It’s A Facebook World … or is it?

Andrew Boon posted 13th of June 2011 in Boonex News. 98 comments.

Facebook here, Facebook there, everywhere Facebook...book. Yeah, like it or not but the big blue (#3a589b) giant harbours massive chunk of entire internate populace and turns more and more social networks into ghost-towns. 

Moreover, increasing number of sites just bend under the pressure and use Facebook plugins/logins instead of building their own accounts databases. 

Just look at this:

 

See how the world is losing colors? 

It's hard to tell what effect Facebook has on niche networks, but surely enough it isn't very positive either. Facebook Pages are used as an alternative and again operators basically throw in the dowel and surrender any hopes for building their own membership base. 

The question is ... is it a new reality or just a temporary phenomenon? Should we (like with Google being a search monopoly) accept that Facebook is the new layer of Internet environment that we should adapt to, or it's just another big player that will pass, just like every other player in the past?

Personally, I don't like the idea of the Web 3.0 being all #3a589b. I much prefer the diversity and thrill of mid-level competition that we used to witness some 3-5 years ago. It just feels so much more natural. 

What would it take to get back to "normal"? Social graph liberation - check. Facebook fashion climax -check. Resurgence of quality niche networks... you bet! Eventually, the works should start feeling overfed with "The Social Network", because it's proprietary and limited. There's a reason why we all live in different countries, speak different languages and choose different political parties and religions. "We are one", alright, but we are also different. 

I was pondering this subject for a while now, mainly because I had to figure out how deeply we should integrate default Dolphin package with Facebook. The world is still turning blue, but somehow I'm not convinced.

What do you think? Is it wishful thinking or will Facebook get their claws out of the world's social graph anytime soon?

 
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prolaznik
"integrate default Dolphin package with Facebook" = 0 I say remove all fb plugins wait a sec.. what do i know i don't even have fb account lol.
Andrew Boon
We'd remove those in a heartbeat, but they say Facebook is holding up about 40% os US web-surfing time. That makes it a vital source of traffic.
dolphin_jay
If i didnt have kids that used it i wouldnt have a facebook account at all. I would say ditch it dolphin because the facebook api changes way to often and then will not get patched in dolphin until the next release so it only works half the time anyway.

Now when i was on a microsoft social network project when there was a bug or new api change reported they would fix it within 30 minutes and have a patch ready and also create a new download of say dolphin 7.0.6 zip the same night. This way there see more are only like 2 people that downloaded the old version and 200 people downloaded the working verison.

i think you at boonex should adopt this as well. If someone reports a bug or you fix a bug that very same day you should rebuild the download even if its just changeing a div tag someplace. This way there is not 1000 people yelling something dont work in the forums as they do now. Sure there is the SVN but not all boonex users know how to use it. You should really think about adopting this method. Only takes 5 minutes to build and upload a new zip for download.
CALTRADE
Excellent points Jay. I never, ever use words like "heartbreaking" but with Dolphin I use it all the time. They have horribly serious bugs that stay there for months and months, until people just scream. I keep finding serious bugs now six versions later that for some reason no one else finds - for example the recent one where the photo upload doesn't work if you have profile moderation. Since Boonex only cares about future development - the fun stuff, we get stuck with systems that see more don't work for practically years on end.
Andrew Boon
We do plan to approach it in a slightly different way. Dolphin 8 should have separate updates for modules that would come out as soon as even small bugs are fixed. This would allow separate parts that need to be updating and the core won't have to be updated too frequently. Much like when you update iPhone OS every few months and apps as soon as their updates are available.
Andrew Boon
Just wanted to add that frequent updates of the core is not a good idea - simply because we don't want to keep people updating their sites every day.
dolphin_jay
Well thats sort of the point i was trying to make with rebuilding the dolphin707.zip every time a bug was fixed in svn. When a new user comes to boonex and downloads the zip file it would have the new bugs fixed in it. That way only a handful of people would need to update there sites...

You could also place an update tab in the new studio and have it check the svn for REV. # for new fixes and have it wget the new fixed files and rename the old files it replaces and let the users pick if they see more want to update or not.... But now that i think of it while writing this it has nothing to do with the topic so i'll leave it at that.
Andrew Boon
Unlike desktop app or very simple web apps, Dolphin is very sensitive to server setup, so auto-update for the entire system would fail very often. I'm not ruling out this opportunity, but we'll start with separate module updates first.
UFO360
@Andrew Boon

Please remove the facebook connect or any fuction from facebook on Dolphin

@Andrew Boon

Im still waiting for you to respond my PM I send you like 2 and no respond
Mike
Here are some (today's) news links to falling Facebook memberships:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2003131/Facebook-Are-falling-love-it.html
http://www.globalnews.ca/story.html?id=4937644
http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/facebook-lost-us-users-last-month-20110613-ncx
Andrew Boon
Yeah... we'll see how it goes. Maybe the Internet would see its children back and free again soon.
124c41plus
If you're asking if I think Dolphin should have Facebook and Twitter integration built into it, not just as a plugin, my answer is unquestionably YES. I'm not saying that because I'm a Facebook junkie, but purely for business reasons given the reality of the market and an understanding of trends and how to profit by them. You can't sit through any given 3 minutes of other company's TV commercials without seeing references to Facebook and Twitter. They're everywhere and integrated into everything. see more I say don't be bitter about that, and don't wait for that fact to change. Rejoice in the possibilities and make them work for you just like all the other wise corporations that want to be a part of the biggest picture or travel on the fastest train.

Also, learn from them. What made them so successful and grow so fast? Clearly, neither were the first social platform or instant messaging service. But they were the most intelligent. Both understood three things:

1-Find a universal need and fill it better than what came before
2-Keep it simple
3-Make it work

Don't bother trying to beat them at number 1 if you want to stick to social networking, unless you have oil-fields type money! But successfully coexisting is another matter in niche markets as long as you take care of numbers 2 and 3. This is where Dolphin has been weak in the past and I'm happy with the decision to rebuild it. I think that's our only hope.

