Earlier today, we reported that participation in Facebook's developer forum is down, most likely due to Facebook's new restrictions on Facebook-application spam. We praised these new rules, saying Facebook won't miss its lousiest apps. Now an executive from a major, well-funded widgetmaker tells us, "Your post misses the point." Before you reach for the "Block" button, hear him out:
New accounts and activity on Facebook's developer forums are down dramatically since January, reports Adonomics founder Jesse Farmer. And as the above chart indicates, Facebook's users no longer add third-party Facebook applications as much as they did at the beginning of the year. Along with increased competition from social network Hi5 and consolidation into larger widgetmaking companies, Farmer blames the slowdown on Facebook for "instituting increasingly demanding and arbitrary rules on platform developers, which they then enforced selectively and for their own benefit." We agree the slowdown is likely the result of the new rules, but we don't so much blame Facebook as praise Facebook for them.
Makers of Facebook applications have seized control over the social network's latest redesign. So who are these mighty developers capable of bending the stubborn Mark Zuckerberg to their will? Among others, the makers of "You're a Hottie," which tops the "Recently Popular" list in Facebook's "Just For Fun" application category — the most popular on the site, according to this handy reminder from FlowingData. Here's CLZConcepts.com pitch for their popular app:
Updated mockups reveal that Facebook has added a new tab to its soon-to-be-released user profiles. It's a small but telling detail that illustrates how the obsessively controlling Mark Zuckerberg has ceded power to independent Facebook-app developers. In his original plans for Facebook's redesign, Zuckerberg planned to integrate the Wall — the place where public messages from other users are displayed on user profiles — with Facebook's News Feed, which is where Facebook serves ads between "stories" about other users' activities. This integration was a way for Facebook to finally serve ads in the Wall, a placewhere users spend a great deal of their time on the site.
Facebook's redesign — originally planned for early April, but delayed due to objections from widgetmakers like RockYou, Slide, and Zynga — is no longer a Mark Zuckerberg production. Third-party developers have hijacked it. A source close to the redesign process tells us "Facebook has made some changes to the original design, reflecting developer concerns." Below, screenshots of Zuckerberg's original plans for the redesign, annotated with the objections Facebook-application startups raised.
The last time we caught sight of the weirdly unaging zillionaire developer Janna Bullock, she was wearing a skin-tight leopard skin miniskirt in the pages of Haute Living. For her profile in today's Home and Garden, the Russian mother of two chose something slightly more demure, a "fluttery Valentino suit," "tiny, kitten-heeled shoes," and "an enormous bag of brown leather encrusted with huge pink and amber plastic 'crystals.'" Veteran reporter Penelope Green gives clear instructions here to any J-school youngsters who think their profile subjects are crazy bitchy gauche scary scrappy dangerous test tube babies born of freewheeling Russian ethics and a tigress' business acumen but are too polite or value their lives and limbs too much to say so. We'd say more but we're scared of Janna Bullock too.
Every month we get a box of Haute Living magazines, a rich man's Real Estate section. During the winter we use these boxes for kindling and during the summer months we use it to prop open the door. Sometimes, on a slow news day, we open them. The pages are purposefully high gloss as to safeguard the manicured fingerpads of the readers (matte chafes). And the articles are fawning paeans to the city's high-end developers. This month, the "women of substance" column features a particular catch. She looks like Chloe Sevigny, wrote a thesis on Dostoevsky and is developing that crazy doctor's blown up townhouse on Upper East Side. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Janna Bullock.