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A Little More on the Facebook Platform June 15, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

So Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg came by the Jupiter office the other day, and, yeah, to fuel the myth, he was a) late, and b) wearing flip flops. He didn’t say anything that made me re-think my first take on Facebook’s platform strategy. He’s got himself a very powerful distribution network, and I still think “freedom to monetize” is a bug, not a feature, compared with bringing along a revenue stream developers could tap into.

I should say “viral” distribution network. Colleague Emily Riley asked him why there’s no way for an application developer to buy some space on the application directory to help jump-start adoption — or even a search marketing-like marketplace. Zuckerberg said most of the apps get passed along, not sourced from the directory, but I don’t think he’d even thought of the possibilities.

Make no mistake — I’m still impressed with the Facebook network and with its growing audience. And Zuckerberg has the Vision Thing down pat, and it’s an exciting vision. Making money off it? That’s somebody else’s problem. There’s no story whatsoever for marketers in this release of the platform.

Marc Andreeson, who knows a thing or two about platforms, gives his review. He likes the “economic freedom” that I’m not in love with, and the viral distribution, and he respects the rigid programming rules. He points out that Facebook’s network will breed a “success kills” environment for smallish application developers who can’t afford to scale if they hit it big.

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