Facebook’s stricter app regulations are a good thing!

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There’s some interesting data over on the 20bits blog, showing how the level of activity in the Facebook developers forum has been declining since the start of this year. There are 27% less active users now than there were in January on the developer forums, spurring fears that developers are abandoning the platform.

Apparently this decline is reflected in activity on the Facebook platform itself – apparently applications launched in early January were on average 1.5 times more successful than apps launched at the end of March.

Both VentureBeat and The Equity Kicker suggest that Facebook’s stricter regulation of applications may be part of the reason, as the site places more restrictions on how applications can interact with users. However, the latter blog points out that “the bull case for Facebook is that their actions have cut out low quality applications and that developer activity will rise again as they start producing better content”.

That’s certainly a view we share. As a games company creating high production-value games for social networks, we see stricter moderation of the platform as a good thing. It will help reduce noise for consumers, and get them to focus on the applications they enjoy using.

Over time, there is clearly an incentive for social networks like Facebook to support the kind of applications which help them achieve their goals – distribution, retention, time spent on the site and monetisation, for example – over applications that ‘game’ the system, and reduce user satisfaction through excessive spam or other questionable features.

We haven’t really seen an impact on our own numbers from Facebook’s recent changes. We just launched a new game, Word Challenge, and reached 100,000 players in less than a week. Meanwhile, our first title, Who Has The Biggest Brain?, is still going strong with more than 2.5 million players.

So, the Facebook platform is maturing, which is a good thing for users and developers should be thinking harder about how to add value to it. Facebook’s approach to building its platform has been very thoughtful to date, and this just seems the next natural step in its evolution.

Besides, if you’ve developed games on traditional platforms, you’ll know that the platform providers are far more restrictive about publishing for their system. By comparison, things are still pretty good on Facebook!

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12 Responses to “Facebook’s stricter app regulations are a good thing!”

  1. Jesse Farmer Says:

    Kristian,

    I’m the author of the original study. Thanks for the mention.

    I don’t disagree, actually. When talking about what is “good” you have to ask “good for whom?”

    In this case I think Facebook is doing the right thing for itself, which is only natural. But it’s important to realize that the ecosystem is changing.

    Facebook took too little action too late and now the only way to solve their “spammy app” problem is to hamper application development in general. The average fitness level of a successful app will be much higher, or at least they hope.

    The platform used to be about short-term value for Facebook. Heck, it’s conceivable it was an implemented intentionally the way it was to help secure their $15Bn valuation. But now it’s about creating long-term value, which means crap apps have to go.

    It’s also important to realize that Facebook can and has changed the rules arbitrarily and broken them for their own benefit. To me (and to many other developers) that’s a huge risk for such an immature platform. It makes no sense for me to be competing with Facebook on their turf. That’s mostly why I urge diversification.

    Just some thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Jesse

  2. The State of the Platform: Update | 20bits Says:

    […] the Facebook Platform has been spreading through the blogosphere like a game of telephone. Lots of people have chimed in with their own […]

  3. kristian segerstrale Says:

    Hi Jesse,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment and also for the great updated post. Agree with you entirely – it’s a more complex issue for the ecosystem than addressed in my post with winners and losers. And of course you can’t argue with a diversified platform strategy regardless of what you think about the latest Facebook rules.

    Nice work on stirring up a great discussion in the social apps blogosphere. Interested to see what you will write about next!

  4. noor Says:

    i love all of one love this game

  5. noor Says:

    i love that

  6. solange Says:

    Los juegos me parecen optimos,pero como siempre hay un pero,yo juego y en las palabras me creo bien,resuelvo rapido las palabras completas,en lo que no estoy de acuerdo es en que los bonos tengan un valor pirreo,pues si uno resuelve una palabra completa el bono debe ser mayor y eso si me tiene cebezona,por lo demas no tengo nada que decir,me olvidaba,los juegos son exclusivos de facebook,pues yo baje uno por una hora gratis y me lo dijeron,entonces mi pregunta,no puede no jugar por otro medio,?

  7. SUN moone Says:

    sweet

  8. kamyla Says:

    oli are ile el pet sociti XD@.@xaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  9. Bono Says:

    We’re waiting for Polish edition of Word Challenge 🙂

  10. valentina Says:

    esto es malisimo son un asquo queremos Juegos como el facebook :S

  11. pet lover Says:

    get pet society not just for facebook!

  12. pet lover Says:

    put it like for the webpage, with ur email you have a pet per email and like that! not just on facebook!!!

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