Dolphin should be designed to be simple to use and the code should be rock solid. Facebook and Twitter both knew this from the get-go. One of the biggest complaints I got when trying to build a membership base was that it was too confusing - not user friendly. People just aren't willing any more to give something a second chance. With the first frustration they move on. A recent new comedy show never made it past the fourth episode! This is the truth of the world we have to do business in. Why go to your site if they can already do it on Facebook or Twitter without the aggravation, and on top of that know that their friends will be there with them. Interconnection, ladies and gentlemen, is the first key.

The next key is to do well what FB&T don't do. Neither provides the possibility for a member to have a shopping cart, or to conduct SKYPE quality video chats and webinars. And unfortunately, these things, which would allow a Dolphin owner to attract FB&T users, are the things that in the program are the weakest. What good is a cart that can't sell tangible goods or sell to Non-members!! And who can be bothered trying to conduct a video chat when you're spending most of the time complaining in frustration over the dropouts (at least that's been my experience, and I have one of the fastest cable connections going).

So, Andrew, I hope I've provided you with some food for thought. I started with Dolphin over 2 years ago and have been praying ever since it would finally live up to its promise - to be a social platform anyone could own and use to make a real difference in the world. As it stands now, It's only something that has consumed a great deal of my precious time in tweaks and updates while I wait for that day.
Andrew Boon
Grat advice, thank you. The more we work on it, the more we realize that Dolphin success depends on simplicity and UI intuitiveness a lot more than features set. Facebook works and that makes it a success. I believe we have some good improvements coming.
124c41plus
Thank you for your reply, and for considering my suggestions. I look forward to seeing what's ahead.
nikoma
I belive that Facebook is here to stay, and yes I agree, that Facebook turns dating sites or social societys into virtually ghost towns. Let's face it. Many major politicians does have a profile here and they even communicate with the public through Facebook. An example of this is the leading rolefigure of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He has a Facebook profile. Who doesn't have a Facebook account? I have a Facebook account because my site has several modules, that connects to Facebook. I also use see more Facebook to do free advertising for my site via my many modules. That works too. So the key function of Facefook is for me, that I can get members from here on a daily basis. That is a fact and I see it as a good thing.

The next problem is, that Facebook user are used to, that its free to be online. I can't run my Dolphin script on a powerful HP server for absolutely free of charge. Its just not possible. Every 3 months I am struggling to pay for my server. So far, it would not have been possible without other incomes from another small business I am running. Without extra cash we might as well shut down and go to rest.

So what is it about Facebook, that makes it so popular? Certainly not the script alone. I am really not impressed, when looking at Facebooks key features. "My" Dolphin script is equal, if not better, than Facebook. I see Dolphin as the Mozilla Project. Its has a brilliant core and superb developers around the world who are comitted to develope outstanding modules. This happens everyday and this is why Dolphin is so perfect. Lets forget about Facebook for now.

It's a fact, that community sites or dating sites who has (local) succes has been around since at the beginning of the 2000's or those who achieved a later succes does have a load full of money to spend on advertising. It is not more complicated than that.

Here in Denmark I always compare "my" Dolphin script with the major dating sites who have succes and guess what? Their key features does not differentiate from Dolphin's features and my user are acutally saying, that my site can actually more than the most popular sites in Denmark. I knew that myself, so it is nice to hear because these succesful dating sites spend millions, yes it's true, millions on developing modules, that all are available on the market at Boonex for "nothing at all". How can say this? Because I know the main programmer on one of these sites.

So what does it take? It takes alot of advertising money to promote your Dolphin script and you need to get your members in there fast. Don't get that silly idea, that it depends on Dolphin. It does not. Its obvious, that a script with 250.000 members are more attractive than a site with almost nearly 2k in members. People wants to get entertained and they want to get entertained here and now - otherwise they'll move on. Maybe back to Facebook? Or maybe back to the older players on the market. Its not easy - its actually frustrating, when you know yourself that you have potential to become one of those top sites.

Facebook won't stop or kill it self. Facebook has that house clean potential to engage people who would never attend a dating site or other niche site and this is where we come in with Dolphin. This is where we can swin - if we have the proper amount of money to promote ourselves.

Facebook stays untill something better comes up, but what could that be?
Andrew Boon
Thank you for your input! When I think about what makes Facebook popular the main thing that comes to mind is their approach of building simple yet working tools. We need to strip all the clutter from Dolphin and improve social interaction components to let you, our clients, build sites on top of bare bones, instead of re-tweaking a magnitude of existing features. It also needs to be cheaper to maintain (less server load).

I strongly believe that, like you said, success doesn't depend on the see more script much, though. Marketing and execution is what matters. Twitter for example had numerous technical issues for years and it's still a hugely popular service.
nikoma
I agree again, Andrew! I said it before (I know its a stupid thing to say), but Dolphin needs to engage members more in a social way. Yes, I like the advanced features of Dolphin because I spend a lot of time using them, but many just want to interact with other human beings around simple, yet powerful tools. Facebook does that good and we need to replicate the human engaging modules into Dolphin.

The Script doesn't really matter - people just want to interact with other people. Scor.dk - a major see more player on the Danish Market, initially began as a advertising space with a poor script similar to Ads in Dolphin and evolved from there. Now there everywhere in Europe buying sites and implementing their own developed software.

I want to do that with Dolphin as well. All we need is simple people dependent modules:-)
CALTRADE
I would like to give my users the options to log in with other systems - not just Facebook. I would also choose Google, Twitter and Linkedin. It has to be properly designed though - users should be forced to enter any "required fields" in the join form. The RPX integrating here apparently is no longer supported - another thing here I wasted months on that never worked properly. It would also be quite expensive if a site ever got to be successful.

