Are Social Apps Over-Hyped?

We will soon approach the six-month anniversary of the Facebook platform. By that time, close to 10,000 applications will have been launched a few of which will have experienced phenomenal growth, the majority of which will have failed to turn their developers into overnight rockstars. By the time the six-month anniversary rolls around, hopefully a few of the OpenSocial platforms will have launched. Chances are, most will not.

Just a few months back, many of us that became part of this Facebook ecosystem were preaching that soon enough the golden apps of Facebook would arrive. While I have seen two that may be those golden applications (Restaurants and CourseFeed), neither of those apps have sparked a webwide revolution. Perhaps my expectations of the golden application were overblown or perhaps those applications are still under development.

Whatever the case may be, it is only right to at some point ask if much of what is taking place is simply hype. Once OpenSocial stabalizes and becomes a viable distribution channel for social application providers, will all the web products suddenly become widgitized or converted into social apps? While I believe that RockYou, iLike, Slide and a few other teams of developers will eventually be able to successfully monetize their offerings, I am beginning to question the viability of social applications as a business. Am I being overly critical or are social applications really the hype of 2007?

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