2 more Facebook Platform updates this week making it harder for developers

A couple more updates to report tonight…

1. New invitation limits much lower than expected

Facebook tonight announced that the new invitation allocation limits will be going into effect in the next two days. While this change was announced last week, new information we’re getting from developers points to this update being much harder on developers than previously expected.

When first reporting the change in app invitation limits, I said, “Assuming Facebook’s invitation limits are not on average significantly lower than the current fixed limit of 20, I imagine developers of quality applications will accept these changes.” It now looks like that first assumption is not the case.  Instead of the average number of allowed invitations per user per day staying at about 20 for most, most developers are seeing allocation limits of 8-12 invitations per day, with the highest reported number at just over 20. (What are your limits looking like?)

This change will likely have a big impact on the growth of applications in general – most significantly on those that rely heavily on invitations/requests. The most common complaint I’m hearing from top developers is that while this change definitely curtails the ability of low quality apps to spread, it doesn’t allow high quality apps enough channel access to thrive – instead, it punishes everyone. Hopefully, this change is just a stepping stone to a more optimized solution that offers greater reward for applications that foster high quality, high conversion invitations.

2. More prominent links for disabling application emails

Facebook also announced tonight that the application email template has changed such that the link that allows users to disable further application email contact now appears at the top of all application emails, instead of at the bottom like it currently does.

While not as significant a change as lower than expected invitation limits, this change will inevitably lead to a higher email unsubscribe rate than before, and for applications delivering quality emails, a poorer user experience.

Ultimately, Facebook faces a very difficult challenge in tweaking the Platform to always align its “user experience” priorities with developer priorities, when the behaviors demonstrated by app developers vary so widely. However, this week’s changes seem to have developers a little more worried than usual.

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