Is Facebook a phenomenon — or a fad?In the two years since Facebook opened its platform to outside developers, more than 300,000 Facebook applications, or "apps," have been created — games, quizzes, digital gifts and more. The successful apps boost users' engagement with Facebook — sometimes called "stickiness" — but do not directly provide revenue.
Piggybacking on Facebook has been profitable for several startups. Zynga, which according to some reports is raking in annual revenues of $100 million with the
Flixster's growth also illustrates Facebook's role as a driver of Web innovation. Founded in January 2006, Flixster.com was attracting about 4 million monthly unique visitors when Facebook opened its development platform. Fearing competition, Flixster built its own Facebook app. That app's traffic quickly surpassed visitors to Flixster.com.
More recently, Flixster built an app for Apple's
The success of Facebook's development platform has inspired a trend:
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