Would You Engage in Social Media If You Had To Pay? Google Thinks You Might

Tracy Sestili
Tracy Sestili Author | Strategist | CEO, Social Strand Media

Posted on November 11th 2013

Would You Engage in Social Media If You Had To Pay? Google Thinks You Might

Google plus custom URLA few weeks ago I started a Twitter campaign for a large B2B client and some of the feedback that came in was negative – not about the brand or the product, but about the ads. People were leaving negative mentions on Twitter and threatening to block or mark the company’s Twitter account as spam. This made me laugh because it’s not like Twitter ads are going away.

Then, another incident happened. Last week’s article on how to claim your Google Plus custom URL for your business intrigued my friend Debbie Laskey, who looked into it further. She came back and pointed me to Google’s terms of service, where it says that they reserve the right to charge you in the future for the custom URL. Say what?

GooglePlus_Charge_URLGoogle doesn’t seem like they need the money and frankly, as much as I love Google Plus, there isn’t a chance in hell I’d pay for a custom URL. I don’t think anyone would. I also don’t think Google Plus is in any kind of position to charge for anything when they are still building equity in the Google Plus platform.

But what these two incidents made me realize is that we take social media for granted. We think it’s going to be there and it’s always going to be free. But sooner or later, will it all go “freemium” or will you have to pay to opt out of social ads? Or pay to have a custom URL? Seems like a genius long-term marketing plan. But the question I think that none of these social media giants have the answer to is: Would you engage in social media if you had to pay for any of it? And would you pay for features such as: no/limited ads, custom URLs, all-in-one desktop?  Would love your thoughts on this.

Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili

Author | Strategist | CEO, Social Strand Media

Social Media Author, Speaker & Consultant helping small businesses, entrepreneurs & nonprofits with their social media strategy and implementation. I'm familiar with all things social media but my sweetspots are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Google Plus, and Social Analytics. My new book, Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field, is a great resource for small businesses and has built-in worksheets to help you build the brand you want with social media. I use this book when I teach in the classroom at San Francisco State University, AcademyX Computer Training, U.C. Berkeley, and Hult International Business School.

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Posted on November 11th 2013 at 6:21PM

Wow, I too looked past the fine print regarding charging for the usage of a custom Google+ URL. Thanks for posting on this subject, Tracy! Since social has always been free, it is hard to fathom actually paying to use the service. But I do think most people would - myself included. My guess would be users would have the option to pay for an ad-free experience (as many other social sites do this currently), which is far easier to use than the freemium model.