I Hope My Competitors Develop Apps for Facebook

Facebook Apps look like a waste of time and resources to me. Working with the community makes sense, spending lots of resources to develop an app for the community, doesn't. Here are the reasons why.

The Illogic of Facebook Apps

Recently, I've read that many prominent techologists and reviewers of the Internet space have likened Facebook apps to the next big thing.  I think this is the wrong view of what is happening on Facebook and shows the hype that swirls around web 2.0 products and services.  It's important to separate the reality from the hype.

Water through the Dam

Some initial Facebook apps have met with tremendous success but this is like the first bursts of water through a dam.  The initial surge is powerful since the pressure needs to equalize.  But once a volume of water has made it through and the pressure equalizes, the flow slows to a trickle.  As more and more apps pile onto Facebook, they will have a hard time differentiating themselves.  When users have to pick from a list of thousands of apps, how is any one app going to stand-out?  Will the time spent developing the app be worth it and how many apps will really see such large increases in users.  Probably not many.

Changing Nature of Facebook

I watch my wife use Facebook and she is there to meet and stay in contact with her friends, not download some fancy application that clogs here screen.  The attraction of Facebook was always that it was a clean, safe, easy-to-use system to connect with a "trusted network."  Apps seem to run counter to the very elements that made the site successful.

Monetization

How can those apps that are successful make money?  Is Facebook going to revenue share with the app developers?  What will Facebook allow?  If you're going to commit time and resources to developing on Facebook it would be nice to know how the game works.  I personally wouldn't want the fate of my company or a revenue line controlled by the whim of Facebook management.

Why A Closed Community?

Facebook and MySpace seem like a throwback to the good ole AOL days.  Let's create a walled community separate from the Internet and develop our own applications, etc.  In the short term, it may work.  But there is no way Facebook developers can develop their platform as fast as the rest of the Internet.  As a result, Facebook's platform will fall behind and become an increasingly less-attractive place to develop an app on.  If you have the entire Internet, why wall yourself off on Facebook.

I hope my competitors develop apps for Facebook.  While their wasting their time, I'll be developing apps for my own website, where I keep the advertising revenue, have control over the platform, keep my brand equity, and maintain the flexibility to link to Facebook and any other site as I want.  And if/when Facebook goes down or peaks, I can move onto the next site.

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    June 26, 2007

    I haven't used Facebook although I've heard a lot about it. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    June 26, 2007

    I'm not sure I agree. If there are a ton of people on Facebook and more coming on every day, you need to be where those people are. It seems like you'd be handing your competitors a gift.

  • Anonymous

    June 26, 2007

    I think you're strategy is smart - for you. Businesses need to differntiate themselves. If everyone made a mash rush for Facebook then consumers wouldn't have a choice. There isn't a right or wrong answer. I think a company can survive and thrive both ways.

  • Anonymous

    June 26, 2007

    Your strategy makes sense to me. Good luck with it.

  • Aaron

    October 10, 2007

    Facebook allows app developers to keep 100% of ad revenue and any other revenue generated by their apps.

    Facebook also has a built-in user base and tools for virality, marketing, etc.

    While it's easier to develop certain applications on a regular web site, how do you plan on competing with the built-in marketing and communication features?

    Also, most Facebook apps aren't making money - just the way most web sites don't make money either. So there's really no difference there.

    Your dam analogy is ridiculous. Can you explain why it's like a dam? Like, with examples? Besides SuperPoke? The majority of early web sites were pretty useless, and it took a few years for people to figure out how to make the web into a truly useful platform. It took two and a half years between the initial release of Mosaic and the opening of eBay. It was another two years before the internet's killer app, Google, went online at google.com.

    This is not to say you're completely wrong OR that Facebook is completely right and will succeed beyond their wildest dreams, but your arguments are fairly poor and unsubstantiated. Even if Facebook is right, we won't know for several years.

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