Yesterday, a number of applications fell victim to a random bug that unfairly marked a number of applications as spam. This bug affected applications ranging from Flixster’s “Movies” application which has approximately 360,000 active daily users to iDescribe which as approximately 21,000 daily users. The bottom line is that a significant number of users were effected by this bug. This is just one example of many bugs that the platform has been forced to resolve over the past 5 months.
Future platforms (including MySpace’s and competing social networks) will be forced to cope with similar issues. While these bugs can be significantly disruptive, Facebook is rapidly gaining ground as the dominant platform provider. MySpace, Bebo, Hi5 and all other social networks that plan on launching platforms are going to be forced to go through a similar process. While I am confident that many developers will cope, I’m beginning to wonder if developers are going to end up picking one platform over another.
While attending that Community Next conference a week ago, there was a similar theme among many of the developers: every Wednesday they would sit down at their computer to see if their application had broken. Each of the developers would proceed to resolve any issues. Blake Commagere, one of the few developers that building on the platform prior to launch, told me how similar bugs were a daily experience initially and there was absolutely no documentation to help developers build more efficiently.
While Facebook occasionally hits a bump in their platform, Facebook will continue to be the leading platform among the rest of social networks. The real question is if Google will be able to make a more efficient platform.