This is all academic, however, see more since the software has so many serious problems that it is almost impossible to get it working in the real world.
wolf2217
I think some would be good to have but you don't want to give any indication that Dolphin is trying to be another facebook cause people may look at the site and leave.
When facebook launched it was unique...it was something different and that's why they got over 700 million users or whatever the number is so having too many facebook features/plugins wouldn't make the site as unique as it could be.

Sorry to those who are fb lovers but i think facebook is a huge attention seeker and will do everything see more it can to get users and the more they do it the more possesed people become and will loose touch with everything else.
There are some sites out there that require a facebook account for security purposes (look at virtapay.com) for example.

Dolphin is unique in it's own way, keep it this way :)
Find out what people like that facebook don't have, find out what people are doing and provide tools that would make it easier for them to share.
CALTRADE
Wolf - I don't think you understood - they were not talking about Dolphin "being another Facebook" they were talking about letting people log in to our custom sites with Facebook credentials.
Andrew Boon
Not only that. Wolf has got it right. Dolphin is a platform that can be used to build a "Facebook alternative" but the big question is whether it should shy away from that image or maximise it.

I believe that it can be better than Facebook.
wolf2217
see moreI think the developers should be the ones to make that decision on weather they want their site to expand the image or remove it.
I've seen alot of people not liking the facebook idea in Dolphin but you want to go outside of BoonEX itself and see what people are looking for.
Do people like interacting with facebook outside of facebook.com and if so what do they interact with most.
This could apply for other well established websites as well.
Brainstorm how they'd work than gather public feedback.
Alan Stewart
I feel that they can not be ignored. That would be like shooting our own foot. We can find spaces to create beachheads and be a better service fighting from within not from the outside. Winning our own place and building our own digital cultures.
YamamotoHoldings
You would be making a big mistake allowing your users to log with their facebook credentials. The problem when you do this is you're giving away business to facebook! Am I the only one who is competing against facebook? Wake up and see what facebook does to it's once biggest advertisers like groupon. Wonderful idea, so if they can't buy you out, they become your competitor! They are like the oil men of the early 1900, telephone companies of the 1950's, Airline of the 1970's, etc., Who ever see more is reading this comment, there is a new market out there for social networking sites that will slowly erode at facebooks users, etc., They are called boutique sites, social networking sites that cater to housewives, cooks, etc.,
DRautenbach
The times they are a changing...

There is a a saying that ALL owners of social networks should listen to. "keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer."

Facebook is too big to compete with..... so.... don't try to compete with it. Use it to your own advantage. Even if your members love your site... even if they love it more than the mighty Facebook, the are still going to use facebook, so let them use it... from within your site.

If a member can view their facebook from see more within your site you are technically stealing facebooks advertising time. For every minute they are on your site looking at their facebook that is a minute more advertising revenue for your site because they are logged into your site!

Also.... SSHHhhhh.... Facebook has allowed some HUGE and I mean HUGE groups of 100,000 or more to grow on its nework. These people are all in one place waiting to be plucked away e-masse!
I asked for the "membership voucher codes" mod to be built just because of this. All the groups are targered or themed on Facebook, they have been proficient at encouraging this. It is now possible to enter or join a facebook group with a similar interest to your site. This gives you INSTANT acceess to 100,000 possible members in one place. Make your site premium (charge for it). Then make a "voucher Code" allowing a years FREE membership. Then leak the code into the group on Facebook and see what happens.

WE all like a bargain or somthing for nothing. It's human nature. If someone gives me a free code for somthing I am interested in and I can save $20 and like the site anyway.... IM GOING TO JOIN!...... simples.

Personaly I do think the days of the smaller social network are not over... I think they are just beginning...

Hope this helps.

Nathan.
Andrew Boon
Oh, that's one really interesting topic to tinker.... how we can use Facebook and what we can do to lure visitors from Facebook to Dolphin sites in bunches and how we can automate that. This one needs a separate discussion at some stage. Thanks for bringing it up!
DRautenbach
its the philosophy behind the marketing stratergy for our site. Facebook are basicaly handing it to us on a plate. We just have to know how to take it, and need to tools to take it. This is what I have been trying to develop. Where else is my dance site going to find 100,000 dancers in one place?

we launch sept1st and before that date we will have mugged FB for a lot of members. Once we have 10-20,000 members from FB we STOP issuing free voucher codes and their friends will have to pay to join..... see more simples.
tomakali
1.integrating FB in Dolphin is not good. but it is vital for Dolphin's growth
so, the idea is integrate all social networks and present in a magically different way. that will work.
ppl can use dolphin as a social aggregator to post across many social networks. instead of logging into each and every websites.

2.to make this happen, there should be some reason to "like" D-based social aggregator
a) does it have IM to keep in touch with all my friends always?
b) does it have super see more cool cityville like social games?
c) can i create pages?applications? on my profile?
d) can i access D-network via my mobile browser?
e) can i interact with my friends/network in a fun/interesting way other than "poke" "like" "polls"

there are lots of logical questions to debate Dolphin with facebook
if Facebook is a huge dinosaur we can kill it someway...
its a highly intelligent swine flu...
average life span of social networks are 3-6 years, I think there will be an end to fb world too, pretty soon trust me Andrew!
LightWolf
Are you serious? No way is FB going down, geez you think car makers would put FB aps in the new cars if it was just a fad? Sorry for all that don't like FB but it will not dissolve anytime soon..lol Zukerman has way to much money to allow that to happen!
tomakali
You should read this without alcohol
http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/science_tech/millions-quit-facebook,-is-it-a-sign-of-the-future%3F
Andrew Boon
It's not impossible, really. It happened before, too. Like Yahoo it won't disappear overnight, but it may easily become 2nd tier in a matter of months. Friendster and MySpace had that. Internet Explorer seemed unstoppable before. Also nobody predicted Apple's market cap to surpass MS+Dell+HP combined. Internet/Technology market is highly fluid. Social networking even more so.

