Facebook applications are declining in popularity; developers are to blame.
Are Facebook users beginning to tire of the tactics used by application developers to create virality? It certainly looks that way. The latest spammy tactic is to force potential users to invite others to use the application before doing anything of value. The backlash over this tactic is mounting, however, and developers are caught in the cross fire as users begin to abandon applications en masse.
In just one month, the Facebook group No, I will NOT invite 20 friends just to add your application has accumulated over 60,000 members. Fed up users are congregating to discuss tactics. They're naming names, with a list of Rotten Apple applications and repeat offender developers. A small but growing number have signed a petition asking Facebook to ban forced invites.
The latest tactic? Reviews. Facebook's new review system for applications allows users to rate and share their ratings with others. Some members of the group are giving 1 star to applications they deem to be repeat offenders.
Whether or not this group's tactics will be effective remains to be seen. However, concurrent with the explosion of meaningless Facebook applications, and the increasingly bad behaviour of those applications, users seem to have soured on Facebook applications in general. According to Adonomics data, all of the top 10 leaderboard applications have seen substantial drops in daily users since peaking in November and December.
|all figures in 1,000's|
Facebook application developers themselves are uncertain of how to handle the situation. Debate rages on the developers boards, with some defending the use of forced invites, and others decrying them. Suggestions that developers build useful or richer applications are scoffed at by those who view Facebook as solely an entertainment platform for college students. Some are asking Facebook to intervene, while others (presumably the creators of those spammy applications) are putting the onus on the user to reject the application.
Meanwhile, all is well on Facebook itself, as growth continues (68 million active users in the last 30 days) and page views mount. Developers of Facebook applications, however, have reached a watershed that demands a focus on delivering utility and value rather than thinly disguised advertising vehicles.