As technology becomes more digital, making written journals and printed photos obsolete, companies are looking for better ways to make a profit off of their Web site’s services.
Kodak Gallery’s new online rule has some customers in shock.
According to an Associated Press article, if users don’t pay the new fee for what used to be a free online photo-album service, the company will delete all its members’ photos.
This fee can range from $4.99, the price for storing pictures that require less than two gigabytes, to $19.99, if members store more than two GB of photos.
However, if customers purchase a product within this set standard, their “free” photo storage will be fine.
Kodak is not the only company to start charging its users in hopes to a make profit, after covering the cost for sites and services.
According to a Reuters article, Newsday, a newspaper that serves Long Island, N.Y., and the surrounding suburb area announced it will soon phase into charging online readers.
Because of the decrease in bought papers and increase in online browsing, newspapers are reverting back to offering its articles only for its subscribers.
Other Web site utilities, such as social networking services and journal and blogging Web pages, are starting to test the waters with a membership fee.
But the biggest concern that has rippled rumors throughout its network regards the social networking utility Facebook.
Farhad Manjoo, author and staff writer for slate.com, wrote an article on how Facebook could soon charge its high-activity users, that is, those who have many friends and applications.
Charging for its services will make the site better profit than what it makes from mostly advertisements.
However, Manjoo said in an e-mail interview that he does not think Facebook would thrive as well if it did start to charge its members.
“It seems natural to me that if Facebook did start charging, a lot of people would quit,” Manjoo said. “And because Facebook works better as more people use it, its utility would decline if people quit, and that would make paying for it less attractive.”
Kathryn Modeer, a junior in economics, said she would not use Facebook if the Web site started to charge a membership fee.
“The reason so many people use Facebook is because it’s free and easy to use,” Modeer said. “I couldn’t justify spending money on Facebook, because I can talk to my friends in real life. Facebook just helps me keep in touch with people I haven’t seen in a while. If it costs money, I might as well write them a letter.”
Despite the growing rumors, Facebook has not made a move toward adding any new fees.
Kathleen Loughlin, a representative for Facebook, only shared a statement from Facebook explaining where the network stands right now regarding charging a membership fee.
“We’re not sure where these rumors come from, but Facebook is a free service to users, and we intend to keep it that way,” Loughlin said. “In fact, the Principles we’ve proposed to govern Facebook state: People should be able to use Facebook for free to establish a presence, connect with others and share information with them. We charge for advertising services and we certainly don’t want to rule out exploring other types of commercial services at some point.”
Though most of these Web sites’ move toward a membership fee irritates browsers who have enjoyed the benefits of free Internet, for companies the new fee will make up for the costs to upkeep their Web site’s services.
For now, browsers might just have to wait it out. Though window shopping has always been free, businesses are redressing their models, making changes for their budgets and their customers.