Is it worth joining the Facebook fad?

Many developers are jumping on the Facebook bandwagon. The advantages are enticing: a stable platform that can potentially simplify product development and a large customer base to tap into. However, choosing to the well-defined Facebook route is often done in lieu of developing a well thought out business strategy. Let’s look at it from a few angles…

Advantages:

  • Using existing platform can potentially save development time – the more time it will save, the more reason there is to go with platform
  • Easier to acquire customers – does not require users to change existing habits, and only requires a one-time action (adding widget) rather than returning to a new website

Disadvantages:

  • Potential limitations of Facebook API
  • “Faddish” nature of facebook means your business will be dependent upon facebook’s continued success
  • Limited to facebook’s market segment (shouldn’t pose a problem for an evite-like service)
  • Competition intense with other Facebook apps

Critical Issues:

  • Is it easier to start with a Facebook app and later tie it to a standalone website, or to build the standalone product first, then integrate into facebook later?
  • How do we intend to monetize?
  • What flexibility might we lose from choosing either option?

Developing an app within Facebook should never become the sole product, however depending on the advantages/disadvantages outlined above, it may well make sense to develop the facebook app first in order to bootstrap the company.

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