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Monday, July 23, 2012

Pay To “Highlight” Your Facebook Status

 A Reckless New Ads Test

If you’re in the test group and post a status update, you’ll see the “Highlight” option next to the Like and comment buttons below it. If clicked you’re shown the prompt above. Depending on what version of the test you’re seeing you’ll either get a free Highlight, or have to pay a dollar or two for the extra news feed prevalence. Facebook’s testing different price points, but users always pay with a credit card or PayPal, never with its virtual currency Credits.
Highlighted posts may appear higher in the news feed, stay visible for longer, and appear to more friends and subscribers. However, they’re not colored differently to make them stand out. And to be clear, this is not like Twitter’s Promoted Tweets which is designed for businesses. Facebook Highlight is for the end-user.
Luckily Facebook doesn’t seem to be betting the farm on Highlight, since the user who leaked the test was in New Zealand — a more isolated but English-speaking location where Facebook seems to test features it doesn’t want too many people to know about. That’s smart because it could erode the site’s sense of community. On Facebook, what’s supposed to matter is how interesting your posts are, not how deep your wallet is.