As the social networking platforms continue to evolve, more third party developers are jumping on board to develop applications.
As TechCrunch puts it:

This can make your head spin a bit – Facebook is now widely considered a platform, and now Super Wall is a platform on top of a platform. It’s a good thing I guess that no one is slowing down long enough to really think too hard about how quickly the online world is evolving.

Essentially this means social networks such as Facebook are allowing third party developers to build in functionality that they may not ever add to the system to make the user experience more enjoyable, shareable, viral, and useful. Not all of the programs fit this profile and many will fail. Others, such as Lookery, are devoted towards creating ad networks on top of these systems.

Facebook and other social networks are looking at yielding some of their ad revenue to third party developers who can build and sell advertising delivery systems to others at a possible cheaper rate. One of the biggest problems to date with Facebook advertising has been its poor ad performance. This is definitely not to say advertising will stop, or even slow down on FB.

As the social networks become the new programming platforms this can mean many different things for developers and advertisers. How much of your resources should you devote towards building your functionality into someone else’s platform? What recourse do you have within this private space? Is having access to the millions of MySpace, iVillage, or Facebook users worth the resources? What happens if the system goes down?

Hopefully these questions will all be answered soon.

This brings us back to something Lee Jones wrote about Facebook almost one year ago comparing the big networks at the time – what is funny is that everything is still true!

While Facebook has not officially been sold, it still looks like News Corp. got the best deal in terms of price and overall reach. A lot can still change however:

1) NBC is revamping iVillage to be an all inclusive, NBC Universal-online destination

2) Yahoo! could purchase Facebook and take social networking to new levels

3) MySpace, although still the leader, could lose some ground if the other social networks develop dynamic and exciting new features.

It is fascinating to see the growth that these open systems are stimulating – I am waiting for some developer to build the first social networking program in top of the Facebook program. (hey, its now possible.)

[tags] myspace, facebook, social networking, AOL, ivillage, social networking platforms,, online advertising [/tags]