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Facebook is conducting “a small experiment” that gives selected users the option to pay to send a message to the primary inbox of another Facebook user even if they aren’t “friends.”

But how much would they have to pay, exactly?

In its post announcing the experiment, the company didn’t say what it would charge for the messages, but many sites reported that it would be $1 each.

Well, how about $100 instead? That’s the offer that television talent agent Micah Johnson says he saw on Facebook when he tried to send a message to a non-friend.

Johnson provided the screenshot above, plus another confirming that it was on the domain, and not a spoof site. It came up when Johnson tried to send a message to a fellow entertainment agent who has hit the limit for friends on Facebook.

Just to be clear, I’m not the Todd to whom he was trying to send the message, although this does make my head spin, thinking about the revenue possibilities for GeekWire. (Kidding.)

Under normal circumstances, a Facebook message to a non-friend would go into that person’s little-noticed “Other” folder, reducing the chances that it would be read. The idea behind the test is to help people connect in cases where it might not make sense to be Facebook friends, while making the system tough, economically, for spammers to abuse.

But $100 per message? Would anyone pay that? Maybe that’s what Facebook is trying to learn.

I’ve contacted Facebook to find out if the $100 option is a glitch, part of the experiment, or something else.

Johnson writes via email, “When I clicked on ‘send message’ – this is the screen I got. I couldn’t believe it!  $100 to send a message that would go directly to them instead of their ‘other’ folder? This is the first I’ve come across this  — and again — would have thought it a scam if I wasn’t on the direct Facebook URL.”

Charging to send messages to non-friends isn’t unprecedented in the world of social networks, with LinkedIn’s premium InMail features serving as a prime example.

If Facebook does actually try this on a wide scale, Seattle attorney William Carleton points out that the company should share the revenue with the target recipent. I’m thinking that the tech world’s traditional 70/30 split, in favor of the recipient, would be about right.

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