Monday, January 14, 2013

Ante up that $100 if you want to message Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

It's been known since just before Christmas that Facebook was experimenting with a new paid messaging system to ensure that a message you wanted to make sure was delivered to a user's main inbox got there, and didn't get dumped into his or her "other" inbox. The price point being tested was $1. What wasn't known at the time was that certain CEOs have a higher price.

On Saturday, we found out that all is not equal when it comes to the message fees: The price to send such a message to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is $100.

Without the payment, a message from someone who was not in Zuckerberg's "network" of friends or friends of friends is likely to end up in his "other" inbox, where low priority messages are sent. The only way to be 100 percent sure of getting out of that situation is the new paid messaging scenario.

It's true that there are other ways to avoid Zuck's "other" inbox even if your not a friend or a friend of a friend. If the social networking giant believes the messages are "highly relevant," it will place them in Zuck's main inbox.

For example, if you were in a group thread with three friends and a non-friend, and the non-friend sent a message to you, Facebook might allow that message to reach your main Inbox, because there is a high probability that you would want to see the message.

The odds, though, of you being in such a situation with the Facebook CEO are not too high.

As we said, this is really a variant of the previously mentioned $1 pay-to-message service. The company indicated at the time that it would be experimenting with other prices, but didn't allude to them being this severe.

Not all CEOs require payment to reach their inboxes. The late Steve Jobs was famous for sometimes responding directly to the emails of end users. Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, has done so as well.

In neither case, though, has it been confirmed the responses actually came from Jobs or Cook and not a subordinate tasked with that requirement.

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