Are We At Facebook’s Mercy?

Although there is an aura of excitement surrounding Facebook, there is also a substantial tinge of doubt. Cynics predict that Facebook will one day oppress the developer community and force a revenue sharing scheme upon us. They argue that Facebook will buy applications, or create competing applications to crush the existing group. Although these outcomes seem possible and obvious to the naysayers, we don’t see it in the cards. It would be near impossible for Facebook to police developers if Facebook requested a revenue sharing system. It makes much more sense for Facebook to provide a revenue sharing option, or to buy one of the many existing ad-networks. A monopoly wouldn’t work.

In terms of buying applications or re-creating them, Facebook is too smart to threaten the livelihood of the community they’ve created. It’s more lucrative for Facebook to provide as much support for developers as possible, thus sustaining the surge of growth and activity on their site. Even if developers are securing ad dollars from their canvas pages, Facebook reaps residual rewards from their ad units that sit directly outside the canvas page on their global nav. With regard to Facebook buying up applications, why is that seen as a threat?

Although the prior postulates don’t carry weight, there is another danger that most outsiders overlook. Our next post will discuss the real danger of Facebook, and how it can legitimately threaten a developer’s success. Stay tuned…

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