Saturday, October 06, 2007

Facebook Apps

I know this blog has been silent of late. I apologize. We're working, plus I'm back at school and am dealing with classes as well.

But anyway, I've been doing some thinking about Facebook apps recently. When they came out, they were all the rage in the Valley (and elsewhere, to a lesser extent). Each VC asked you about your "Facebook strategy" and the like. Hell, a number of VC firms started (or flirted with starting) microfunds dedicated solely to Facebook apps.

As an interesting side note, I got a bit of a sneak peak into this process. At the beginning of the summer, a good friend (Scott, of course) put me in touch with Greylock regarding the project that has now become Athleague. Greylock approached us as part of an initiative within the firm to provide Facebook applications with small (low 5 figure) seed rounds. As we corresponded throughout the summer, their enthusiasm for Facebook app funding slowly waned until, in August, they told us they weren't going forward with the microfinancing idea anymore.

I'd say the general pulse on Facebook apps has followed the same trend. Through there are some who still swear that the Facebook platform is the next Windows (something I did when the Platform first came out), the general consensus seems to be that apps, at least right now, aren't capable of making much money.

So that brings us back to the question - is the platform really that big of a deal, or not? I've been brainstorming, and I still think it could be. Specifically, when thinking about our Facebook strategy, I've realized that our app needs to be one that closely integrates with our website.

And perhaps, in a broader sense, that could be the key. Perhaps the apps themselves aren't as important as the traffic they drive to their website they represent. This, of course, calls for tight integration - allowing users to access and alter data from both portals (the website itself and Facebook) and giving them a compelling reason to go to an app's website after installing the app.

It could be a while before we actually see these kinds of apps. But, long run, I think these are the ones that could actually fulfill the promise (monetarily and utility-wise) of the Facebook platform.