Facebook becoming like a mobile operator?!?

By November 18, 2008 2 Comments

Facebook wants apps on its site to be high quality – which makes a lot of sense.  What I’m less sure of is the way they are going about it.  According to Venturebeat they are going to charge developers $375 to apply to be deemed high quality by the great and the good at Facebook.  The lucky ones that get selected will receive goodies like being able to send out more invites and notifications to friends, and discounts to Facebook conferences.

This is exactly the same mistake that mobile operators are making on the mobile web.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, for network operators generally to second guess what it is that their users want.  As a case in point the laudable aims that Facebook list here are all well and good, but somehow miss the point of apps being raw fun.

Apple didn’t make this mistake with their app store.

Rather than gumming up the flow of apps from developers to users Facebook should focus on giving the community tools which allow the good apps to float naturally to the top.  Which is to understand that the community is best viewed as an emergent system where the best things happen spontaneously within a centrally set framework.