Facebook Apps Ruled By the Few

Every software developer these days seems to be working on a Facebook app, but relatively few get any traction. Tim O’Reilly reports that of the more than 5,000 Facebook apps available today, only 84 account for nearly 90 percent of all the usage. Of those, only about half boast more than 100,000 active users, and only three have more than one million active users. For instance, Top Friends has 2.8 million active users, FunWall has 1.9 million, and Super Wall has 1.1 million. Then it drops off to 500,000 by the No. 10 app (Likeness), and to 270,000 by the time you get to No. 20 (Scrabulous). Now, some of these apps may have become popular by notification spam or other questionable means, but that’s another story.

Below are the top 20 apps as of October 5, measured by number of active users (For a complete spreadsheet of all top 200 apps that O’Reilly Media prepared for me with all the data, download this file:top_200_2007-10-05.xls):

Facebook Application

1. Top Friends (Slide)
2. FunWall (Slide)
3. Super Wall (RockYou!)
4. SuperPoke! (Slide)
5. Video (Facebook)
6. X Me (RockYou!)
7. iLike
8. Movies
9. Graffiti
10. Likeness (RockYou!)
11. My Questions (Slide)
12. Quizzes
13. Mobile (Facebook)
14. Free Gifts
15. Booze Mail
16. Compare People
17. Honesty Box
18. (fluff)Friends
19. Vampires
20. Scrabulous

As you can see, the most popular apps are dominated by some of the same developers. Nine of the top 20 apps come from three companies (Slide, RockYou!, and Facebook itself). Here’s a graph of the Long Tail distribution (although, technically, it is not) of the most popular Facebook app developers sorted by the total number of active users across all of their apps (the Top 5 are Slide, RockYou!, Facebook, iLike, and Flixster):