“We have 3,000,000 users, now what?”, startup asks

Shortly after the Facebook Platform opened in May, Renkoo, a web service focused on improving the way friends arrange social events, created a Facebook application called “Booze Mail” that lets users give virtual drinks to each other. Like many other companies, Renkoo (founded by Adam Rifkin and Joyce Park in 2005) wanted to test the Facebook waters with an app related to its core off-Facebook service.

However, unlike most experimental apps, Booze Mail took off: it’s currently the 15th most actively used application on Facebook, with over 300,000 daily users and 3,000,000 total installations.

Like other creators of early successful apps, Renkoo is now unsure where exactly it will go with its newfound hit.

“The success of Booze Mail took us by surprise, and we’re still figuring out where the company and its products should go from here,” said Adam Rifkin, Renkoo CEO.

The question facing Rifkin is one facing several startups who now find themselves with multiple applications across different platforms.

  • Should the company focus on one platform/application over the other?
  • Can applications on different platforms be integrated without messing up both?
  • Should Facebook be used primarily as lead generation to a destination site, or is it worthy of more strategic focus?
  • What about other platforms, like MySpace and Bebo?

“Booze Mail on Facebook sends tens of thousands of people a day to Renkoo.com, despite the fact that we’ve made no effort to connect the Booze Mail experience to the Renkoo application. That said, we are in the process of building the booze-mail.com website so people can send Booze Mail without being on Facebook,” said Rifkin.

“But maybe Booze Mail shouldn’t be driving additional Renkoo usage since there’s very little overlap in the people each application appeals to.”

Like many social networking application startups, Renkoo must weigh the risks and benefits of different platform strategies. It’s a new dilemma not often faced by social services before the Facebook Platform.

“We’re likely to try everything, and see what the users show us they like through their behaviors,” Rifkin said.

What are your thoughts on what Renkoo should do?