Hi5 randomizes application gallery to give developers even exposure

Hi5 PlatformOne of the challenges of launching a social networking application platform is engendering a sense of equal opportunity for success on the platform amongst developers. While Hi5, MySpace, and others have largely achieved this by allowing developers equal access to the “sandbox” for a number of weeks, Hi5 has taken the additional step of randomizing the order of applications in the Hi5 app gallery. Instead of ranking apps by reach, Hi5 is giving all apps equal exposure until it determines an “engagement metric” to order applications by. Zach at Hi5 writes,

Our ultimate goal is to provide the richest, most engaging experience to our users.  To this end, we plan on offering application developers a variety of incentives/penalties for providing a positive/negative user experience…

At launch we do not have much data to work with, so we decided to provide a randomized application gallery until we have enough data to provide a meaningful sort order of applications.  We feel that this will provide the most level playing field initially and let the applications speak for themselves.

As soon as we switch over to using metrics to determine the sort order, we will offer an explanation as to how you can improve your engagement score.  The general guidelines we will follow should be fairly self-explanatory.  Actions such as installs, views and accepted invites will be positive influences, while rejected invites, blocked applications and removes will be negative influences.

Hi5 is earning high marks from the developer community for its Platform efforts so far.