Sunday, January 30, 2011

Facebook pushes developer to avoid flash-why?

Facebook, the biggest social met work with over 600 million members did miss one of the most important development in the last 18 months. FB did miss the mobile train.
There is a Facebook app available for smart phones like the iPhone, but the functions are limited. Facebook could grow so extremely because of their open API approach which allowed developers all over the world to build plugins or apps for Facebook. This helped FB to get a lot of content and functions without spending money and research. The downside is, that most of the apps in Facebook are done in flash and flash is not available on many smart phones, and even if the smart phones have flash capability, the apps won't work well because they are designed for mouse and not touch.
Facebook wrote now an open letter to their developer community not to use flash anymore to change their existing flash apps into HTML (I don't say HTML5 anymore because since last week the HTML5 functions are now official a part of HTML).
I don't have the letter but I did find an interview about FB and HTML5

Why is Facebook so eager to get away from flash?
As you know Facebook is big and wants to sell as much ads possible, however we should not forget that most users are spending over 50% of their FB time to play games like Farmville, Mafia Wars etc.

... But the most interesting thing Pleasants noted was that he recently heard (from his own source, apparently) that half of all users on Facebook now play social games. More impressively, 40% of total usage time on the service is spent on these games. That’s meaningful, of course, because “a huge amount the Internet is on Facebook,” Pleasants stated......

And Facebook announced that their official currency is FB credits, any in game purchase must be done with FB credits which gives FB 30%.
All these games are not accessible through FB mobile, therefore people spend less time on FB mobile, but worse, the game developers like Zynga did develop their games like Farmville as mobile version outside of Facebook.

This is pretty hard on FB, if all games will go to mobile outside from FB, because then FB could lose a lot of traffic, this means a lot of page views, which is more than a lot of ads impressions. And FB would not make money on the virtual goods sold through these mobile game versions.

It is almost ironic that a young company like FB which grew to number one website did miss the mobile trend. Should not all these smart young people at FB have known that mobile will come?

I guess Steve Jobs was smarter than anybody thought, when he announced his mobile devices will not support flash. Everybody thought it is vendetta against Adobe. But I believe he saw early enough in FB a competition to his app store and games. He got now many FB games with his anti flash move and instead paying money to FB the developers are now paying to Apple 30%. and if i would need to choose to whom i need to pay 30%, i would prefer to pay it to a company which is well established, generates real revenue and has real products.

If Facebook is not able to get the mobile part straight for the most used apps in their website, then FB will be in 24 months not anymore in the top 4 websites.

Facebook is big and has big potentials, but losing the top time spending on their site will cost a lot of money and I can tell you that more and more people will move their social activity to mobile. I hope for Facebook that it is not too late for them.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

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