If our Facebook profiles are in reality just private parties we’re throwing at our homes, it seems inevitable that there will be salesman at our front doors wanting to sell us apps – and I don’t mean appetizers. The question is, do you let them in. Because once they’re in they have a way of changing the mood of the party.
You can sort of understand why the sites let them in: to make their platforms more exciting. Bit of extra money on the side doesn’t hurt either. But there’s a price to pay with your invited guests.
Some social media, like MySpace, sold their souls to the corporate gatecrashers. One that did but then had the temerity to boot them out is Ning, the DIY social network platform. They pulled all products from their largest widget provider, WidgetLaboratory, off their site, effectively booting them out onto the street.
But it seems not everyone at the party wanted to see the corporate caterers go. Some users had spent hundreds on cool widgets with WidgetLaboratory to build up their social networks on Ning – and now they’re left with the bill and no service to show for it.
There are several theories banging around about why Ning showed Widget Laboratory the door. One is that Ning worried about WidgetLaboratory trying to create other revenue generating opportunities with Ning users, which would have been out of Ning’s control. The second is that the widget makers simply did something to piss Ning off. Both parties have been mum in the media.
Either way, it’s a cautionary tale about whom you invite to your private parties these days. You could end up with unwanted guests changing your vision of your peaceful gathering.