As for cars... do you know why hairdressers try not to cut too short? They want you back soon. Carmakers are happy to see more integrate with Facebook now and change it for Twitter in 2-3 years if that helps to move the new models.
Audanbal
I am one of the people who refuse to install Facebook Connect. I prefer the module method rather than into the core. Because I don't like having "facebook" into database. This way we can delete "facebook" folder in the modules and reduce numbers of KB that's not in use. However, if planning on deeply integrate. Please, at least, give us the option to disable/enable.
Andrew Boon
Right, Facebook integration whatever it is should be separated as a module. We hope to be able to do that in D8.
dolphin is a good script with a wonderful developers but they need to get their ideas working very well,that y i know want to have Facebook connect of deanos,i will also say that dolphin get changing their goal instead of working on it,now they have release D7.0.7 they re giving people heart break of D8,this is terrible,is not even encouraging spend thousand of dollars on mod now they want to change the it works
Andrew Boon
D8 may not brake your mods - it's not clear yet what the impact would be and we do plan to work with developers to arrange updates of mods where possible.
boon,please i know the level i want to take my site,please i will like your to main the developers please,i love the template i use for my site,and i want to maintain it
Robin
You guys are looking at Facebook from a personal perspective. Look at it from a business/partnership perspective, at the end of the day it’s all about growing your own site. If you can take advantage of Facebook/Google to even get one member on your site I think it’s worth a try. My opinion, we should keep all options on the table especially when you’re fighting an uphill battle for membership.

Someone already stated this and I’ll say it too. Rather than integrating Facebook it into Dolphin, see more have it as a module method. Let the third party build the add-on to Facebook.
silverado350
No, If it is to be included as a module then Boonex should build it.
Andrew Boon
Yes, there will be a Facebook module from BoonEx. We're trying to figure out how much is to be included.
what about deanos Facebook modules,i think is ok,i want to have it,to get members,when u look around big site like yahoo,and other big social network use it not as for anything but making it flexible for their users,
Andrew Boon
There's a difference between 3rd party modules and default modules. Adopting 3rd party modules requires a lot of refactoring. We expect to get many of those features working in D8.
Dynamico
Facebook - yes, very much needed. traffic, the need for visitors worldwide. But in Russia all use vkontakte. a third of all traffic! I'd like to be able to integrate not only with facebook, but with vkontakte
Andrew Boon
Yes, Russia and China - the last remaining big markets that hold it on their own. Vkontakte and Odnosklassniki, however, are much clumsier to integrate with. We're likely to leave it for 3rd party devs.
lawaxes1
It's simple ... Fast car and strong need another car quick and powerful to race

Dolphin just to come out fully and professionally based primarily on the profile and free of faults and errors, we will find during the dolphin produced a simple competitive sites

Because the website owners who are dealing with the dolphins are mainly leaders and not just members

Therefore, they need to Dolphin the words of Ferrari in Formula One track

This is my opinion
thefetishsocial
FUCK FACEBOOK - only reason it took off is because the design was stupid simple and stupid people who knew nothing about computers could easily use it on the first try. there was no complex learning curve. like you would have found on myspace. "with myspace" you had to spend time and be user savey to figure out how to add the fancey html codes ect. we have to focus on designing a system that looks smart and sexy think "Apple Products" but dumb stupid easy to operate. most dolphin see more sites are in the opposite direction way to many mods and features. this stuff excites tech savey people like me and you but scares the hell out of everyday surfers. the truth is we are some of the smartest people online but if we make our user base face reality on how dumb they are in logic they will not user your site and go use a site thats easyier. at this point you dont want to be the next face book. you want to fill a niche. a specialty market and then spread from there and grow. my sites are not the largest 10,000 Plus Members but i get stead new signups every day like clock work. i have boycotted all facebook plugin for mysite, i dont want anything to do with them. facebook users are cheap and provide very little profit. not the type of user im looking for... im looking for members who have a problem and need a solution. "my social networks are the solution" follow that rule you will find users and the money! build a site that appeals to women and the men will follow. most of face books growth was powered by women needs to socialize and connect, same for plentyoffish and the new gold rush on groupon sharing sites. all fueled by women.

Yours Truly Kane
FetishSocial.com
Andrew Boon
Although you make it sound really harsh, I think you're spot on. We need to figure out how to make Dolphin dead-simple for users. Simpler than Facebook even. That's the new "gold" of web development.
rickyricky
I have an FB account as well, and it's really disheartening trying to compete with them, which even if you're not, you really are! I have a niche website for the LGBT community, yet they still seem to choose FB over my website instead of one that's built specifically for them, even though I'm fully integrated with FB. I think FB is just too big for their own britches, and if I had MY way, I wouldn't have anything to do with them. But what can you do when everyone else insists on it? As bad as this see more may sound, I really don't give a flip whether or not someone is currently driving to their aunts house or on their way out to eat or whatever they're doing on an hourly basis. It just drives me nuts when someone comes up with something else to make people web junkies more than they already are. Don't people have real lives anymore?! I don't want anyone to be a junkie of my website, but it would be nice if they would use it. Okay, done venting!!! :)
rickyricky
Now that I think about it, I'm probably not popular because I don't allow sexual pics, vids and stuff on my site. Sex sells, everything else is too boring I guess.
Andrew Boon
But Facebook doesn't allow sex either, no? There're ways to outsmart and outperform them. We can figure it out. We have great minds here :)
alot of people upload sexy pics on Facebook so let think somethingelse to make it working than facebook
rickyricky
You're very right, they don't allow sexy pics (at least the one's they see or get reported, I've been shocked a time or two what I have seen on there!) Yea, we do have some great minds around here, that's why I love Boonex!!
theguypc
Imagine if you had heavily integrated MySpace into Dolphin somehow. It would have been a complete waste of time considering what has happened.

