Craig Ulliott is a web developer in Philadelphia, PA, USA. 3 weeks ago, he built the Where I’ve Been Facebook application, which lets you create a map for your profile page showing visitors where you’ve traveled. Cool experiment, right?
Well, Where I’ve Been has struck a nerve with travelers, and now has over 400,000 users on Facebook! It’s creating serious challenges for Craig: keeping the servers running is getting pricey, and he’s not making any money from his app.
He recently wrote:
Well my application has become incredibly popular, and I’m very excited about it, don’t get me wrong!
But I’m a freelance developer, not a company, and its put a powerful 4GB $450 a month dedicated server on 3 backbones at maximum load and is pushing 2000GB a month in traffic. It doesn’t make me any money and I’m getting hundreds of comments and emails daily about it.
How can i support it and maintain it? What do i do with it now? its growing at a few users a second, so should i get another server each month?
Right now, Craig’s servers are holding on for dear life and he’s put out the donation hat hoping to get some help while he figures out what he’s going to do with Where I’ve Been.
This got me thinking: why wouldn’t someone come along and scoop up a few of the most popular Facebook apps on the cheap and build a little app network? (I’ve heard that RockYou and Slide are buying up apps, can anyone confirm this?)
Getting wide distribution within Facebook is harder than most people think.