Friday, May 25, 2007


The Facebook Platform, launched yesterday, is designed to do exactly what MySpace didn't want: Allow for third party content. Facebook has opened up all of its API's in order to encourage development for its site. There are tons of applications now that are sanctioned for use on Facebook. So unlike MySpace (when they shut down Photobucket, which they now own), Facebook encourages open access to their proprietary network. Facebook has some impressive statistics on growth and engagement and with the launch of their video network could really give MySpace and even YouTube a run for it.

Why is the opening of Facebook so important? Better yet, is that the right move? After all, third party widgets could take users away from the site. I think that it is. Think of Facebook as Windows. If Windows could only utilize Microsoft applications, there would be some utility but not as much as if Windows could also use Adobe products and (gasp) Apple products. Sure, the third party widgets are going to lure some users off of Facebook's site, but in the long run, users will be more engaged, Facebook will have free development, and third parties will develop cooler things for Facebook (leading to more and longer page views for the site). Think Amazon, Second Life, Linux...all of these tools were made better because users and developers could plug in their own enhancements.

From a marketing and monetization standpoint, this offers unlimited possibilities. Zuckerberg noted that Facebook was the sixth most trafficked site in the country. The ability to create embeddable widgets on a site like Facebook offers huge possibilities for commerce and contextual advertising. Favorite books, shows, music, and media could be purchased off of someone's profile page. Facebooks photo application (the largest in the world) could be integrate with an Ofoto or Kodak Gallery to provide for prints. Mashable talks about some of the applications already created for Facebook. The lesson here is that closed source does not work in today's open world. The music industry learned that, Hollywood is learning, and Microsoft will eventually learn that. If we can embrace our users and partners, then we'll hae a better platform all around.

No comments:

Post a Comment