Facebook is huge and I *think* the login/registration should be available, but nothing more - unless it's provided by mod dev's. I'm not even sure about the login / reg thing to be honest - because it always seems to change and break.

K.I.S.S.
Andrew Boon
Yes, login is for sure. So we need to see what else should make into the default package module, if anything.
Its not a Facebook world! Facebook is a fad that will pass by 2012. Boonex is the FB rival. BX is the future of whom all will look back at Facebook in contempt. BX does not need facebook for traffic. My opinion (the above mentions were facts) is that FB/Twitter Plugins/Modules assist in familiarity and simplicity of transitioning a user to a new and more sophisticated platform. (ie grandmothers are now tweeting and updating FB applications from their iphones facebook has made social networking a see more common part of everyday life, so now we are thankful for this, but don't surrender what you and what others who have believed in your dream have built, because it in now an evolving reality, capable of supporting the world for the next 10 years and beyond!
DRautenbach
lets be totaly honest here.... Boonex doesnt need facebook trafic? possibly.... BUT... my site needs facebook traffic, as does yours, as does everyones who has invested all their time and money to make a business. Because at the end of the day, this is business!

Its about advetising$ its about subscription$ its about people buying credits for$ Those prople WILL be on facebook. In order to get those $ you have to pull them away, stripp them off the giant one by one. I dont know about you guys, see more I do enjoy my site and what I do, but at the end of the day there is a bottom line... and its the $. Thats why I am in it, and thats why I am going to get those members to, not to jump ship, but to spend enough time in my boat to make a good profit.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, facebook are handing it to us on a plate. Just find ways to take it. Anyone made a facebook application, game or utillity that links to their site and brings traffic that way? Cos i sure as hell am going to.

Nathan.
Andrew Boon
Not a "to be ignored" platform, that's for sure, but as you suggest, the best approach is to use it, not get used by it.
thefetishsocial
F^%!! FACEBOOK - only reason it took off is because the design was stupid simple and stupid people who knew nothing about computers could easily use it on the first try. there was no complex learning curve. like you would have found on myspace. you had to spend time and be user savey to figure out how to add the fancey profile html codes ect. The Key is we have to desgin a system that looks smart and sexy think "Apple Products" That Are Dumb stupid easy to operate. most dolphin sites see more are in the opposite direction way to many mods and features. this stuff excites tech savey people like me and you but scares the hell out of everyday surfers. the truth is we are some of the smartest people online but if we make our user base face reality on how dumb they are in logic they will not use your site and go use a site thats easyier. at this point you dont want to be the next face book. you want to fill a niche. a specialty market and then spread from there and grow. my sites are not the largest 10,000 Plus Members but i get stead new signups every day like clock work. i have boycotted all facebook plugin for mysite, i dont want anything to do with them. facebook users are cheap and provide very little profit. not the type of user im looking for... im looking for members who have a problem and need a solution. "my social networks are the solution" follow that rule you will find users and the money!

Also Design a site with a female user in mind Goes a long way the core user base of facebook was females. the key demograpihs of apple is female same thing for plentyoffish and the new powerhouse "Groupon. all have one thing in common it appeals to women. influence them the men will follow and so will the cash! Facebook users lack money so i would not be in a hurry to add them to my site.


Also sites that run as a dictatorship and sensor user comments and expression fail at some point. same thing that has happened in governments.

Yours Truly Kane: FetishSocial.com
Andrew Boon
Simple design, yes, but not only that contributed to FB success. If you study it and try to reverse-engineer a bit, it makes good sense. Not that it can't be done better, but its structure is decent. It still confuses people, but it's not too bad. It works.

"Dumb stupid" to operate products happen to require "super smart" ideas to make them happen. I can't even explain how difficult it may be to clean "developer's" head and think outside of the box, even when you see more know you have to. Well, now I believe we have a nice thing coming in that respect.
Profesize
I personally do not use any kind of Facebook connect on my site as its a niche site for people with Herpes and HPV. Its not really the kind of thing you'd want to get updated publicly on Facebook, so I haven't even installed the module.

I can see the benefits for having it if the site was of a less awkward subject and for that reason I think it is worth developing a way for people to use your own status updates or forum posts or even blog updates, for example, and try to have it appear on their see more Facebook profiles as this would be great advertising for your own site via the grande old stage that is Facebook. Just don't get in too deep cause if they do go down then you don't want to go with them.

If you're trying to compete with Facebook then you are wasting your time. As others have mentioned, do what they ARE NOT doing and do it well. Better chat and IM would be awesome, and think about the needs of smaller, more specialised sites or niche sites. They will be your bread and butter.

And look after them, don't neglect their needs and fix all the bugs..............quickly. K.I.S.S.

Maybe one day, Facebook will go the way of MySpace but not any time soon. They have strength and money behind them which is more than most of us have (Yet).

So use Facebook to grow your own site, while you can.

10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
theguypc
Turns out this is a timely discussion. I just saw a report on the news tonight that said Facebook has lost over 5 million users in the last month alone.
sarmeet
you know what ? even if i contact my friends on orkut, i do get a reply back.
but also i see a line that everyone writes " I am on facebook now. contact me there"
so yea. i think facebook integration is necessary unless someone is willing to be up in arms against this social giant.
Miguelo
FB is being backed by US (and other) Governments, because it is a huge database of detailed information about you, me and everybody else. An easy way of gathering info for whatever purpose they have in mind. They are doing the same thing with Google.

