Facebook May Let You Pay Your Way Out of the ‘Other’ Inbox Purgatory

Show them the money.

You know who. (Photo: flickr.com/prospere)

You know who. (Photo: flickr.com/prospere)

Mark Zuckerberg is on an absolute roll this week. First, he was forced to withstand abuse from scores of outraged Instagram users. Then, word escaped that Facebook is plotting the introduction of video ads (with autoplay!) into your newsfeed, inspiring at least one outraged user to threaten to flee into the waiting arms of Myspace.

And today, the company announced a new feature, currently being tested on a small group of users, that would make it easier for randos to reach you–and for you to reach randos. For a price, of course:

“Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals [Ed note: LOL.] to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with.”

So if you really want to track down a potential employer, you can cough up a little dough and maybe stand a better chance of your message getting noticed. Facebook hasn’t specified the cost, but sources tell AllThingsD it’s likely to be around a dollar.

Now, if we were paranoid, we might wonder whether this had been the purpose of the “Other” inbox all along. Although that would have required long-term strategic thinking, not exactly Facebook’s strong suit. Cough, mobile, cough. Facebook argues this plan cuts down on spam, pointing out that it will only apply to personal messages. For now, they’ll limit the number of bumped messages to one per week per person.

What does that sound like? Oh, right: LinkedIn, the social network that’s actually fared well since going public.