Two posts ago, we discussed the commonly-cited ‘dangers of Facebook’. These dangers include ad-network monopolies, buy-outs, and Facebook-wide revenue shares. Although J-Squared doesn’t see these theories as legitimate threats, we do believe that there is a real danger in developing on Facebook.
The danger is support. Facebook may seem like the 800 Pound Gorilla, but it’s still a baby when it comes to the platform. On the inside, Facebook is frantically attempting to scale, right along side its developer community. Their 200+ employees are multi-tasking like never before, and job roles like ‘developer customer support-spamminess liason’ are sprouting up daily. This becomes a problem when something breaks, and no one is responsible for fixing it. We experienced this problem a few days ago when the subnet IP 216 apparently malfunctioned. In result, requests to that server timed out, essentially soaking up all the resources from our other servers until they crashed. Our site was down for many hours, and we lost thousands of potential users in the process. Facebook responded about 8 hours later, after substantial damage had been done.
Behold the current danger of Facebook. It’s not the 800 Pound Gorilla. It’s the frantic baby. If you plan on developing for Facebook, plan on building your own support team, staying ‘on-call’, and getting creative fast if something goes wrong.