Researchers at O’Reilly just issued a report about how the economics of The Long Tail work — or don’t work — in the ever-expanding universe of Facebook applications. As Tim O’Reilly explains, the report has both good news and bad news about Facebook apps.
The good news has already been widely disseminated: there are nearly 5000 Facebook applications, and the top applications have tens of millions of installs and millions of active users. The bad news, alas, is in our report: 87% of the usage goes to only 84 applications! Only 45 applications have more than 100,000 active users. This is a long tail marketplace with a vengeance — but unfortunately, the economic models (for developers at least, though not for Facebook itself) all rely on getting into the very short head.
This chart puts it in perspective (click to enlarge):