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End Of The Facebook Gold Rush? I Don’t Think So Either.

August 21st, 2007 by Colin Carmichael

Jeremiah disagrees with VentureBeat’s Kevin Barenblat’s assertion that the Facebook application gold rush is over and I agree with him.

In the months since the F8 platform launched May 24th, we’ve all been invited to bite people, graph people, play scrabble with people, tell people where we’ve been, etc. These are mostly fun applications and some will last and some won’t – we’re only now beginning to see what gives an ‘entertainment app’ the legs to last. That’s Phase One – Entertainment.

Phase Two, Commercialization, has just begun. While there have been ‘sponsored groups’ for quite some time, the corporations, as Jeremiah mentions, have begun to develop and release their own apps. Marketers hoping to capitalize on the popularity and virality of Facebook must tread carefully, however. Social networks are fickle things, and the lessons learned from the Entertainment apps may not apply.

My gut says that there are two opportunities for brand marketers in the Facebook app world. The first is essentially a cold call on a potential consumer – useful app that is very subtly branded. Anything too bold will turn off potential customers who are generally distrustful of the commercialization of their entertainment (irony noted). For example, every piece of feedback I heard about the Transformers movie was complaints about the over-the-top GM product placement.

The second opportunity for brand marketing on Facebook is almost the complete opposite – put the brand boldly out in front. This will only work when there is already a cult-like fan base – car owners come to mind. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine hard-core Volkswagen fans, for example, proudly displaying a VW badge on their profile page.

So what is Phase Three? Hard to say, but if I were a betting man, I’d say Utility. That is not to say that there aren’t already some really useful apps, but I think we’ll see some really innovative stuff coming through our news feeds once the geeks (Phase 1) and marketers (Phase 2) have had their first swings at the plate.

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3 Responses to “End Of The Facebook Gold Rush? I Don’t Think So Either.”

  1. Eric says:

    As a VentureBeat reporter, I’d like to mention that it’s not “VentureBeat’s assertion” that the gold rush is over — it is a guest contributor’s assertion.

    My ongoing coverage of Facebook speaks to this point, I’d like to think.

  2. Hi Colin, I just stumbled upon your blog as I have been looking into capitalizing off Facebook. I have actually been meaning to do it for some time and I was wondering if I had missed the boat or not. Thanks for all of your info it’s definitely been interesting reading.

    Tara.

  3. My job is to find the truth, and I use data, models, and cold-hard experience to figure that out.

    Facebook is just getting started, I don’t see the curve flattening out for some time.