Facebook To Offer Open Registration

    September 12, 2006

Facebook may have its eyes on the prize – the social networking site, which was at one time open only to college students, intends to open its doors to everyone else, as well. This move could help Facebook reach MySpace-like levels of popularity, but many bloggers think that current users will resent the change.

Facebook users are connected by different “networks,” which, at the moment, generally correspond to the universities they attend. When the site opens up its registration process, new members will sign up through regional networks. Because members from different networks cannot view each other’s profiles (unless they become friends), this will keep a degree of separation between the college kids and the outside world.

That doesn’t guarantee that everyone’s going to be happy, though. According to several reports, the changes were originally due to be made this week, but have been delayed (until next week) after the hostile response to Facebook’s new feeds. Fred Stutzman, of the University of North Carolina, was quoted on Forbes.com about the reaction that might come as a result of this latest revelation.

“Facebook could be hurt when users start drawing comparisons to MySpace,” he said. “There’s a backlash with every change at Facebook – but this is now the point of no return. The Facebook users feel like they have ownership in the company. When they realize that they’re not the ones in control, it’s a real slap in the face.”

The move could, at least, make good financial sense. Pete Cashmore noted that the “big winner here would be Microsoft – the Facebook/Microsoft ad deal could turn out to be far more valuable than originally thought. That said,” he continued, “I can only imagine that users will react negatively to the move – coming so soon after the Facebook facelift fiasco, it seems like incredibly bad timing.”


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.