Mink Machine

Facebook application gets one million users in a month

Craig Ulliott is a web developer from Philadelphia. About a month ago, he developed an addon for the popular site Facebook. Facebook is the second most visited social networking website on the web with over 28 million members. However, Craig didn’t quite expect the success of his creation. Attracting over one million users in less than 30 days, it is now one of the most popular applications on Facebook.

There are other addons where you can display the countries you’ve been to or put a Google Map pin on the cities you’ve visited. Most travel sites use the simple but inaccurate country map, where one visit to New York city also marks entire Alaska as visited, and a single trip to Oslo marks the northern island of Svalbard as well since it belongs to Norway. Personally I prefer TripAdvisor’s travel map with pins, since the Earth is a collection of geographical locations, not man-made country borders.

What makes Craig’s app different from most other is the level of detail. You can select which US states you’ve been to, and mark specific islands and territories. He has also used complimentary colors to make it more trustworthy and unlike many other Facebook applications you don’t have to login to another site. You can also compare your own map to your friend’s maps.

One million users may sound cool to you, and it sure is impressive in such a short amount of time. However, for Craig the situation is a bit overwhelming. The rapidly expanding user base is a challenge for the hosting. In his own words,

“I’m a freelance developer, not a company, and its put a powerful 4GB $450 a month dedicated server on 3 backbones at maximum load and is pushing 2000GB a month in traffic. It doesn’t make me any money.”

What will happen now? I bet some large travel company will step in and open their wallets. Meanwhile, try his cool application Where I’ve Been yourself while it’s free.

Update: Now it’s almost reached two million users. Wicked.

4 comments

  • avatar
    Emelie
    23 Jul, 2007

    Does it say how many users they’ve lost too?
    Because Facebook is impossible to get out of, even if you unsubscribe, people can still add you. There’s something fishy about Facebook…

  • avatar
    23 Jul, 2007

    I didn’t know about the unsubscribe issue…. That’s odd.
    But yes, Facebook is getting a lot of attention and maybe they have big plans such as this:
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/07/19/could-facebook-become-the-next-microsoft

  • avatar
    25 Jul, 2007

    All social network sites are built upon expansion, that is you add users, you don’t remove them. How cool is it to say “we have 100,000 users, but an additional one million has at some time been registered”? Much better to be able to say “we have 1,1 million users, and increasing!!!”
    I had a look around for a LibraryThing-esque site for music and found a few “web 2.0” sites that might fit the bill; all of them said “we are cool, signing up is FREEEE and EASY, do it NOOOW” – but very little information about what you could do once you had signed up. And how to remove yourself. A network site depends in that you should be able to see that “all your friends” already where there, i.e. it is a cool site you should sign up for as well (=once set of eyeballs more for the ads). The fact that 90 % of your friends has stopped to use the site is beyond the point, from the point of view of the site. Take LinkedIn as an example; I have about 85 contacts and 15 outstanding sent invitations, of which probably none will be answered; that is about 15 % of those I know that has a LinkedIn account doesn’t use it anylonger. But does LinkedIn give you an option of killing your account or say that X is not longer an active user? (E.g. LinkedIn could flag someone that hasn’t logged in for 12 months as inactive.) How would LinkedIn be able to say “more then 12 million” users if they have to remove users?
    Social network sites are about size – you won’t sign up for a small site – so they have not interest whatsoever to give you the option of removing an account. “You might come back!” When you realise that all your friends use it, you might come back. Maybe.
    And it look good in the statistics.
    Being cynical is sometimes a bliss.

  • avatar
    25 Jul, 2007

    Good point. I believe social sites are full of accounts that were once setup by users who later grew tired of it and left the account to eventually expire. I think that very few people would actually delete an account, so I guess the best action for site owners would be to delete accounts that have been inactive for a very long time.
    Another alternative is of course to have accounts which never expire if the platform allows it, but it should always be possible to explicitly delete an user account.

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