Facebook Developers Make Great Apps, Not Money


If I learned one thing from the Facebook Developer Garage, it would be Facebook developers are great at making applications but they suck at make money online. There were nine groups showing off their Facebook apps. Of the nine, only one, Facebook Scratch and Win was making money with it, if you call it making money. The application receives over 25,000 page views per day and makes less than $5. All the other applications made a big goose egg.

It’s very clear that the developers who are making these apps are not doing it with making money in mind, except for the Scratch and Win guy. He was doing it with the intent to cash in big. So far, he’s failing big time. He does admit that development and technology is his thing and he wouldn’t know marketing if his life depended on it. That may explain why his app is making only $5 per day. Then again, it’s $5 more than anyone else.

The Developer Garage was full but it wasn’t the Sardin cram session I was expecting. While there were 186 confirmed guests and 55 maybes, only about 115 people actually showed up. A representative from Facebook was suppose to speak at the event but couldn’t make it. Instead, we had to listen to him say hi on Skype. Overall, it was a very good event. Vancouver has a very big Facebook developer community that I can tap into when it comes time to make some Facebook apps.

We’ve been brainstorming ideas for Facebook apps and unlike those developers at the Garage, we’ll be making money from it. Why? Because we’re Facebook marketers, not Facebook developers. 😈

38 thoughts on “Facebook Developers Make Great Apps, Not Money”

  1. Jeff Kee says:

    I should get into this soon… when I have some time.

    1. Into what? making apps but not money? 😛

      1. “We Make Money, Not Apps”

    2. I’m shifting some priorities to put Facebook development near the top, of course every app I write will have money making at it’s core (if maybe not obvious at first)

      1. warzone says:

        To me personally making anything for money is pretty sad. As a hobby they made their little apps. I think anything looses its quality once money is brought into the equation. that is made abundantly clear through many of the get rich programs.

  2. I guess there is the opportunity to find facebook developers and team up with them to assist in marketing!

    With every problem there is an opportunity!

    1. Blackysky says:

      Facebook and money … I don’t think it is a great mix just by the kind of people that use it. The only way to make money with an APP will be to mix it wit company Ad and get pay by the number of person that use it…. Get your app sponsored !!!! otherwise no money will be made… people at facebook won’t spend a penny out there because this is not the place for it…

      1. The average Facebook user is rapdily becoming the average net user, it’s not just full of college students but people with real buying power.

  3. There should be a John Chow app that displays your face randomly throughout the Facebook site. Evil will be born again, but this time on a social networking level. 😎

  4. Marvin says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you John, I considered developing an app on facebook for about 10 mins. When I found you really can’t make money with it.

    1. If you can use it to drive traffic to your website, as a lot of people do, you can make money.

      I have a few apps on mine whose idea is to keep their website in the back of your mind, and they cause to visit back.

      One is a Spanish phrase every day, another is a nice photo every day. Simple because of these apps, I continue to re-visit those sites.

  5. I Love Facebook… I’ve heard of a few programmers making a lot of money from facebook.
    I’m pretty sure your evil plan will help us marketing wise right?

  6. Neil Duckett says:

    Definately a massive market to generate some coin from.

  7. The Foo says:

    that’s why facebook is so good at the moment — no offense to you JC but it should be allowed to grow and develop first. I think developing something with money in mind from the very beginning is bad — you’ll tend to lose your focus of why you made a useful app in the first place. My example is your blog — if you started off blogging with the intent to make money from the very start, it wouldn’t have grown so big as it is now. Now you took it the right way i.e. created a blog, made it grow due to its quality and then monetized it. THAT should be the same way a facebook app is made too. I’ll go as far as to say that with any software app or operating system out there.

    bottom line is that if every developer out there made an app with the intent to make money, there won’t be any facebook apps at all.

    1. Huh? There’s tons of apps geared towards making money…

      1. The Foo says:

        ok i don’t think i phrased the last paragraph well. I meant to say that if everyone out there made an app with the intent to make money, there won’t be any GOOD facebook apps at all.

