The Developer Dilemma

There is an interesting dynamic taking place in the social web space: developers are being pushed to their limits thanks to the countless platforms that have launched. Only a few large players have been able to adapt. Companies like Slide, RockYou and iLike have enough development power to extend across multiple social platforms and while even their limits are being tested, they continue to emerge victorious with the launch of each new platform.

It isn’t as “smooth sailing” for the majority though. Smaller development companies are opting out of beta programs with Facebook Connect, MySpace Data Availability and Google Friend Connect because they are already stretched thin. It’s the fine balance between building your properties or acquiring new territory. It is a very challenging dynamic and since this space is so quick moving, even the largest players don’t have an amazingly strong foundation because they are too busy keeping up with the latest and greatest technology.

The bottom line is that there is now more opportunity in this space than there are developers to take advantage of it. This can be seen as both a good and bad thing. It’s great for those that are looking to enter this space, it’s bad from those trying to make money. When there’s so much opportunity to grab peoples’ attention, advertising (the primary revenue source for developers) becomes commoditized.

This does not mean doom and gloom even though this high speed industry leaves a virtual wasteland behind it as it tries to keep on the bleeding edge. Within this vast wasteland is the opportunity to build valuable communities that users feel strong affiliations to. Rather than just plowing through the virtual landscape to create wide reaching distribution channels, it’s time for the companies and developers to start building valuable content.

After all this time content is still king. The developers that continue to chase after the hot new thing that comes out every 6 weeks will lose. The main reason is that for the purpose of business, the internet is infinite and you can never adapt to all of the new tools and platforms. So set up that shop and start building valuable content, let the cowboys take care of the rest!