Facebook testing a feature in which users can pay $1 to ensure that a message goes to another user’s inbox and generates a notification, as reported in more detail by Inside Facebook.
Messages from people a user doesn’t know often go to a mysterious “other” box and don’t trigger a notification.
The move brings it into direct competition with LinkedIn, which only allows premium users to message those with whom they aren’t connected on the site. It follows Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership with the Department of Labor, another step into LinkedIn’s turf.
Facebook stands to gain more time on site from users who use the social network to cultivate employment opportunities. Such a gain would be nice for Facebook, but it could be devastating for LinkedIn.
Facebook has a billion users, as compared to LinkedIn’s 187 million.
Currently, the paid messages are only available to individual users, not to brands. But if the company were to make the service available to brands, it would mean that companies would suddenly have access to millions of new email address with the option to simply pay a toll to get through their spam filters.