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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Dave, I am working on an app for the Blastoff facebook login access. Would like your help if thats possible. Friend me to see the information. colinpmartin


Jacolby Russell

You heard of VooZoo on Facebook?

joe (from

Ro, I thought Slide was the Bible verse thief :) Good (or not so good) to hear it was RockYou...

Munjal Shah

Great post ... good seeing you at the cafe this morning.

Pete Mauro

Ro -

Could you elaborate a little bit on "Success on the Facebook platform is almost entirely driven off of understanding, executing and maintaining viral growth channels."?



Your points are backed up well by data - particularly the growth trends of apps in comparison to one another (we've got that data)... You can see some pretty interesting apps, and ones which you would expect to have done well, really flounder in obscurity... and then others, which are semi-interesting, hit this hyper-speed adoption (My Garden and My Aquarium as examples).
It's a combination of knowing WHAT works on this platform with this audience and knowing HOW to make it easy - as you have so well outlined here.

Dario Salvelli

Notification via feed is the key. Great post,i'll write a post on my blog about your feedback. :-)



Hate to admit it, but that's one of ours - a RockYou Bible Verses app :) As for the post Dave, I actually don't agree with all points. Success on the Facebook platform is almost entirely driven off of understanding, executing and maintaining viral growth channels. The same could be said for growing widgets on and off Facebook frankly. Also, the directory had little to no impact on the success of early adopters. It's trench warfare based on tooling and re-tooling as many viral channels as possible.


joe (from

I 2nd the leveraging of current userbase of other Facebook apps as a huge driver for adoption (especially for companies like Slide and RockYou).

I have a daily Bible verse app with nearly 200K users. There were 6 other Bible verse apps with less than 20K - mine was the clear winner. But all of a sudden a new Bible app appeared and got 100K+ users within a couple weeks. It was from Slide and its distribution was completely off the backs of its other popular apps...

Eric K.

Great post Dave, but you forgot one option -- leveraging your current Facebook apps to drive users to your other apps.

I have one app with 130,000 users and use it to drive users to my other app. Since I did that I gained roughly 1,100 users in 2 days on the new application (and that speeds the viral adoption when using the Feed of course).

Nothing like the rich getting richer ;)

Oh, and on one note, Slide beat me to that notification spam technique for their "Top Friends" app. I had wondered how they were growing faster than me even when I beat them to the application directory with my own "Top Friends" app. Oh well, lessons learned!


I think this is interesting especially with Bay's announcement of its 100million dollar fund for facebook apps/platform use

Pete Mauro

Great post. I am designing an app right now and started off with the same analysis to understand how to optimize for the social graph.

You mentioned some of the best ways to advertise your app, but what about the "share" button and notifications? For example, Flixster lets you share a movie with a friend using the share button. Recipients get a message w/ a call to action.

Graffiti allows you to draw on a friends wall even if they don't have the app. Users who don't have the app get an email and a notification that will prompt them to install it for the payoff.


I didn't think the application directory would make that much of a difference either, but the first couple days of my app being listed saw a huge boost in the number of users. I guess a few people browse the new apps, so it's something that will wear off but helps out in the beginning.

George Nimeh

Fantastic post Dave. Terrific insight and a sh*tload of food for thought.

Rodney Rumford

Great post and you have hit the nail on the head on virtually every point. You are not an idiot. ;) Actually I could not stop laughing and wholeheartedly agreeing simultaneously.

I am gonna reference the hell out of this post.

Being smart and sharing actions and behaviors via the mini-feed is critical to long term sustained growth in app adoption.

Having clear calls to action buttons/links are also critical. "Spend time optimizing the feed notification messages & app events that generate News Feed & Mini-Feed messages"... so many apps totally miss this point.

"Spend time optimizing the look & feel of your app on the user's profile page" Totally! Of the hundreds of apps that we have looked at I can't even begin to tell you how many people totally get this flat out wrong and miss the boat.

I am going to make this blog post required reading for anyone that submits apps for us to review in the future... thus saving us tons of time in evaluating... and not reviewing crappy facebook applications. ;)

Cheers and good work!. p.s. I just chatted with Scott tonight.

Rodney Rumford

todd sawicki

Damn it mcclure you beat me to this post! ;)

Great post BTW. I totally agree with your conclusions - as I finally had time thanks to the new baby to spend with facebook apps I was astounded to the lack of consistency and ability to discover what apps are worth installing. It will be interesting how to market facebook apps - in FB and outside. For instance most myspace widgets are marketed _outside_ of myspace.

Justin Smith

Great post, Dave! In the first couple weeks it was possible to game the directory a little bit, but that's now a thing of the past. Now, it's baking appropriate feeds and notifications into your apps from day 1. Facebook has been keeping the algorithm for calculating feed limits a bit of a black box, so hopefully they will continue to open up to the developer community so that we can optimize our apps even more :)

David Ambrose

i just fear that many in the valley world are entering into a distortion field regarding the application environment on FB. i joined FB in 2004 because my college friends were on it...i didn't join to "honesty box" or "zombie" someone. simplicity is key, and the peeps over at FB HQ are going a bit overboard. the rest of the interwebs agrees, it seems.

dave, good post nonetheless. there is a market and someone should capitalize on it before the IPO.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Agree in the most part Dave, and good post. At SplashCast (where, amongst other things we've built custom Facebook apps for the likes of Rocketboom and US Rep George Miller) we've found an approach like yours helpful. Around the tweetosphere though people are complaining about update-overload and FB is always tinkering with the levels of allowed notifications - it's a fine balance and I hope there's not a big backlash.


Wow. Dave, that is an awesome post. I think one of the things that all apps have to grapple with is how pimp like they behave in the news feed and profile page because that can certainly have an adverse effect not to mention being "unfacebooklike."

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