A lot of discussion has been going on in the Facebook developer forum about the possibility of Facebook applications hitting their peak. Much of this was in response to a blog post written up by Alec Saunders. Alec argues that thanks to the spammy tactics used by many application developers, users have become resistent to forced invites and application requests. One Facebook group, “No, I will NOT invite 20 friends just to add your application,” has attracted over 63,000 users.
Many applications, including Flixster, have been using extremely aggressive tactics to obtain users by spamming user newsfeeds. This has ruined it for many applications that have chosen not to resort to such measures. To argue that Facebook applications have peaked though would be foolish. If developers design useful and creative aplications users will engage with them and there is the potential for building a long-term user base.
Facebook does have a spam issue on their hands though and they are working to resolve the issue rapidly. In the past few months Facebook has made significant changes to the newsfeed, requests, notifications and all other aspects that support spamming on the platform. Over the next few months I would predict a reduction in the number of spammy applications on the site.
At the same time, developers will continue to release a large number of poorly designed applications. This is nothing new though. The web is filled with tons of junk and we are simply witnessing the same thing take place within the confines of Facebook.