After some nagging from friends I finally caved in and created a Pixenate Facebook App. All that hype about creating Facebook Apps being easy ? I’m happy to report it’s all true.
I had to be nagged and cajoled into creating the Facebook App because I wasn’t entirely convinced of the utility of having a Facebook App. Why spend time developing for a closed platform when the benefits are dubious at best ? Let’s take 2 scenarios..
- Your Facebook app becomes really popular very quickly: You are now providing facebook with functionality and you’re paying the bandwidth/hosting costs. What’s worse is if facebook see this app get really popular they just roll it’s functionality into facebook itself and you’re left out in the cold. Chump.
- Your Facebook app isn’t that popular, you get a few hundred facebook users using it after a couple of days. You’ve just wasted a few hours (or days). Chump.
Currently the Pixenate app for facebook falls into the latter category. But … there is a silver lining.
At demobar last thursday I was demoing Pixenate to the throngs of bright young VCs, geeks and the curious. What struck was that people seemed to ‘get’ pixenate when I showed them Pixenate running in Facebook. It isn’t immediately apparent that Pixenate.com is just a demonstration site for the Pixenate product and that Pixenate is a white label product that can be embedded in any existing website, but as the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words…
I showed the Facebook app to a potential client earlier that same day and could see that they ‘got it’ (They hadn’t used facebook but Facebook’s accomadating layout makes for a pretty good placeholder for pixenate). “So could you embed Pixenate in my site just like that?” was the immediate response when they saw it. For clarifying how Pixenate can be embedded in other websites, the Pixenate facebook app is a godsend.
As for the facebook API / development platform itself. It’s been kind of flaky lately. I’m getting passed a lot of invalid session keys which is a real pain because users naturally blame the application developer not the Facebook platform.
So the pixenate facebook app is useful but not for the reasons everyone told me it would be. The facebook app is just another example of how pixenate can be embedded. I think I’ll use it in our marketing materials.