Saturday, August 4, 2007

More Facebook

I got a couple of e-mails as a result of the Facebook posting. The general theme of these e-mails was: YOU ARE A TOOL, the applications on Facebook are awesome! Typically I don’t really care if anyone thinks I’m a dope, but I have to acknowledge my Facebook newbishness, and rather than just ignore it I went and investigated some of the applications.

There are definitely some cute and useful applications and as I wrote yesterday I already knew the photo and music sharing apps were popular. There are many applications to give your Facebook profile more utility, but none of them rocked my world in a “Oh My God, how did I live before that!?” sort of way.

I might be a tough critic here because I do love the iPhone, but even with all that the only thing that made me think, “How did I ever do that before THIS came along” is the Bloglines’ feed reader for the iPhone at . The reason I feel that way is because it allows me to process much more information faster than I ever processed it before. Nothing on Facebook is hitting me as that life-altering.

Still, it’s a GREAT set-up for Facebook. Facebook has effectively outsourced development at NO cost to Facebook. I see how that’s a good business model for Facebook: free development that increases the usefulness/utility of Facebook leads to more users using Facebook more, leads to…more advertising opportunities.

I’m not sure what the model is for the developers though, so I remain somewhat skeptical on the “Facebook is a development platform” front. The companies that developed the applications are largely transparent to the Facebook user, and there’s no mechanism (apparently) for the developers to advertise within their applications. It appears that the model on the developers side is to use Facebook to create apps that will be used by thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of users, and then figure out how to make money later.

I think I saw that movie already. It’s not a complete tragedy but as I recall, it was only a happy ending for a select few. I think one way or the other we can reasonably conclude there will be a happy ending for Facebook. But for the others trying to leverage Facebook’s coattails, I’m not sure that is a reasonable conclusion at all.

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