Hey Facebook, Monetize Our Apps

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Have you ever been paralyzed by success? I have. The day my unique visitors shot through the 1000 per day mark was a huge deal for my psyche. You might think I would capitalize on all those users and start leveraging all those users to gain even more traffic, possibly monetize the traffic with something un-horrible.

You’d be wrong.

What did I do? I froze. I didn’t post an article for about 2 weeks, and when I did, it was a crappy article.

Facebook has seen some absolutely crazy and astounding growth rates lately. To have the growth they are seeing even at the size they’re at is pretty huge. So, what are they going to do? Work on their ad targeting. *sigh*

They’re freezing.

What they should do is look at all the people who are creating apps for their platform. The point of many of these apps is lost to me a lot of the time, even my own makes me wonder why we created it sometimes.

The Facebook developer shift

Last night at the Facebook Developer Garage in San Diego I saw a major shift happen. Most, if not all of these developers are looking forward at monetization. And, as we all know about blog monetization and general web businesses, there’s always an interesting struggle that takes place when it comes to monetizing your web properties.

Facebook is sitting on the top of a swell of applications. It’s starting to get hard to muddle through and find the good apps in the directory now, which means someone or something will have to start filtering out all the cruft. The signal to noise ratio is starting to sway towards some pretty useless apps.

One thing Facebook has unfortunately kept to themselves, though, is the ability to take payments.

Consider the opportunity they would create if they set up a Paypal type of service that could be utilized through the API.


Either in partnership with another 3rd party, or even doing it themselves, they would rake in so much money it would be absolutely ridiculous. Developers are pining for ways to make money online, and the Facebook community is willing to pay for the right services (consider the $1 digital gift).

Facebook is the new kid on the block, but without great methods to monetize (and I don’t mean ads, because they suck), developers will eventually stop developing for their platform. It won’t be worth their/our while to spend time developing an app that can’t be monetized.

Facebook, please give us ways to monetize. You’ll make money online, we’ll make money online. Everyone will win, and hopefully users will be paying for what they want instead of having to use distracting and self-defeating ads.


[tags]facebook, f8, platform, monetize, make money online, developers[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

2 Comments on "Hey Facebook, Monetize Our Apps"

  1. I completely agree. There are many more ways to monetize than boring old useless advertisements. Facebook would do well to enable them, just as they’ve done better by enabling a platform than they ever would have by creating content or applications themselves.

    An existing model for this is cell carriers. They offer a billing/micropayments platform that makes it dirt simple for a customer to purchase things via the phone. They’re already billing, so it costs them very little to offer to clients. Facebook would have to create a consolidated billing/micropayments/fulfillment platform, but it would reap almost immediate benefits.

  2. nate says:

    Yea, just as Danny and I were talking (in the office), I think a subscription model just to allow the perception of an SSL encrypted page would be worth paying for. Admittedly though, it would be better if it was a win-win for everyone, which usually means they take a percentage of a sale rather than just a monthly fee.

    But hey, how about even a freemium model of some sort. You get 10 transactions, and then you have to move into the subscription or whatever. There’s a lot of room for them, and there’s a lot of 3rd parties that are already available.

    They could simply cut a deal with PayPal or Google Checkout or something that people already know. Personally, I’d rather use the credit card processor they already have. Simply give us access to it and give us a monthly check for what’s left after Facebook takes a cut, just like a regular merchant.

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