But Facebook, like any other EMPIRE, will eventually go down. Recent reports from responsible media, claim that they are not gaining, but loosing ground FAST. (AT the rate of close to 6 million users this year alone)

I think we all love to be see more part of an EMPIRE when it's going up, growing... But when you perceive the presence of an eventual fall, it's time to carefully and elegantly distance yourself, to avoid being sucked with the downdrafts.

That being said; FB is still the most powerful source (by far) of what we all crave for... The mystic unicorn...

MEMBERS for our sites.
Andrew Boon
Backed by government doesn't mean much today. Internet is fluid, it's all about trends, fashion, self expression. Truly we should look at ways to get "members for our sites" out from there.
freakpower
Im not facebook fan .... even more I really dont like facebook ...but truth is it helped really big way establish my business. Anway agree with all who say facebook connect should be a module and not core feature -
gameutopia
It's about popularity and money. Even if it is simple or sucks it doesn't matter. One might cater to the current trend. Remember myspace, we had a bunch of dolphin mods for myspace a few years ago. Now they are dead or do not exist. Will facebook continue to dominate and be the leader? Who knows only time will tell. The regular users that are not tuned into web site developement don't care. They just want their facebook and twitter. I wouldn't base all of my work on it, because as history suggests see more it is just a matter of time. You really need to come up with something that can compete with facebook and twitter even if you don't agree with them like myself. The majority of the world can't live without them at the current time so what do you do. It will be a tricky situation with facebook and twitter types right now.
Andrew Boon
Exactly right. That's the sentiment that made me post this in the first place. FB is important, big, etc... but it's a trend anyway. It'll go. We started community software development before FB appeared, even before MySpace became popular. We started in Friendster times and it was thought to be a big deal back than. All in all, I am leaning towards mostly 3rd party integrations while keeping Dolphin a clean-core.
okatanani
I think it is a good idea to follow this trend. If you have a really different thing than facebook, then why to be afraid?!! it should be the opposite, where you should use facebook to promote it.
love always
Well I think everything should be a option for the person making the site. If they want this or that. So don;t just cut stuff out. when people get dolphin it should be a check list of what they can pick from. fb connect, music player, ect. People are giving personal options and not a business aspect of things.
Andrew Boon
Yes, that what dolphin is about - lists to pick from. We're just trying to figure out how much effort should be devoted to Facebook-related items for those lists.
love always
well, unless our modules will out do fb then put about the same amount of time into it as ours.
I think you are all crazy if you dismiss FB, especially as the main point seems to be a high minded principle that one company shouldn't dominate the social map.

That's all fine but we are supposed to be running a business and anything that makes that easier gets a big thumbs up (like) from me.

It would be like ignoring google and trying to get all your traffic from bing, you could get the same amount of traffic but it will take you 100 times longer & you might have gone out of business see more by then.

I think you need to step back and take a look at things from a business and marketing point of view.

* There were 500 million FB users, i think that is now 700 million (the losing users info is not reliable data & contradicts other sources)
* They are the most targeted users you have access to (even more than google)
* They don't charge
* You get to leverage their brand trust
* People trust their friends recommendations more than any sales pitch
* Daily logins by their users are extremely high
* It's the only serious competitor to google.

I could go on, are you really thinking about turning down this goldmine for a principle?

As an example of hidden depths to integration, I have seen some test results on dating sites where FB connect has been implemented and people can import their FB photos automatically. There has been a huge improvement in profiles populated with photos and consequently a big improvement in site interaction, and these were good sites to start with.

The internet, just like all new technologies, goes through cycles and I believe that we are currently in a consolidation phase and instead of fighting it we should embrace it.

p.s. On the same subject but a slightly different note, please make the news/article module compatible with google news guidelines. Google News = Huge traffic.
Andrew Boon
Yes, as we discussed above, taking advantage of FB is imperative, so I guess the focus must be on "importing" integrations - those that help you get users from Facebook, as opposed to adding Facebook-related functionality for your existing users.
YamamotoHoldings
I'm the owner of onlymeworld.com the new alternative to facebook. Regardless of what the figures are saying, there is a market out there for competition. Over the past few years, facebook has continued to upset their users as they add on privacy features first before telling anyone. The problem also with facebook is they have grown to big, they have lost touch with what their users really want. As North America and the EU governments start to open formal investigations regarding facebooks privacy see more violations, etc., like microsoft, facebook to will be told to knock it off or break it up!

Over the past few weeks, my site according to alexa, and of course what I'm seeing personally in my admin panel is a 1500% growth. All thanks to users who are switching over from facebook to my site.

Andrew Boon if you ever read this comment, I'd like to thank you for creating boonex. Sometimes I get upset and frustrated with the programs & software, and even more upset with the 3rd party modules and developers. But between you and I, my success is thanks to the company you create because my site is a boonex child! Thank You Very Much.

P.S. Interested In Teaming Up WIth Me Against Facebook?
Andrew Boon
There's definitely plenty of opportunities. Facebook helped to attract millions of people from caches and TVs to computers and we're benefiting from it, and will benefit even more when Facebook fatigue sets in.

As for teaming up :), thank you for the offer. We really need to stick to Dolphin though. Also it is a good idea to fight FOR something instead of AGAINST something. Always works better.
myclick
WOW WOW - Facebook the brand is strong, however facebook's product "the social network" is actually starting to see a decline in its life cycle within the countries that it initially started out in! see:http://www.businessinsider.com. Not only this, but Facebooks strategic directive is to be at the forefront of semantic, paving the way as a central hub for people's data. This is how they intend to move forward, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web. This is why they are putting see more in place the API integration tools and likes features etc. By continuing to integrate more Facebook functionality into our networks, we loose the ability to be challengers as social networks ourselves. We need to invest in the back-end infrastructure to support our Communities and to market our sites. Essentially do what Zuckerberg did himself. In order for any social network to sustain in our diverse and rapidly changing environment, we have to be clear on who our customer is and what our product delivers. There is a huge untapped market for "niche" social networks. People are intelligent and we have to credit them as such - Facebook is not the beginning and end of all social networks unless we make it so. As developers, we just need to ensure that the products we deliver to the market meet the needs of our customers. We need to market the social network and execute the long term strategy!!! This is honestly the only thing that divides Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the others from a new entrants to the market. Rapid growth, or long-term sustainability.

