Facebook8: Making the numbers soar

Marc Andressen has what will undoubtly be the first of many posts exploring how the development of F acebook’s open API and the subsequent applets created and installed by users have led to a dramatic and noticeable rise in the numbers of both page views and unique visitors.
Marc writes:”,…what Facebook is now doing is a lot more sophisticated than simply MySpace-style embedding: Facebook is providing a full suite of APIs — including a network protocol, a database query language, and a text markup language — that allow third party applications to integrate tightly with the Facebook user experience and database of user and activity information.
And then, on top of that, Facebook is providing a highly viral distribution engine for applications that plug into its platform. As a user, you get notified when your friends start using an application; you can then start using that same application with one click. At which point, all of your friends become aware that you have started using that application, and the cycle continues. The result is that a successful application on Facebook can grow to a million users or more within a couple of weeks of creation.”
Marc pulls from an email relating to ilike to demonstrate how viral–and huge–the growth is that a third party can experience from all this widgety goodness:
“”In our first 20 hours of opening doors we had 50,000 users sign up, and it is only accelerating. (10,000 users joined in the first 12 hrs. 10,000 more users in the next 3 hrs. 30,000 more users in the next 5 hrs.”
And he also..experienced infrastructure guy–makes some comments about where the greatest opportunities for FB applications and integration lie:
“The implication is, in my view, quite clear — the Facebook Platform is primarily for use by either big companies, or venture-backed startups with the funding and capability to handle the slightly insane scale requirements. Individual developers are going to have a very hard time taking advantage of it in useful ways.”
Susan sez: I’m thinking that when the ComScore numbers for June come out in August, we see a HUGE lift for Facebook–this kind of viral growth has to signifiy great spikes in traffic.