Facebook to Charge to Message a Celebrity, "Partner Categories" Self-Serve Targeting Launches

Facebook begin charging British users up to £10 to contact celebrities, public figures or new people. Launches "Partner Categories", a new way to target ads to more categories of people. Adds What You're Doing to status updates.

Facebook has begun an experiment in the U.K. --where it is now charging users as high as £10.68 GBP (roughly $16 USD) for sending out message to celebrities.

Fans wishing to send messages to Olympic diver Tom Daley could be charged £10.68, while those hoping to contact author Salman Rushie could pay £10.08, according to the Sunday Times.

Facebook has confirmed its plans, and said the program is currently undergoing a trial, and is fouced on at preventing spam.

A spokesman fro Facebook said "We are testing a number of price points in the UK and other countries to establish the optimal fee that signals importance."

Adding, "The system of paying to message non-friends in their inbox is designed to prevent spam while acknowledging that sometimes you might want to hear from people outside your immediate social circle," he said.

In addition, Facebook is launching Partner Categories, a new way to target ads to more categories of people. For example, "a local car dealership can now show ads to people who are likely in the market for a new car who live near their dealershipm" explains Facebook.

Partner categories uses data from select third parties including Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon. And, it provides a number of relevant details for each category such as: how many people are in a category, some of the purchasing history that goes into them getting put into that group.

However, "No personal information is shared between Facebook, third parties or advertisers," the company adds.

For users, there are the inevitable pros and cons.

Facebook Partner Categories

"Our ultimate goal is to make the ads people see on Facebook as relevant as the information they see from their friends," Yvette Lui, director of global marketing solutions, global data & audience partnerships at Facebook, noted in a news release put out by Epsilon.

"Targeting features like custom audiences and partner categories help make this possible. Our partnership with Epsilon gives marketers a more accurate and effective way to reach the right groups of real people, which makes for a better ad experience."

Some 500 "unique groups" are already on roll (with more to come), which are descriptors that match up with relevant people among Facebook's 1 billion+ users.

Facebook says that advertisers can "futher refine" the categories by using other targeting options it already offers."

As with Facebook's other targeting ad-tech news, Datalogix, Epsilon and Axciom will be among the companies providing data to power the service. Datalogix alone says it will be providing some 300 of these audience segments.

Check it out here for more information.

Update 04/11: Facebook adds "What You're Doing to Status Updates," that lets people express what they're watching, reading, listening to, eating, drinking or how they're feeling in status updates.

"These updates, and the stories added to your timeline, respect the privacy settings you choose for your post," the company stated.

For example, "if you share that you're watching a movie like Jurassic Park, your post will contain the movie icon and a link to the movie's page. Jurassic Park will be added to the Movies section on your timeline. Today, TV shows, movies and books appear in those sections of your timeline," explains Facebook.

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