The Platform Rush of ’07
Within five f___ weeks of Facebook Platform’s launch, we’ve already seen two of Facebook’s biggest competitors follow suit with plans for major new strategic initiatives to incorporate some of Platform’s most powerful ideas into their own services.
- Earlier this week, Reid Hoffman told Dan Farber that LinkedIn would be announcing platform-esque capabilities later this year:
“Over the next 9 months LinkedIn would deliver APIs for developers, ostensibly to make it more of platform like Facebook…”
- Today, Chris DeWolfe told the Financial Times that MySpace is basically going to follow suit and open up more than it ever has before:
“MySpace is likely to change its technology strategy to allow other online companies to ‘plug’ their web services directly into its social networking site…’The [Facebook] platform is interesting,’ Mr. DeWolfe said.”
With the advent of the Facebook Platform, many entrepreneurs have realized how much harder it is to convince people to build their social network on a new platform than to get them to share a new application with their network where they already are. Facebook has made that business model possible like never before. I expect the number of new “independent” social networking startups to decline dramatically in the coming months as a result.
As we witness the consolidation of social-graph building onto core networking platforms in the coming year, I expect many more big social networks to follow suit with much more open APIs. The Facebook Platform has helped those guys understand the value of building a third party application ecosystem around their “platform,” and they don’t want to miss the boat.