Paywall necessarily refers to the services offered online on websites hoarded by millions of users. The only different between normal access and pPaywall is that Paywall referred to a paid service. For instance, to read the online edition of different newspapers, you have to get a paid subscription. That is what Paywall is about. Facebook has filed for IPO recently and soon will be on Wall Street indexes. This will put an additional pressure on the social network to make money every year and show profits and growth. So will Facebook expect the option of a paywall in future? And how viable would it be?
Imagine a Facebook where there are two types of users. One, who use Facebook for free. Another, who pay a monthly fee. You may ask that why would anyone want to pay for a service that is free. And the answer is that many Facebook users want no advertisements on their account. Some even want to be able to customize their profiles much more than Facebook currently offers. Facebook can offer all this against a nominal monthly sum.
You may think that this won’t work. But the fact is that this model of business is working all around the online realm. Take the example of New York Times. It implemented a paywall last year. Initially, critics said that this would make NYT’s online website a major failure. However, it was a huge success and NYT was able to attract 324,000 paid digital subscriptions in one year alone. That means huge year-over-year revenue for the paper.
Similarly, Spotify also starting offering additional services for $10 a month and this feature has been a major success so far. Hulu was able to get 1 million subscriptions for it’s paid service.
So the bottom line is that customers and users are very ready to pay for a service that really interests them. Facebook, naturally, is the hot-favourite star child of the social media. With it’s total user-base about to hit 1 billion, we can safely assume that hundreds of thousands of Facebook users would definitely want a premium account, something which makes them get rid of the ads and kind of sets of them apart. This is precisely what Facebook can cash on when trying to keep up with the expectations of investors after going public. However, this may be a move away from Zuckerberg’s famed ambition of keeping information free. But with so many investors staking their money on Facebook, will Zukcerberg be able to stick to his motto? We shall see in the coming days.
Image courtesy the sociable.