1 Facebook friend = 1 cent off

How much is one of your Facebook friends worth? Sunday Pictures believes each one is worth 1 cent. For every Facebook friend you have, the company is offering 1 cent off your purchase of Andy X.

Here's a marketing trick that might make you wish you had more Facebook friends. A 40-minute film called Andy X (about the life of Andy Warhol) is available for streaming for $6.99. You can get a discount, however, if you sign in with Facebook: each friend is worth 1 cent. The maximum discount you can get is $4.00, so you'll still be paying at least $2.99. In other words, if you have exactly 400 Facebook friends, you're in the sweet spot.

Here's how the promotion works:

Special Early Offer: 1 Facebook friend = 1 cent off We're trying something a little different here. We're letting you pay to watch the movie by using your friends as currency. Simply login through Facebook to calculate the number of friends you have, and we'll automatically deduct one cent per friend from the $6.99 ticket price*. We're doing this because, as independent filmmakers, we rely on word of mouth to help get the message out. This way we can continue making films independent of the big guys.

If you like the movie, and what we're doing, please talk about it online and help us spread the word.

The discount is capped at 400 friends, or $2.99 ticket price. We do this in order to cover our online distribution and ticketing costs.

Before you hand over your Facebook account details though, make sure to read the fine print:

In accessing the movie:

  1. You are paying USD6.99 for access to watch the movie for a continuous period of 72 hours starting from the date of transaction,
  2. You may only download the DRM Free digital download up to a total of 3 times and no more,
  3. You must not attempt to circumvent, break or render inoperable any security measures on the website or embed or share the stream elsewhere on the internet,
  4. You may not distribute the movie on filesharing sites or services, or distribute the movie by any means, and
  5. Sunday Pictures is not responsible for any bandwidth or internet access costs incurred by the viewer in accessing the movie or the website.

You agree that we can may contact you via any personal details that you may have provided to us in the course of interacting with the website for the purposes of keeping you informed about the movie’s progress. Your personal details will not be sold or otherwise divulged to any third-party not involved with the production or marketing of the movieproject.

Call me crazy, but this hardly sounds like a deal to me. Even if you weren't handing over personal details for the sake of watching a movie, I'm not going to take advantage of this promotion. I think the value of a Facebook friend is a little more than 1 cent. I'm not sure how much a Facebook friend is worth, but 1 cent is definitely the lowest estimate I've ever seen.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, do you remember the December 2011 lawsuit involving an employee who built up 17,000 Twitter followers while working at Phonedog? Well, Phonedog sued him for $340,000, after requesting damages of $2.50 per Twitter follower. Again, I don't know how much a Twitter follower is worth, but $2.50 is pretty ridiculous.

The Facebook promotion is a novel idea but I don't think it will be particularly effective. The deal doesn't encourage you to actually do anything, and it discriminates against people with less than 400 Facebook friends for no good reason. Telling your potential customers they have to pay more because they don't use Facebook to a certain extent (or at all) is not a good idea. In short, nobody is going to add another 100 Facebook friends to save an extra $1 off their purchase.

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