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Facebook app developers frustrated with experience ... Implosions at Viddy and Branchout illustrate exponential decay.


Stashed in: Facebook!, Zuck!, @evelynrusli, Socialcam, Chill, Active Users

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Gerry Shih of Reuters writes about Viddy being genuinely surprised by their implosion:

Viddy's implosion has been spectacular -- it fell from 35 million monthly users at its peak last year to half a million recently, according to Appdata.com, a tracking service.

But the collapse is not unique. Branchout, a business networking service built on top of Facebook, raised $25 million last April from A-list backers including Accel Partners. But now it languishes with just 100,000 monthly users on Facebook, down from a high of 39 million, after Facebook limited the automatic notifications that Branchout used to attract users.

...

Douglas Purdy, Facebook's director of developer products, said the company boosts traffic to apps that prove to be popular and takes it away from those that overwhelm people with notifications or are otherwise abusive or unpopular. In the past year and a half, Facebook has cut down spam complaints by 90 percent, he said.

"We don't want to be in the business of king-making," Purdy said. "In the end, users decide what they care about, and they have control over it. If you're a great developer and you're good at sharing really good content, you're going to get traffic."

Viddy from 35 million to 500k ?!

Branchout from 39 million to 100k ?!

Viddy and Branchout benefited from Facebook opening the channel, and suffered when Facebook closed the channel. I'm not sure what the numbers for Socialcam, Chill, and Zynga games are, but they probably suffered the loss of a lot of engagement too. Many application developers did.

Lessons for Growth Hackers:

  1. With exponential growth can come exponential decay.
  2. Growth from Facebook will often turn against you.

Pinterest and Instagram are the exceptions to these rules, but they're just 2 apps out of... many.

Focus less on growth hacking, and more on product hacking. 

Instagram & Pinterest are SUPERIOR products to Viddy & Branchout.  

Value > Growth. 

Well said, Prince.

I wouldn't even call it product hacking.

The Lean Startup people call it iterating to get product-market fit.

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