Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Do we really need voice apps for Facebook, Myspace

I got some mails from vendors talking about launching call me widgets for social networking. Though I was a believer in these widgets, my perception changed last year when I did some digging to understand the acceptance of these Voice Apps on Facebook platform . Being a telecom professional for so long, my hunch is- “Maybe these apps will take time to catch up with social networking users”. So, after another 6-7 months, I did some digging to see if there were any positive changes in the user acceptance of these Voice Apps on MySpace and Facebook. (MySpace recently opened up their platform for third-party applications) Considering these are the giants ruling the roost in Social Networking arena; here are some statistics of applications and their user base. ( Note: In order to get application statistics from Facebook, I used adonomics. Pretty cool tool. A must for all those wannabe application developer for Facebook )

Looking at these numbers, I kind of have a nauseating feeling. Maybe, these applications are not meant for social networking. So how do these startups/application developers monetize their apps with such a dismal state? I guess smart companies have figured it out earlier and are focusing on different business segments than social networking. For those entrepreneurs, thinking of building that great Killer Voice App for social networking, take a deep breath, these statistics are not promising. It makes me wonder if Skype integration with MySpace platform was indeed a great deal. Not sure if we could get some statistics of Skype usage on MySpace platform.

All that said there is some heartening news to mention about. That is, Iotum’s Free Conference call application; their growth has been pretty amazing compared to other voice apps. Not sure if they are making enough revenue out of this application. I guess introducing Squawk box was an interesting idea. Alec Saunders , who is the CEO of Iotum, conducts these calls every day. I wish to join the call someday.

For those entrepreneur's, waiting to build that next killer app for social networking, will that be voice apps. Not sure, It’s not promising. So what are the top apps that are ruling the roost in this space? Very interesting, Check out the list below. I don’t even see any voice or SMS apps in the top 100 Facebook apps. With all due respect, I have a very hard time understanding these God Damn applications that are ruling the roost in this arena. Some of them are quite interesting, and some of them are worth a miss.

Why are these applications not faring well compared to other apps. Here are some of my personal thoughts.
• Voice is used more for synchronous communication
• Dynamics of Social Networking is not about real-time communications. Users on Social networking like to do asynchronous communication. My point is, IM, live streaming or email might be a better communication app than Voice Apps
• It might take a while for the users of Social Networking to embrace real-time communication. Nevertheless, not sure how long that could be before these apps hog the limelight back. As a startup, u don’t have the luxury to wait for that long.

So folks if u have any interesting points to share, please send me a mail or leave a comment. If u liked the article, please Digg and share.

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slimphony said...

Thanks for this insight.

Voice apps are probably useless because their unicast connection model does not fit well in the social networking space built around multicast connections.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Thats spot on. Hmm. IM and SMS should be a great app for social networking communication. Lets see how facebook IM does.

omfut said...

Yep, i agree with u on this one. Maybe social networking might not be a platform for call me widget applications. Would be interesting to see how other apps do in a lon run


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