It’s the Facebook Platform’s 3 Month Anniversary

Today marks the 3-month anniversary of the Facebook Platform since it launched May 24 at F8 in San Francisco. Suffice it to say, the pace of innovation surrounding the Facebook Platform so far is faster than that for any platform ever before.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to step back and take a look at some basic Platform stats and guideposts. In the first 90 days of the Facebook Platform:

  • 3,261 applications have been created and vetted by Facebook (many more remain below the radar). Developers from around the world and every level of sophistication are building diverse categories of Facebook applications. It is extremely cheap to develop and deploy Facebook apps.
  • 46 applications have garnered over 1 million net installations. Around 100 more have garnered over 100,000 users. Top Friends, the #1 Facebook app, has over 13 million users. Facebook is the most viral software distribution platform ever.
  • Several dedicated ad networks (and dozens of ad-hoc ones) have been built to connect advertisers with Facebook developers. Advertisers and publishers are eagerly experimenting with performance-based and brand marketing programs…developers are making money (and a few are making a LOT of money). The arbitrage market is volatile but stabilizing.
  • Investors are taking Facebook platform opportunities very seriously. Multiple venture capitalists have started programs specifically to fund and/or incubate Facebook application developers. Dozens of applications have been acquired by other application developers, Web 1.0 companies, media companies, and investors (…though few have been publicly announced).
  • Facebook is dedicating significant resources to serve and support the developer community. Developer Garage events are occurring around North America. Over 70,000 people have joined the Facebook Developers group.
  • Facebook has experienced no known major security breaches, despite opening the platform to anyone in the world.

Facebook has truly taken the social networking world by the <<>>, and the game is theirs to lose.

However, not everything is hunky-dory…

  • Developers are dying for decent Feed metrics. Right now, app developers have no idea how often their feed items are being seen or clicked on, so it’s impossible to A/B test or iterate. Facebook says they’re working on this, and hopefully better metrics in general will be available soon. Until then, everyone suffers from poorly designed feed items.
  • Investors are still figuring out how to value applications. What are the new kinds of special sauce? How do you measure engagement? User numbers are only a very basic start. The average app is getting somewhere under 1 canvas page view per user per day, and the strongest apps are seeing over 10 or even 20. There is a lot of risk in the market right now, but shrewd investors will be rewarded handsomely.
  • The APIs are still changing seemingly by the week. Just 2 weeks ago, Facebook made a major change to the FBML spec that impacted hundreds of developers with very brief lead time.
  • The TOS are still very bad for developers. The rug could be pulled out at any moment, and some very smart people are staying out of the game altogether.
  • Facebook ops have been sloppier than normal recently. An outage a few weeks ago made the site inaccessible during several prime daytime hours, and two weeks ago Facebook accidentally served up its source code

Overall, there’s never been a more enjoyable time to be an entrepreneur. So much is happening so quickly that’s accessible to so many developers and consumers. I hope the next quarter is just as fun as the first was!

[tags]facebook, platform, applications, awesome[/tags]

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Leave a Reply

11 Responses to “It’s the Facebook Platform’s 3 Month Anniversary”

  1. Jeremiah Owyang says:

    Great summary, thanks

    I’m amazed at then growth and am sure this will increase, we’re just at the start.

    I’m releasing a weekly summary of social networking activity in the industry, and will be sure to add your report to the list, see previous issues of the digest here:

  2. benlm says:

    There are lots of apps but I wouldn’t use the word “innovation”. Most of the apps are minor improvements to FB functionality or copies of other things. I haven’t seen any app breaking new ground.

  3. Global Nerdy » Blog Archive » An Unlikely Facebook Developer / The Facebook API’s 3-Month Anniversary says:

    [...] hard to believe that only three months have passed since the Facebook API was made available to the general public. In that short [...]

  4. Facebook Apps Get A Marketplace says:

    [...] Apps Get A Marketplace Posted by Michael Garrett on August 26th, 2007 It has only been three short months since the launch of the Facebook Platform, which gave developers an opportunity to integrate other [...]

  5. The Zone Read » Blog Archive » links for 2007-08-26 says:

    [...] Inside Facebook » It’s the Facebook Platform’s 3 Month Anniversary Facebook reports on its first 90 days as a “platform”: 3,261 applications have been created; 46 applications have more than 1 million installations; around 100 have more than 100,000 users. Top Friends, the #1 Facebook app, has over 13 million users. (tags: social networks facebook) [...]

  6. Their Facebook and Our Facebook: Same Place/Different Worlds says:

    [...] three months ago, another door swung open, Facebook Platform.  The results in numbers according to Inside Facebook are [...]

  7. Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: August 29th, 2007 says:

    [...] Facebook’s Platform 3 months later This article gives some great stats about the activity, feeds, applications, advertising, and other information happening on the Facebook [...]

  8. 3 Months + 6 Days into Facebook Platforms at Entrepreneur 27 Singapore - Web 2.0 Unconferences, Websites & Cool Tech from a Sunny Island at the Equator says:

    [...] InsideFacebook has a nice summary of the achivements of the FaceBook Platforms since its launch 3 Months and 6 days ago. [...]

  9. Mark Evans - Facebook: The New Goldrush says:

    [...] developers pumped up with Red Bull and Skittles trying to create as soon as possible. According to Inside Facebook, there were 3,261 applications created in the first three months after Facebook opened up its [...]

  10. Mark Evans says:

    Nice summary of what’s happened over the past three months. And good interview on NPR!


  11. Facebook 3 months on at pixelblog says:

    [...] This article gives some great stats about the activity, feeds, applications, advertising, and other information happening on the Facebook platform. Most interestingly enough, I believe we’re still at the start of something –orders of magnitude to come. [...]

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