If anyone would like internet marketing advice on how to grow their social networks, feel free to contact me on zfowke@internetmarketingconsultancy.org.uk.

Facebook is not the end!
Andrew Boon
"There is a huge untapped market for "niche" social networks."

Indeed. One could penetrate hundreds of niches using SN-site, based on locality, interests, segments, etc. It hasn't even started now. I can't stress enough how much more rewarding it could be to target a small niche first instead of aiming at MarkZ's head.
DosDawg
As a follower of trending for social networks and social media, i can say choosing one platform over another to clone is a bad idea. should you have interaction functionality? absolutely, but to have facebook intentions built into the core is a BIG FAT ScrewUP. if FB falls in the future, though not saying it will not saying it wont, but if it were to fall or the trend swing in another direction, then what kind of pain in the ass would it be to clean all that crap out of the code.

dont build this see more crap into dolphin. if its not required for core functionality, then set it modular. not everybody is a user of facebook, and not everybody wants to have to deal with issues which are related to facebook, such as jay mentioned, the updates on the fb api. that change unannounced.

dolphin should have its own profile, quit trying to perform as a facebook alternative, because its not about facebook in the social networking arena, not solely about facebook.

yes there should be a module for the following:
facebook
skype
twitter
linkedIn
google
blogger

(and any other of the gazillion names you can think of, but these need to be modular, and not built into the core)

build dolphin, the core, get it debugged and functional, then you can add all the glitz and glamour that your heart desires, but keep the core of dolphin solid. modules changes, trends change, your core should update way less than your modular spectrum.
SkyForum
Facebook is as Facebook does and they do do everybody. That is their strength but it is also their weakness. At some point, it will get old and people will start moving back towards, smaller, more topic specific sites. Everyone has different interests in life. The best thing I think to do is figure out ways to cater to those specific interests and create sites that are interactive, safe and by the mere fact that every member likes rose colored Popsicles (or any other topic) makes them all brothers see more and sisters.

I know no one here believes me and many don't even understand what I am talking about most of the time but Facebook will be it's own worst enemy. For instance, the whole idea of having 'friends' was designed as a way to control the literally millions of people joining and using the site. What happens when the numbers begin to dwindle? The site will fail with the same exponentially increasing speed that it experienced in it's meteoric growth. If you have ten million users with 10 friends each and 5 million of them lose 5 friends well, you get my point. It's a house of cards.

I have been saying this for months and I'll say it again. The BEST thing Boonex could do with Version 8 is make the friends idea a mod that can be completely switched off. It will allow the smaller, more topic specific sites (that's everybody, except Facebook BTW) to gain and maintain it's community 'character' far earlier in the game thereby raising the percentage of how many sites are actually successful.
silverado350
This isn't going to be in the core. As Andrew has already stated "Yes, there will be a Facebook module from BoonEx. We're trying to figure out how much is to be included."
Andrew Boon
For something to go into the Dolphin core it has be open-source, fully downloadable, independent and royalty-free. Facebook APIs won't ever qualify. Also we don't want to stick more than one brand to your bumper with default package that's for sure. So, yes, we are only talking about module, but trying to understand how much attention, if any, a BoonEx-made Facebook module should get.

As for the other in your list.. interesting topic on it's own:

skype - p2p system, specific application, more see more like "plugins" category

twitter - interesting phenomenon, "different" and straightforward approach, but possibly only one-fifth of what Dolphin is supposed to cover. There's a lot more moving space when you build for specific applications.

linkedIn - good one (although I find it a little messy for interaction) and we're looking at it routinely.

google - still largely a failure in anything social, although some other products provide a lot inspiration (Gmail, Android)

blogger - still going strong, but seem to be stagnating at what they're doing, no? We're watching them too, though.
DolphinTemplate
You can't beat a giant with its own weapon, you must follow your own path and be original, "attack" on a small scale and never give up.

"When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you" - Lao Tzu
Andrew Boon
Three thumbs up! (just to be original)

Seriously though, we figured it a while ago - working on "beating competition" only exhausts and never pays back. Working on creating and achieving goals inspires and leads to success.
AlexGruppo
Hello Andrew,

You are rising a quest which is probably concerning most of the social network developers.
I agree that one of the biggest factor of the success of Facebook it's his simplicity. Google understood that very well too.

The key here is to keep everything as simple as possible. As some members have already pointed out here, there is no more room for too complex systems. A good example is MySpace.....the usability sucks incredibly. Not to mention the architecture and layout. No wonder see more it's dying out.

Actually if I would imagine a future for Dolphin, it would be something like a Wordpress eco-system. Incredibly simple and fully integrated with Facebook and other social networks.
It has a clean interface and you will never be able to break anything. Another strong feature is that it has his own community members which are able to shift from one site to the other thanks the use of Gravatars.

I think that if you apply the same logic to Dolphin, you could make it very successful.

Keep the good work.
Andrew Boon
WP community members that can shift - those are wordpress.com members, right? They can't jump around standalone WP sites and Dolphin is all about independent sites. We tried to build a p2p "connector" - webhome.org, but can't really commit much time to the project.

Also, even now, we can't really step-down to "simplicity" of WP organisation. It's OK for blogs, but not for a full-fledged CMS. I see your point though, and trust me - it's exactly what we're doing now - getting see more rid of noise.
DRautenbach
Of course, there is another point to be made here.... When was the last time you knew facebook to be unreliable? When was the last time you logged on and it ran slowly or the apps didnt work? personaly for me this has never happened on facebook (I do only use it a couple of mins a day though).

