There is a whole new wave of new Facebook apps, many built around the new Facebook Connect feature that lets users pull relevant data from Facebook profiles. That will change things. Up to now, however, Facebook hasn’t really had much of an impact on local. It is a niche of a niche, and hard to sustain a broad community, as some of our friends have discovered the hard way.
Loladex, for instance, is a Facebook-centric directory/community site. But Loladex founder Laurence Hooper concedes the site has had trouble getting traction. “The social graph is still the way to go,” says Hooper, an AOL vet. “But working on Facebook itself isn’t the full way to go. Facebook Connect is a more productive path, but it is still in its very early stages. It is still a little hard to work with.”
Still, the market is heating up, with many promising trends. Looking at Adonomics, which charts Facebook apps, a la “Billboard” with music charts, there are currently 46,484 Facebook apps available, with over 200,000 developers evaluating the platform. The vast majority of these apps tend to be games-related – a good way to get interaction going.
Number 184 is Food Friendzy, which comes from local vet Tony Wills and his new gang at allmenus.com/campusfood.com. It is a simple game for college kids (“Match 3 and win campus food cash or restaurant coupons”).
While the app doesnt rank high on the Adonomics scale, we were impressed that it has been installed by 77,000 people, and is used on a daily basis by 26,328. Not bad for a local app. “We are not only making money but driving increased usage to our core product,” says Wills.