For lots of users, Facebook is a double edged sword. There’s no denying how popular it is; it’s a tool for friends to keep abreast of what is going on in each others lives without having to write a tiresome email, and it’s a great way to meet new and interesting people with whom you have stuff in common. There’s also a certain delight to be had in tracking down one’s old school friends and finding out how fat, bald and toothless they’ve become. Admit it; we’ve all done it in an attempt to feel better about our own expanding waistline and thinning pate.
Recent privacy issues aside, one of the biggest gripes about the website from some users is the constant stream of invitations from friends to assist them in a Mafia Wars hit, accept a random gift or re-house a poor ickle guppy with an injured fin that’s surplus to their requirements in Fishville.
Receiving invitations to play games is part and parcel of using this free service, and it’s a great opportunity for internet marketers to reach their target audience. Even without the medium of a game, a canny search engine optimisation company can help a business raise its profile and credibility via Facebook, which pays dividends in site traffic and increased business.
When it comes to games, Zynga has set the template, and other companies such as Mazda are following suit. In fact, Facebook games have become so popular that Google has smelled the blood in the water, and is circling the casual gamer userbase with a view to taking a huge bite from it. The search giant has been in discussions with Zynga and Playdom with a view to make games for its forthcoming social network.
The company has kept a close eye on how Facebook has conducted its business with developers and is preparing to make a move in the hope it will be a more attractive proposition for them.
Former Facebook exec and current head of social game developer Playhopper, Net Jacobsen, said:
“You see them everywhere, at all the conferences that are out there. We know they are searching for people to lead their games unit.”
“All developers are anticipating Google getting into social gaming. But we are all kind of wary of will it actually work, because gaming has nothing to do with Google’s core business, which is search.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out; is a closer relationship between search engine optimisation and social gaming on the horizon? Time will tell. For now, I’ve got lots of Petville points to spend…