On Monday Facebook officially opened the submission process for the Application Verification program that had been announced at f8 in July. In the blog post announcing the opening of the program, Sandra Liu Huang from Facebook says the purpose behind the verification program is to provide “applications with a way to stand out and reassure users that they will provide a good experience.”
And what defines a good user experience according to Facebook?
Well, as part of the program Facebook refers developers to their guiding principles (apps should be meaningful, trustworthy, and well-designed) and a guide to using the Facebook API’s various integration points. Applications meeting these requirements (and submitting the $375 fee)will be given a badge to place on their application to let users know it has been verified, as well as additional leeway with communication channels and premium placement in the search directory.
It would behoove all application developers to comply with the guiding principles and apply for the verification program in order to reap the obvious benefits. It remains to see how it will play out, but one would have to assume that unverified apps would sink to the bottom of the discovery channels on the platform.
However, as Mike Arrington points out, the fact that Facebook is going to charge developers the $375 verification fee every year introduces a “pay-to-play” model. Essentially, to leverage the platform to its fullest is no longer going to be a free enterprise for developers, entrepreneurs, and brands. While larger companies will be able to work at higher levels with platform managers or pay the verification fee without any pain, it certainly is a barrier of entry for individual developers.
But, from a monetization standpoint perhaps developers should view it as an operating cost required to earn a profit on the platform. What are your thoughts on the verification program? Arrington’s protection racket? Or a call for value added applications?