The fallout from the most recent Facebook redesign is still reverberating. Recent statistics from Facebook-tracking site AllFacebook show that the top applications on the site lost up to 25% of their traffic following the redesign. While last summer’s redesign crushed widget development, it looks as though this recent one might harm app development for Facebook itself.
While LivingSocial and Quiz Monster have become leading developers thanks to the recent changes, many top developers like Slide, RockYou, Familylink.com, and a number of others are getting punished. Many of the top applications have seen a decline in usage of between 15 and 25 percent. Causes, the number one application on the platform (at least for another day when LivingSocial should take the #1 spot), has experienced a 24 percent drop in monthly active users.
While the top apps have played musical chairs, traffic to the (new) top apps is still strong. So where’s the harm?
Facebook developers are being asked to hit a moving target: when the site redesigns, you might lose all your notoriety with the new look and feel. It amounts to a slap in the face and a huge setback for developers. What’s worse, the limited visibility of applications means that new users will be less likely to know and love them. It’s not inconceivable that apps might disappear over time.
With Facebook at the head of the social media pack, it’s unlikely many developers will bail on the platform. But it’s fair to assume they might be a little less eager to give over their collective mind share for application development. It will be even more interesting if any of the other social media players can begin to control a similar amount of market share, thereby wooing the best of the development world.
If you’re not already doing so, I’d keep an eye on MySpace and Twitter.