Facebook & Its Apps

One of the TechMeme stories now is about most of Facebook’s apps being useless & the consequences of it. Nick O’Neil at allfacebook writes,

I’ve been wondering myself if Facebook would eventually start removing inactive applications and more spammy applications from the application directory. In my own opinion this would provide for a better user experience given that navigating 22,000 applications is not very feasible.

Do you think Facebook should start removing spammy applications from the platform? What changes do you think should be made?

Facebook apps are in a way similar to blog sites & their relationship with Google Adsense. Just like Facebook’s most apps being ‘fun’ ones, so are most of the long tail blogs – either splogs or scrapper sites, are inactive or have very few visitors. But as Google needs to keep these blogs for maximizing its returns, so does Facebook have to keep as many apps as possible. Tough rope to walk then for Facebook to clean up apps, be friendly with as many developers as possible and at the same time give its users a good user experience.

Vasanth Sridharan at Silicon Alley Insider,

Who benefits? “Good” app-makers and app-marketers, obviously, as well as Facebook, which gets to unclog its system. Oh, and it’s good for Facebook users. Because with 23,000+ apps on the site, it’s hard to find ones you want to use, whether or not they’re actually useful.

But this is most beneficial for app factories like Slide and RockYou, who should be able to consolidate their already substantial lead.

If we apply Pareto’s rule, the top apps belonging to Slide & RockYou already should be taking in most of the traffic. Slimming down the 22,000 apps will increase their share marginally. So, while the cutting down of apps will definitely benefit Facebook users, it’s a dilemma now for Facebook itself. My prediction : they may cut just a few very spammy ones.

Facebook should be providing a default set of best apps from across categories to choose from when a new user joins (not sure whether it is already there), something similar to what Netvibes (modules) or Bloglines (feeds) does. Give more importance to productivity boosting apps and such. And encourage top app providers like Slide & RockYou to produce really useful apps in categories other than ‘fun’.

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