Users Vital in Facebook fbFund Winners Round?

You may have noticed that we here at had been reviewing the competing applications for the Facebook fbFund, which ended late last month. With over $1 million in prize money being allocated amongst the winners, this year’s fbFund competition let users vote for their favorite application based on the apps that made it to the second round. Last night we learned of the winners of the fbFund competition, which include GroupCard, Kontagent, MouseHunt, Weddingbook and Wildfire. Each application receives a $25k grant to built out their apps and businesses, which are rather reliant on the Facebook Platform.

It’s good that Facebook is continuing to award those developers that are taking the time to use the Facebook Open Platform, given the amount of research the developers are able to provide to Facebook. Not to mention the added benefit of extending additional “time-wasting” apps that Facebook members will use. Which is also why this year’s user-voted contributions are a large part of the fbFund round. According to Facebook, more than 180,000 votes were given up by 88,000 unique users via the fbFund’s own application, which aggregated and highlighted all of this year’s second round participants.

As one of the big differences between last year and this year’s rounds is the fact that application adoption has slowed from the initial response upon Facebook’s Platform launch, I think it’s all the more important to focus on apps that are appreciated by users as a part of a larger focus on the quality of the apps provided. What’s more, is that Facebook’s own product road-map will almost definitely be influenced by user reaction to particular applications, in terms of Facebook’s own potential plans for new feature roll outs or even an acquisition.

But will the presence of Facebook Connect minimize the importance of platform applications overall, and subsequently the fbFund itself? I think that while Facebook Connect is better suited for integrating existing third party applications, the Facebook Platform still holds a great deal of value for users and will eventually work more in tandem with the Facebook Connect initiative, with continued support from the fbFund.