        I stick by what i say — you sacrifice the quality of the app if you start of with the sole intent to make money from an app. Make it a kickass app first then think about monetizing it — not the other way round.

  8. Ritu says:

    I agree with you John! Money is what drives everything else and if you got brains to develop such awesome applications you should put some time and effort into marketing it as well. money is always good, as you know it.

  9. Jovan says:

    So whats the problem with facebook not being able to cash in? are they that retarded on the business/economics end? I think the need some training, John

  10. Facebook dude should have been there – lame!

  11. Steve Mills says:

    I have just written about how facebook developers and business might be able to monetize Facebook. Come and have a look

  12. Nice tip! Very nice tip. Thanks for the ideas. Hehehe. 😈

  13. It must have been a great let down, such poor attendance! I was hoping that you would come back with hair raising stories. It is also sad to read about the pittance that these people make!

  14. Vishal says:

    JC – I think you’ve completely misunderstood the point and not understood what FB is about and the potential here. We develop Facebooks apps. There are several ways to make money with FB widgets. Either you sell out to a VC once you have the eyeballs coming in… (yes, VCs have paid top dollar for recent acquistions of widget developers on Fb with interesting apps with a lot of growth). You dont (yet) need to prove or show $$ revenue figures… all you need to show is the traffic, potential and growth. They’ll figure out how to make money later (heck yah… just like Google did). The other way to make money applies if you already have a community site / web2 site or any other site to which you want to drive additional traffic. So, if you have a good idea of a viral FB app / widget which if put on FB will drive additional traffic and members to your site… you should go ahead and do that. If it works well and gets picked up … do the same for other SNs that are opening up, like myspace.

    1. The Foo says:

      Nicely said. I think everyone nowadays are so focused with trying to make money fast that they lose sight on the number one thing that they should be doing first — that is making a good product. If you make a good product and market it, you going to get more long term revenue and longevity. It not just with Facebook apps but with everything else out there. That concept is what defines a company that is going to last and one that is just in it for the quick buck (that might not be here tomorrow). Not sure why people don’t get it, money clearly clouds people’s thoughts.

  15. I don’t think Facebook has to worry about making money online anymore, they just got like $240 million from Microsoft!

  16. lyricsreg says:

    Those applications should be made for the users, not for making money. Isn’t this like a rule ?

  17. This is true for anything in business

    1. Is it a good product?
    2. CAN it make money not IS it making money?

    If the first two are no then move on

    There are marketing people, financial people, and development people and most people don’t have all three skills. This is why teams are built. Facebook is just another place to sell wares but the philosophy doesn’t change. This world would be an awful place if everyone thought like John and I do. Money is only part of the picture but it’s the part I like.

  18. Mike says:

    It’s high time somebody made money out of facebook.


  19. Bujes says:

    Why do they need 9 teams for making 5$ per day? I make 5$ per day alone with less than 2h per day working.

  20. warzone says:

    Gotta admit, well said! We indeed are facebook marketers and not developers! Hope when you do try to make money that you do infact pay off those facebook developers well off before you ambush some ideas to make cash online.

  21. Launched my first one a few days ago. Of course you have to make money somehow. We came up with some decent ideas for others, but couldn’t think of a way to monetize it, so we had to scrap them.

  22. I started a facebook application for my blog and so far its brought pretty good traffic IMO 🙂

    check it out here
    The Millionaires Club

  23. John, what I would like to know is if those developers are only outsourcing or if they really make those apps?

    thank you

  24. Nick says:

    I might just have to consider learning about writing Facebook apps. It seems like this may be an opportunity to get in at or near the beginning of something. Now to come up with a good idea for an app and a way to make money off it….before the developing starts.

  25. work at home says:

    That’s so strange! Why wouldn’t you make money off your work. Apps on social networks are so popular now. I hope they have caught on to this trend by now.

    work at home’s last blog post: Work At Home Job Or Business?

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