Who buys facebook images?
Monday, May 28, 2007
Facebook is an interesting site, but only because of its users and not because of the concept. That is the case with some service offerings, though.
The genious of the site, I would think, has been timing. The concept is as old as a web page, however, going through all the motions of buying a domain name and paying for hosting services is still something that is not common knowledge to everyone. It is not hard to do or set up, but it is not as convenient as just creating an account and already have a web page.
I do wonder, though, why Microsoft did not think of it. Google is trying it, but it is not connected to a network of people. Classmates did it in the late 90s, but they tried to charge for their services. Geocities died a mediocre death, yet MySpace thrives in its inelegance. Even I tried it, with a social web site when social networking sites did not exist, but in the end we decided to pull the plug: there was no long term sustainable revenue model but we did have non-paying users (a few of them).
In some cases, it is the phenomenon of timing that saves the day.
What makes the site alive are its users, but I find it interesting that its users are willing to buy "images" as gifts to other users.
Yes, an image. It is something that does not exist; it is only a representation of a thing that lives as long as a computer can be turned on. The tangibility of an image can probably be weighted in the instant it is displayed on a screen, i.e., counting the number of electrons needed to be displayed at a certain point (yes, electrons have a mass). But paying for an icon to be displayed on someone else's facebook page? I do not get it. (Leave aside all the copyright issues, as that is another whole story.)
However, I do welcome the business models that will come up from this experiment. I do understand how the selling of virtual items in MMORPG
is so successful (after all, it is another personality that is created), but selling out of images that cost $1 to display on someone else's facebook page?
It feels wrong, but if the customer wants it the customer will get it.
Would you buy a facebook image? I hope you do not by me one.