Facebook applications – being free isn’t enough

It has for some time been my intention to write about Facebook applications after trying a fair number of them, but another invite to add a Facebook application got me to the keyboard.

A post-it note on my Facebook page has for long time said chain letters and hoaxes are removed – don’t misunderstand me, I find Facebook can be useful, if used properly, however I may change my note on Facebook to also say invites from rubbish applications will be ignored too.

There are a lot of applications I struggle to see a purpose for, not even just as entertainment or a way to let people interact and it seems to have gone from a lot of rubbish applications to a lot of rubbish applications that insist on getting users to spam up to 20 of their friends with an invite to add the application to their profile.

Fortunately an increasing number of Facebook users aren’t prepared to put up with this and refuse to do so, just take a look at a group like “No, I will NOT invite 20 friends just to add your application!” Facebook application developer give us some decent applications and functionality, people will spread the word about good applications, so no reason to force users to spam 20 people, it is after all their friends. Just look at how word of mouth has made Firefox one of the main internet browsers or MySQL for databases.

There is a lot of free stuff on the Internet, so being free isn’t enough to become one of the big applications any longer – ‘free’ worked in the early days of personal computing and made some programs widespread and the standard, but not any longer. This doesn’t apply just to Facebook applications, even Microsoft has realised free isn’t enough, they initially won the internet browser war with Netscape by giving Internet Explore away for free, the guys at Mozila created a free AND great browser (Firefox), the latest figures I have seen show even Microsoft with their domination positing can’t keep this position – a free application (like Internet Exploder) isn’t enough, it need to be good too.

So Facebook developers, let your application grow up and become application that has useful functionality and doesn’t need to force people to spam their friends with an invite. Facebook is a fun place where ideas quickly can be tried and tested, but I am convinced only good applications will make it to the top of the Facebook application list and stay there, being free isn’t enough.


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