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I keep seeing my Facebook wall filled with people joining the group “I’m Quitting Facebook Once We have to Pay $3.99/month on July 9, 2010!” This movement has my curiosity about why someone would start such a thing. After some digging, I learn that it is nothing more than a scamming website that installs malware and spyware on your computer. It’s a clever lure because Facebook is such an integral part of how people connect and communicate that the thought of having to pay for it ignites an emotional response and an immediate alignment with the cause. It reminds me of the early days of the internet when emails were circulating stating the US Post Office was going to start charging for emails. Obviously that never happened but the hype was real; people were worried and ready to take to their local post office with torches and bayonets. Fortunately for all of us addicted to Facebook for both personal and professional uses, they would never charge a fee to their users. I should never say never but their revenue model is one based on advertising. They make money based on how many people see or click on the ads displayed on their web site. The more people on their site, the more those ads get seen/clicked and the more money they make. Charging a fee would significantly reduce their user base and thus the potential revenue from advertising. In an April 2009 Business Week interview with Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, she stated: “The answer is no, we are not planning on charging a basic fee for our basic services. Once again, that question stems from people thinking we’re growing so quickly, we’re running out of money. We’re growing really quickly, but we can finance that growth. We’re not going to charge for our basic services.”

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