Facebook Developer Garage

Last night I attended the 4th Facebook Developer Garage gathering at the MaRS Center in Toronto with one of my colleagues. The evening contained several interesting presentations from developers showing viral applications, games, and social networking widgets designed specifically for Facebook users. There was also a quick preview of the revamped Facebook interface that will be launched later this year. Here are a few of the applications presented:

MouseHunt
In this beautifully illustrated game developed by HitGrab, you are a hunter, hired by the king to find and trap the mice that infest his kingdom. For each mouse you catch, you’ll find a unique reward, bringing you closer to being the best MouseHunter in the land.

SlangBook
Slangbook is fun way to connect with your friends over your favorite expressions and slang. Post your favorite expression on your profile and let the haters hate, ballers ball, etc. see what the top slang expressions are and who the top slangers are that are slanging their slang.

Praize’n'raze
This application developed by Montreal based Praized Media Inc. lets you tell your Facebook friends where you like to hang out and what places you totally avoid by Praizing and Razing them! For instance, do you have a favorite restaurant? Search for it and Praize it! Had a bad experience in one store? RAZE it! -you get it. By inviting your friends, you can discover your friends’ favorite places and find out if you agree or not with their choices. Will you Praize or Raze them?

Monetizing Facebook applications
Part of the discussion during these presentations focused on how the developers monetized their applications (if at all) and the techniques used to generate traffic from wider audiences. Judging by the number of people in attendance, there is clearly a great deal of interest in jumping on the bandwagon to build Facebook applications. Certainly from an interactive marketing perspective, Facebook is emerging as a lucrative yet largely untapped platform for advertisers.
There is a good article over at Marketing Ninja which delves deeper into the discussion of monetizing Facebook applications. Not that there’s any debate over the rise in popularity of Facebook, here are a few statisitics I dug up from the official Facebook Press Page:

General Growth

  • More than 80 million active users
  • Facebook is the 6th most-trafficked website in the world (comScore)
  • Facebook is the 2nd most-trafficked social media site in the world

User Demographics

  • Over 55,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks
  • More than half of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older
  • Maintain 85 percent market share of 4-year U.S. universities

Applications

  • No. 1 photo sharing application on the Web (comScore)
  • Photo application draws more than twice as much traffic as the next three sites combined (comScore)
  • More than 14 million photos uploaded daily
  • More than 6 million active user groups on the site

Marketers and application developers interested in leveraging Facebook as an advertising platform should check out the Facebook Marketing Bible over at insidefacebook.com. Specifically this resource acknowledges that most marketers lack a comprehensive understanding of the vast array of explicit and implicit marketing channels Facebook offers – most of which are viral.