Monday, March 29th, 2010

Well Sweet @$! Poker, my new Facebook game, has been live for a month or so now. I have to say, it’s been much slower going acquiring users than anticipated.

The reason for this is clear: Facebook has turned off the most viral of their viral channels, Notifications. And with good reason. Those things were spammy as hell, but they were also what catalyzed early adopters like Zynga to achieve user counts of epic proportions.

I think from here on out it’s going to be much, much harder to acquire users on the Facebook platform without shelling out wads of cash on advertising. This essentially puts developers in the same boat that they were in before the social network boom came along: you have to pay for your users with marketing. But let’s all admit it, it was way too good to last. Meanwhile, Facebook stands to make millions on these huge game companies that have entrenched themselves on their network, because the only way they can retain and acquire new users is through ads. Nice move.

So the question now is, “Will this sort of boom ever happen again?” We have to look towards the likes of MySpace, hi5, and the newly launched Yahoo! social platform. Luckily, all of these networks implement the OpenSocial API, so it shouldn’t be hard to develop an interface to OpenSocial and deploy across all three.

Fun times on the bleeding edge.

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