Tag Archives: paid social network

Transitioning Services from Free to Fee – How Social Networks are Making it Work

By Kristie Dickinson

social_networksWhat would it take to convince you to pay for services on Facebook? What about LinkedIn? Or Classmates.com?

In today’s world of “try now, buy later” premium models, it’s harder than ever to sway social networkers to upgrade to premium services. There is certainly a recipe for success, but what is the secret to creating a win-win scenario for both the user and provider?

Dutch professors Marlene Vock, Willemijn van Dolen, and Ko de Ruyter attempt to answer this question in a recent article Understanding Willingness to Pay for Social Network Sites published in Journal of Service Research. According to their research, social networkers’ responses to premium service offers differ depending on whether they have already paid for the service before, and whether the site is socially or professionally focused.

Take Classmates.com, for example. For a social site like this, the study concludes that nonpaying members are much more likely to respond to premium programs that convey economic value, while paying members prefer to see social value from the service. Classmates.com, in particular, offers its All Access Pass to enable direct messages and provide more in-depth information to help users get in touch with old classmates. For those looking to re-connect with their high school sweetheart, or that brawny basketball player from algebra class, the All Access Pass may just be worth the price.

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