A lesser read story from this week came from a statement from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has offered incentives to firms and individuals who create “innovative and disruptive programs” These “incentives” could mean payments of up to $250,000 for the right application.
The purpose of this investment, according to Zuckerberg, is to “support the ecosystem [of Facebook] and help it grow.”
Currently, there are around 4,000 existing Facebook applications already out there (and half of them seem to be on my profile!). I believe that encouraging further application development will simply encourage developers to quickly build and publish their apps. And quick built apps mean a degredation of the service.
The apps out there now are, on the most part, annoying. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they take up space on your profile, increase the length of your webpage exponentially – and all because someone wants to dress as a pirate and steal your coins.
Granted, there are some applications that are worthwhile – scrabble is enjoyable and simple to use – but these are the exception rather than the rule.
There is also a caveat in the application process that states that developers must not have accepted any venture capital money plowed into their business or plans. This will exclude financially-backed companies from hogging the review panel’s time. It also means that the bedroom-coders (whom are usually a little more imaginative) will have a fair crack at the investment available.
Certainly I’ve seen the job requests for FB applications shoot up on sites like RentACoder and GetACoder. So it seems that the wave has already started, and the one-man developers are already cashing in and creating some bespoke products.
This may be the saving grace for the whole process; though there is still a risk that we’ll end up with more applications that are a case of same meat, different gravy. The last thing that FB needs is a flood of second-rate new applications that annoy and confuse users (and by users, I, of course, mean me) . Still, the announcement has been made and we’ll have to see how much drivvel permeates through to the end user. Potentially, it could be a lot.
I hope not. Facebook is a great social networking site and the small annoyances of vampire bites, superpokes, hot potato tosses and being rated as “not hot” don’t detract from the overall benefit and usability of the site.
Time will tell, I guess. So, I’m off to turn someone into a werewolf.