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Facebook is testing a way to 'highlight' your updates

Your Facebook friends could be paying $1 or $2 to get to the top of your news feed

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
May 11, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/26a1

For those people that really need there Facebook updates to reach all the people that once friended them, there is a new highlighting option being tested to assure that more than just the 12% of your social group sees what you have going on.

The new "Highlight" feature lets users (individual people, not pages or businesses) pay a few dollars to  make sure that a particular post or update floats to the top of their friends' walls.

Highlight is cleaning another branch of Facebook's growing revenue thee as the company gets just days away from going public but the really curiosity everyone has is whether individuals really care enough to pay for primo placement. There is also the concern that people may have a negative, visceral reaction to the idea that some of their friends are paying for popularity and population on their wall, rather than getting equal treatment.

Facebook statement about the Highlight feature is:

“We’re constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.”

It is questionable whether this option could materialize into any type of significant revenue driver, but the company is likely going to get points from investors for showing flexibility and initiative in testing it out anyway.

That investor confidence is also important now that the company is on its roadshow and this week had to update its S-1 filing to reflect that its mobile strategy has slowed the pace at which the company adds users and its not the booming revenue driver it hopes to one day be.

How it works

Those chosen for the test group simply go ahead about their status updates and posts, but when they are done clicking post, they see a box that offers the option to highlight their content (right next to the comment and like options). 

If a user clicks the highlight button, they are told whether the highlight is free, $1, or $2. While Facebook’s testing different price brackets, the user is instructed to use a credit card or PayPal, never Facebook Credits.

Highlighted posts can appear higher in the news feed, stay visible for longer, and appear to more friends and subscribers, but unlike promoted tweets or sponsored stories, there is no different color denotation that makes it look like an advertisement.

Since February's Facebook Marketing Conference when people learned that only 12% of your friends are likely to see your updates, many people have been wondering how to optimize that number for free or a service. Now it will be interesting to see if this is the solution.

 


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