Facebook announced it’s testing a new product last week.
What’s the product? It’s a version of paid messages within Facebook. Think LinkedIn’s Inmail, but for Facebook and an additional 800 million users and potential candidates!
Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with.
Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.
This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.”
A multi-billion dollar opportunity
Oh, please, if there is a Facebook God, please pick me for this test!
You see, I’m a believer. I fully believe Facebook is going to change the way we recruit talent in the future — the way we network to find referrals, etc. I’m also a believer that companies will pay billions of dollars to have this ability. I also, fully, believe that the majority of recruiting professionals out there will understand how to use this function appropriately. Plus, having a financial consequence will ensure this won’t become spam central.
Let me give you an example. I have a client right now looking for two (2) Human Factors engineers. They are hard to find because individuals in these roles are fully employed and get multiple contacts per week with offers.
We’ve had success finding good ones, but eventually even the best networks start to dry up. Facebook has an additional 500 plus, self identified HF engineers that I can find through a friend search – but I’m not connected to that. I can try to connect through a request, but they probably will say they don’t want to connect with me – and Facebook will slap my hands and warn they are going to kick me off the network.
If Facebook said to me – “Hey, Tim, for $1 per message, we’ll allow you to send a message to all 500 HF engineers ” – I would sign that check right now. Twice! And these 500 are just the public “self-identified” folks; Facebook has thousands more who have identified but not made it public. I’ll pay for those as well! So will most companies.
Think this isn’t going to happen, eventually? You’re wrong; this is a multi-billion dollar opportunity – every year.
Why this won’t be seen as spam
You know what else? It won’t have any impact to your Facebook experience. While it sounds like a spam nightmare, it won’t be.
First, these are directed ads for specific people, not everyone. So, Charlie working the friers at McDonald’s can calm down — I’m not sending you any messages.
Second, these directed ads cost money, so companies aren’t going to be sending millions of these messages that they can’t afford. This isn’t a shotgun strategy, this is a sniper rifle strategy.
Facebook – call me. We need to talk!