It happens via the newsfeeds.
This is from Marc Andreessen’s post on the Facebook API:
Facebook is providing a highly viral distribution engine
for applications that plug into its platform. As a user, you get
notified when your friends start using an application; you can then
start using that same application with one click. At which point, all
of your friends become aware that you have started using that
application, and the cycle continues. The result is that a successful
application on Facebook can grow to a million users or more within a
couple of weeks of creation.
Something most of us have seen before, but I hadn’t quite grokked the power of it.
For iLike (which isn’t even that great an application – IMHO) got to 3m users in around two weeks.
That is crazy – just think of all the hardware you need to handle that – by Andreessen’s estimate, hundreds of servers. And you have to either have them ready before hand or run around like a mad man finding them once the popularity bites.
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