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Facebook and Farmville Fanatics Fading

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Social Gaming App Loses Steam

A couple of months ago, I was invited to tend my own farm with Facebook’s Farmville application.

After burning through a couple of hours, I came to two conclusions:  this is the stupidest thing ever and millions will join.  And they did:  Farmville has grown into the tens of millions of users and has made Zynga – the maker of the Facebook game app – approximately $600 million (and counting).

However, it seems like the rapid growth of Farmville – currently one of the world’s largest countries if you treat it so – is now facing a decline, as indicated by Chart of the Day.

farmville fading fast

Based on the numbers I’ve seen, a 4% drop in users translates to roughly 3 million people emigrating from Farmville.

OK … How Do We Sustain Communities?

It’s easy to be a smartie-pants when it comes to critiquing products and platforms, so I want to try to address the question of ‘how do we sustain populations’?

The central issue is that at a certain point, people realize that they’re no longer sharing information with their friends.  Instead, they realize that they are spamming them.

The key is what’s called ‘stickiness’.  Farmville had this, but I think many people are fading simply because they either have more things to do in life or they were beat out early in the game and gave up.

A great part of stickiness relies on how you build relationships.  Are you building them ‘en masse’ or are you building them on a one-on-one basis?  Ultimately, it’s the latter that will reward you the most, so the first thing you have to do in this kind of situation is contact each of your blog followers or friends and make a connection, either by responding to their comments or by linking to their site.

These people are the influencers of your site or products and you have to treat them well.  Spamming them and treating their residual communities of followers like targets as opposed to additional influencers is not the way to go.

For additional ideas on how to solicit and sustain active user engagement, check out this guest post on Beth’s Blog by Nina Simon.

Bill Wittur
Bottree Digital Services