Don't Bet Your Fortune on Facebook Apps

I hate to be the pessimist but I’m seeing the repercussions of hype that started when the Facebook platform launched. When Facebook launched their platform last May there were overnight millionaires created. Those millionaires and the many magazine articles that followed have been the source of inspiration for thousands of individuals that are now betting that their Facebook application will be the source of wealth for them. Everyday hundreds of applications are launched by a group of individuals expecting to attract hundreds of thousands if not millions of users.

For those entrepreneurial individuals I’m here to tell you that the land grab is long gone and the gold mines have been thoroughly mined. Many of the recently successful applications obtained large user bases by forcing invites. Those days are now gone and by tomorrow the days of 40 daily notifications are gone for most applications. Say goodbye to spam applications. Your odds of having success with a Facebook application is slowly approaching equilibrium with websites.

I am not suggesting that Facebook applications are no longer an effective tool for exposure but simply put, simple applications (that I call “kick apps”) won’t fly any longer. Instead we are going to see the emergence of a new wave of applications that are more robust and primarily funded by larger companies that have the advertising budget to play in this space. The days of a single programmer making a quick application overnight and obtaining hundreds of thousands or millions of users is practically gone.

The likelihood of obtaining a sustainable user base is slightly higher then the odds of you coming up with the next Million-Dollar Homepage. Is this a bad thing? Definitely not. I think this is great. We will see less developers that see this as a get rich quick opportunity and instead decide to build out valuable applications. This includes robust games such as Attack! and functionally useful applications such as Visual Bookshelf.

So yes, if you are willing to make the investment, I am confident that you can build out applications that will attract a significant number of users. Conversely, if you are an individual developer that has the “next best idea” you may want to seriously consider your strategy and think about how much time you are willing to invest before you dive in. I hate to be the pessimist but I’m confident that the most lucrative gold mines have already been mined on Facebook and now it’s time to start using real business logic for building a strategy.

Do you think I’m off here? I’m still bullish on Facebook but it’s no longer the land grab that it once was.