How Friend FAQ Became A Facebook Hit

One application that has been surging over the past week despite Facebook killing off notifications is Friend FAQ, an application that asks you random questions about your Facebook friends. The quiz idea behind the application has been used multiple times in the past, however this one has grown to be a big through an interesting game dynamic.

How Friend FAQ Works

Friend FAQ is a simple Facebook application which gets users to answer random questions about there friends. Whether it’s questions about an individual’s attractiveness or questions about bad habits of there’s, the questions are usually compelling enough that you want to click. If you’ve seen random posting published on your wall which say things like “Mary just answered the question ‘Do you think Nick is cute?’ Click here to find out what she said.”

Then, in order to find out the response to the question, you need to answer 50 questions. After visiting the application you’ll also noticed that numerous people have answered other questions about you, enticing you to respond to more questions in exchange for points. The process is effective enough that users are willing to answer questions. The result is that the system is populated with responses for the next friend of yours who visits the app.

Optimizing Friend FAQ For Growth

Friend FAQ is extremely clever and it also integrates a number of gaming techniques that entice the user to keep playing long enough that they get 20+ answers into the system. While I’m not sure how long this application will be around (since the novelty of it wears off almost instantaneously), it has been effective at attracting over 3 million users a day at last count.

There are a number of features that drive users to Friend FAQ but there are two primary tricks that are used to drive their growth:

Earn Points To View Answers

The greatest driver behind the growth is the application’s ability to pre-populate numerous answers in their database. Once a user visits the application for the first time, they will notice that there are multiple people who have answered questions about them. In order to view who answered a question about you, you’ll need to answer 50 questions in order to earn 50 points.

While you can complete offers or pay for responses, the idea that for each answer a person views, they put 50 question responses into the system practically ensures that there will be answers in the system the moment a user visits the application.

Extended Permissions

By prompting users to grant extended permissions which include enabling the application to publish stories on behalf of you, these applications spread through user profiles. While many users are educated about Facebook’s extended permissions, many users still don’t understand what they mean. As a result, they grant the application access to publish on their wall and it instantly spreads.

Numerous Copycats

The result of all this growth is that numerous copy cats have followed suit. The company (or individual) behind this application has also duplicated their application and is running it as “Friend Quiz”. Nobody really knows who built the application and the developer has done everything in their power to protect themselves from being tracked.

While the application may not exactly be adding much value to the Platform ecosystem, the developer behind this application could easily be generating tens of thousands of dollars a day. It seems as though no matter what system Facebook puts in place to make the system more transparent, users continue to grant extended permissions to useless applications.

The bottom line is that you can’t protect users from themselves. For a small group of developers, this flaw in the system has been and will most likely continue to be a source of significant income for at least the foreseeable future.