your users.

Forbes reports that Facebook is experimenting with charging users as much as $100 to private message non-friends. MyGirlFund Director of Business Development Stefan Patrick says users are likely to rebel against the fee because it's structured like a penalty tax, with zero benefit to either message sender or recipient. "The message sender," Stefan explains,"has no guarantee the message was actually read by the recipient and the recipient doesn’t see a dime of the fee Facebook ostensibly collected on her behalf. Facebook wins, its users lose and social discovery is throttled."

Social network MyGirlFund has been charging male members a fee to private message female members since its inception over four years ago. According to Stefan, MyGirlFund's community is thriving and interaction levels are growing because it structures messaging fees in a way that’s a win for all of its users. "Guys," Stefan explains, "are only charged the 1 credit flat fee if they receive a reply from the lady they have messaged, otherwise it’s free. The lady who received the message and replied gets up to 90% of the message fee we collected."

Stefan suggests that Facebook should consider adapting MyGirlFund's messaging model. “Obviously we’re a minnow and Facebook is the Leviathan,” Stefan continues, “but we think they can learn from how we are facilitating paid-for interaction in an equitable way. A social network is only as good as the utility it provides to users. When you charge for a basic service without providing direct value in return, you're really just imposing a tax on your users.”

Stefan says MyGirlFund has created a comfortable adults-only online community that nurtures intimate relationships and enables men to enjoy virtual ‘girlfriend experiences’ with female members. “As a self-organizing community based on relationships, we’re more similar to Facebook than we are to adult sites,” Stefan adds. “While we charge for reciprocated messages, fostering free and open social discovery is a priority and we offer that with our free live chat feature and our open community architecture.”

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Brian Gross
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