Appaholic does not make any secret that it wants to be the Alexa of the Facebook application community, and while it won’t win any artistic awards it certainly delivers what it says. Jesse Farmer developed the site where visitors can compare user bases among Facebook applications. He keeps the twenty applications with the most users on the front page. The site allows for a quick comparison of up to three applications by number of users, percentage change, and number of users per hour. He has also recently added a feature called the “Viral Dashboard.” The dashboard puts every application in the Facebook directory into a sortable table, along with a link to the application’s primary page. I see that “What’s your stripper name?” finally got knocked out of the top spot after several days of amazing growth by none other than Harry Potter Magic Spells . I doubt I am alone in spending more time than a human should browsing the pages everyday to see who is getting contagious and who is not, but then again I write a blog about contagious applications.
Obviously the information is the sweet part of the site. Farmer is pretty modest about what he has done, but his service has quickly become essential for the FB application community. The information itself is available to anyone, but Farmer is the only one who has organized it and put it into an extremely easy to use format. While it might be fun to compare the top twenty applications, the real use is in comparing similar applications and monitoring the daily movers and shakers. Before Appaholic users were limited to Facebook’s “most popular,” “newest,” and “most users” categories. That service is marginally useful. Now there are real numbers to see, analyze, and for many development teams obsess over.
Not As Sweet:
The charts are straight out of the Microsoft design school. While that is a little annoying, really its a reminder that good information and functionality really are more important than prettiness. Given a choice between beautiful charts with limited information or boring charts with indispensable information its a no brainer. But perhaps Farmer will team up with a designer and we will have our cake and eat it too.
I am sure that if Farmer decides to start putting up advertising he will have no shortage of application owners jumping all over themselves to plaster his walls with banners. So far he has not gone this route, perhaps because he is concerned about whether he is violating the Facebook TOS. His attitude seems to be “shut me down if you want, but why would you?” I could not agree more, and in a way how Facebook ultimately treats Appaholic will give the application community some insight into the larger question of how the two communities (Facebook and its user-developers) will co-exist.