I have recently been spending a bit of time using Facebook. More specifically, I have been playing around with Facebook Applications.
For the last few months, developers have been going crazy pumping out applications that embed themselves into Facebook and interface with the Facebook API. I have written a few basic ones, and it really is easy.
However.. what the real point of writing one of these applications is remains unclear. A few developers are getting a trickle of cash from advertising. Ironically, most of the advertising is currently for other facebook applications.
One interesting element of these applications is the need for a unique ‘name’. This must be at least seven characters and cannot contain the word face or facebook. This potentially creates a bit of a domain-name-grab scenario, especially given that they are free to grab, and there doesnt seem to be a limit (I have about 23).
If things keep going the way they are heading, then this will only be better for users. Not only do we have competition between social websites that forces them to increase functionality and performance, but we also are seeing huge competition between application developers to provide better products that meet user needs.
Is Facebook worth so much money? I would say no, but… if someone is willing to pay it, then that is what it is worth. Fifteen billion dollars for a company with nothing much on the books besides a list of people and their photos seems incredible. I suppose a marketing company would love the data, and the access to that advertising space. But.. my tip is that the current web advertising model (pay per click) is doomed to fail and that the thousands of websites propped up by that revenue will therefore suffer.
Anyway, back to programming related things. I do intend to finish off a facebook app (or two) this year. If nothing else, at least I will be able to have an application on my profile that does exactly what I want.