Sometimes, before looking at someone elses house its best to get your own house in order. I'm not saying dolphin is rubbish... Far from it - I have a site that can do things i only dreamed of before, but see more there are things it should be able to do that i cant and these are the things that should allow me to compete with other social networks.

Dolphin just needs to be controlled and steered in the right direction. I have spent over $600 on mods that I can NOT use, buy developers that are not AUDITED with products that are NOT tested. Facebook wouldnt do this... if they did then there would be no facebook. I have invested 9 months of my life and over $17000 so far and am still going. I am taking a HUGE risk on dolphin, which I know can compete with the likes of facebook and return my investment manyfold if it is controlled and business on here is conducted in a good and constructive manner.

Use facebook and take from it what you need, as I have mentioned before in this post, but I would like to call now for Auditing of developers - for audited beta testing of mods - for a customer service charter and for boonex to take more responsibillity for the market. When this happens your house will fall into order and will be able to compete and grow.

Nathan
Andrew Boon
When "deconstructing" the way Facebook is build we've learnt to appreciate the amount of work that has been done to build it. Like it or hate it, but from developer's point of view Facebook is a massive achievement on its own and it presents everyone with a serious challenge of building fast sites that work flawlessly. There's no place for messy houses these days, that's for sure.
sonnarinternet
We too have been pondering the evolution of the booming social networking phenomena and have concluded that the old days where social networking is isolated to a handful of huge social networking websites are numbered. We believe that the logical extension of social networking is that it will begin to permeate across the entire internet and into every conceivable type of website (even horse websites like ours). Over time, we expect to see that all types of websites will naturally begin to adopt see more more and more social networking features/components although social networking will likely not be the sole/primary focus of the website. For example, our website (WikiHorseWorld.com) is all about horses and we have a community section which uses dolphin 7.06 however we also have other sections of the site for classifieds, pedigrees, articles, store etc. So we've embraced the social networking phenomena but our primary focus is horses and not social networking. Therefore we expect social networking to continue its exponential growth and eventually, it will become too large for an isolated subset of pure social networking websites and will become more and more dispersed across websites of every conceivable type, size, and focus.
Andrew Boon
Absolutely agree and this is the big "second coming" we're all waiting for. It does, however, appear that the "third temple" we need to build for it to come is federation of social graph. Lots of bright people are working on it and some breakthrough is imminent.
elcentcom
Andrew, I understand this kind of frustration and I think many here feel the same. It's hard to beat an Agency backed company with over $ 512 million working capital and 30 000 servers. The only thing I know is that it will collapse at one point(rather sooner than later). When it comes through that FB is data gathering whore people will wake up. Last month millions left FB in the USA and Canada. It was only built for the purpose of gathering data and it will be usaed against the members there and see more still the masses are wandering willingly to the slaughterhouse.

You were far ahead of FB and features and even one of a former FB developer came here (seemingly) looking for a job. That had alarm bells ringing.

The international MSM are dogs on a leash and they are stiff scared about anything that could harm their $$$ or the $$$ of their pupeteers. Your kind of program is one of it they are afraid of apart from alternative media. I also believe the attacks you have experienced are false flag attacks.

Avoid it like the pest. I know these are hard words but we're facing also a hard reality of unpleasant events.

All the biggies(google's Erich Schmidt, Bill Gates, the co founder of FB, Amazon and others were at the builderberg meeting in Swizerland 2 weeks ago, guess what will happen soon. It's all about screwing ... screwing and screwing.

Keep up you great work and lets find ways when the big censorship starts to keep it safe and up. I guess some alternative European, Russian or Chinese IPs and internet not depending on US server will do the trick. Long way to go ...

I also believe that soon your script will be one of the only alternatives to the biggies and niches will perform well.

Maybe after you have started version 8 make 7 a complete open source. Others will contribute perfectly fine and in fact you have a chance to have 2 distinct programs up and running. Just do that via your site. Lots of contributions will complement version 8 then too.

For webmaster I think we have to forget a positive commercial effect for the time being. At the moment it's an information war going on and govts try to get a handle on it. I'm discussing this with lots of people at the moment and the thrreats are real and many false flag attacks are used to lul us into censorship.

Think Freedom - think Boonex
Andrew Boon
As for "complete" open source (I assume you mean some of the more popular licenses that don't require payment for anything), we keep reassessing our policy regularly and would go GPL(or alike) in heartbeat as soon as we see it possible.
mydatingcommunity
Facebook!!! Getting Sick from it!!!

I just want to point the fact to this Article; people are getting sick from Facebook in Amerca. I ask many people and teenagers, they all saying after a while it gets boring. It is the same old thing, photo tagging and posting..to what extend??? My 2 younger sisters told me this..

Check this “The United States apparently did not just have a slow growth month, but actually lost Facebook traffic. Facebook lost almost 6 million American users during the month see more of May, from 155.2 million to 149.4 million. Canadian users dropped less dramatically, but still significantly with a 1.52 million user loss. Other places like the U.K. and Norway also had losses, albeit smaller figures like 100K.”

From this
http://www.webpronews.com/facebook-loses-members-us-still-dominates-world-2011-06

Secondly, knowing how Americans are, this is my prediction that soon, we will see the Government and Child Protection Agencies will start awareness campaign and teaching in the school about the safety from facebook. Slowly but surely this is coming!!!

At the end, so such big thing, stayed big!!! Yes, I know, it is integrated in many ways in our lives..But, this will push BoonEx with Dolphin to be more competitors. I love dolphin, and there are many ways to be innovators..Look at the feature of MySpace,..

Facebook, as big as is, there will be that 1 thing, that will put it down!!!
mydatingcommunity
sorry it is wrong word..."Feature of MySpace"..I wanted to say.."Future of MySpace"...
 
 
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