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Operating Systems

Would you pay $1 a month for Facebook?

Yes, Facebook continues to have meteoric growth. But it's also bleeding millions of dollars with no proven business model. So, how does it make money? One obvious way would be to charge a nominal fee per month. But how much is kosher?

CNET News Poll

Facing Facebook fees
How much would you be willing to pay for Facebook?

$1 per month
50 cents per month
Nothing--any fee will send me elsewhere

View results

As fast-growing Facebook closes in on MySpace in the U.S. in terms of unique visitors later this year, it's burning through millions of dollars a month (some claim it's as high as $20 million), with no magic levers to reverse the trend in the short term.

In November 2007, when Facebook took a $240 million stake from Microsoft, the investment was at a $15 billion valuation. Now it's down to $4 billion and probably less. As Caroline McCarthy reported a few days ago, rumor has it that "one potential investor submitted a term sheet for a valuation in the neighborhood of $2 billion."

As Facebook works its way toward a probable IPO, the big question is: how can it show it can make money? Well, one way--and I'm not the first to suggest it--would be to charge a nominal monthly fee. With that in mind, I ask a simple question: how much would you be willing to pay to use Facebook per month?

A lot of people I ask say they'd pay $1 a month--or, preferably, a yearly fee of $10 if paid in one shot. But some say they have Facebook fatigue and would rather quit than pay a dime.