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Facebook Announcements puts advertising in the hands of college kids

Thu, 01/19/2006 - 19:57 -- rprice

I am a semi-recent college graduate: I have been out of school for almost 2 years now. After I left school, all of my friends got into this social networking site called the Facebook. The facebook has been featured in several technical and business publications, and that kid Mark Zuckerburg is worth millions of dollars now. It's a nice tool, but I noticed something very interesting about it today: any student can post a bulletin, but here's the kicker - you have to PAY for them.

In order to be on the Facebook in the first place, you must have an email address from your college (or high school). This means the user base is tightly restricted to students and staff. The original idea behind the service was to be able to see a picture of everyone you had class with, in case you needed some notes or their email. When you log in to the service, you are notified of any private messages you may have recieved, any event invitations people have extended to you, birthdays, and "pokes", which is a way of getting someone's attention without sending any text. On that same login screen is an announcement box, letting you recieve a message only your schoolmates can see.

Facebook AnnouncementsFacebook has no other form of mass email or bulletin sending, unless you are in a group, in which case you can send a message to all the group members, and then only if you are an administrator of the group. Several other social networking sites have bulletins you can post to everyone on your friends list, but none of the services I know of allow you to broadcast a message to an entire demographic group in a small geographic area.

Clearly, the Facebook gods see the incredible advantage such a service offers, not to mention most Facebook users log in to their account one or more times per day to check for messages and pokes (they say most announcements will be view 3-6 times by each person on a given day). They have therefore chosen to charge an amount per day for Announcements based on the number of eyes that will see the message. For UCF, they assume 53,000 fresh faces, so you pay $16 for every day your announcement runs. Smaller schools are less expensive, but few schools cost more, since UCF is so large. Some schools are as high as $18 to $20 per day, but most schools can expect to pay $9 to $11 a day.

Did I mention you can make your announcement to as many schools as you'd like? The form allows you to add other schools besides your own to the list, making this a great advertising tool, or just a good way to get 53,000 people to hear about your party. The possibilities are limited only by your wallet. Good work, Zuckerberg

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