Monday, November 10, 2008

Slide Turns Popular Facebook App Top Friends into a Game

Screenshot from Slide's Top Friends app

This weekend (or earlier - hard to tell since I don't use Top Friends regularly), Slide added a game element to Top Friends. It's called Ownd. The name might sound familiar, since it's one letter off from the name of a very successful game on Facebook called Owned. Like Owned, Ownd is a game where you call buy and sell friends.

I think gameifying Top Friends is a great move on Slide's part. They've finally jumped on the games bandwagon after sitting on the sidelines for the last year. However, I don't think this signals a major push into social games by Slide. It feels more like an experiment.

And I don't think it will impact the popularity of existing friend exchange games on Facebook, Owned! and Friends For Sale. Ownd will simply makes existing users of Top Friends more engaged.

Looking at Top Friends for the first time in a while, I realized that had recreated the old Facebook profile design. Perhaps that's why Top Friends grew 13% since the redesign, according to Developer Analytics.

I've always thought that Slide's strategy with Top Friends was to create a social network within Facebook under Slide's control so Slide could collect data on users.

Ownd doesn't help with that goal as far as I can see. But Ownd does open up another avenue for monetization. After all, for the moment games do monetization better than anyone, and Slide famously needs help with that. Hey, we might see them end up in social games, after all. :)