Monday, February 26, 2007

Facebook insanity and other thoughts

If you are in college or recently graduated you probably know about, the site is a MySpace for college kids. The site was founded by a Harvard dropout and recently opened itself to people who don't have a .edu email address. There have been rumors swirling around for the past year that the founder is asking for $2,000,000,000 from potential suitors and that Yahoo is a potential buyer. Yep, that was 2 BILLION.

How does this relate at all to personal finance, it doesn't really unless you are the exceedingly lucky 20 something who stands to make scads of money if the site is sold. However, it made me think of a college roommate who used FaceBook as a fairly lucrative side business requiring next to no work. While it was a racket that paid off for him, I wonder how many other people have tried similar things.*

1) My roommate would create an account with one of the freeipod, freexbox, freewhatever websites there are hundreds of them.
2) He would create a short URL to forward to his freewhatever referral page.
3) He would create an ad linking to that short url on FaceBook and run the ad at large institutions where he could get good exposure.**
4) Referrals would sign up through his like and for a fraction of the product price paid to FaceBook in ads he would have a brand new xbox, ipod or other gadget in a few months.***

* I DO NOT ENDORSE MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING PROGRAMS OR ANY OF THESE MLM SITES, actually I don't endorse facebook for that matter either, it is the college student equivalent of crack.

**Previously FaceBook sold ads for a flat rate per school per day say $10 for 11,000 pageviews, now the site charges $5 for "fliers" which produce 2,500 views a day so I'm not sure if this method makes sense on FaceBook anymore but I would guess it could be applied to other websites with similar business models hitting the same demographics.

*** I can't imagine many of these websites have a business plan a strong business plan or are run by the finest MBA's in the country. Realize that the potential for you to collect is based on 1) if the freewhatever site goes bell-up or stays solvent, 2) if you can con convince enough people to sign up.