Build Apps For Facebook At Your Own Risk

Candice McMillan
Aug. 16 2012, 09:45AM EDT

Facebook's app empire has set a lot of developers on the road to riches, but just as many have been left in the dust.

In reality, Facebook is now a public company with a less than admirable stock price; it should be no surprise that the bottom line is at the top of its list of priorities. Facebook relies on third party developers to create the apps that keep its users coming back for more, and jumping on the giant's bandwagon is certainly a quick way for developers to attain massive success. On the other hand, this success can be fleeting (as many have already experienced), and it's important for app creators to keep a close eye on what's to come.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Dalton Caldwell accuses top Facebook execs of threatening his latest start up, basically insisting that he sell to them or he'll be crushed by them. The issue being that Caldwell was building an app that was similar to Facebook's recently unveiled App Center. He states, "Previously, I had been reassured by Facebook dev-relations employees that the service I was building was an interesting/ valuable use of Open Graph & Facebook Platform". In response to his objections they said, "sorry, we just need the revenue".

Another interesting point to consider is that Facebook decides how many people an app is seen by, thereby controlling how viral it will or will not become. Facebook holds all the cards, and what was 'popular' last week could just as easily be non-existent this week.

It's not all bad, however, as many startups would never have seen the growth they did without the help of Facebook. The fact remains that Facebook is a big public company, and along with that comes pressure to maintain revenue growth. It's business. Perhaps App creators should be aware of this, and remember to keep a discerning eye open when making deals with a giants.

Candice McMillan

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