A Seattle-based startup is launching a free beta version of its application which enables users to cash in on the popularity of Facebook apps and quizzes-even if they have no programming or coding skills. AppBank provides the data, statistics, and training to help users target apps for profit, and the platform to enable them to create new apps, then shares the revenue with the user.
Fred Hsu launched the 6-person startup in April. Having cashed in on a previous venture, Oversee.net, Hsu is funding AppBank with his own money. The small band of full-time employees and low overhead of developing the AppBank platform have enabled the company to be profitable since its inception.
Facebook is a huge market to tap. As one of the largest and most successful social networking sites, Facebook offers the ability to interact with over 200 million users. Many of those users dedicate an inordinate amount of time to various Facebook apps and quizzes, providing ample fodder for AppBank and AppBank ‘developers' to cash in.
The popularity of Facebook, and the apps and quizzes on Facebook, is not a new phenomenon. AppBank is not the first company to come along that allows users to easily create apps without any programming skills. Entities like Quiz Monster and LOLApps have built fairly successful platforms around providing these tools to users. The difference that AppBank hopes to catapult past the competition with is that it plans to share the wealth with the user.
All of the apps and quizzes generate revenue for somebody. Banner ads and sponsored advertisements displayed alongside the apps and quizzes bring in money. The more traffic an app or quiz gets, the more income it will generate. Users won't become the next Bill Gates by building AppBank apps, but successful AppBank users are pulling in $700 to $1000 a month in income according to AppBank.
AppBank apps have been accessed by more than 8 million Facebook users since its inception in April, and that was prior to this beta launch. AppBank is expecting an influx of AppBank apps and quizzes as a result of the launch and is projecting that number to skyrocket to 50 million by the end of the year.
Facebook apps and quizzes aren't without some controversy. They can be a tremendous waste of otherwise productive time and also pose privacy and security concerns. The backlash from apps and quizzes even prompted Facebook to develop Facebook Lite- providing the social networking of Facebook without the apps and quizzes.
AppBank realizes that apps and quizzes are sort of a niche fad, and that Facebook alone can't sustain them long term. It plans to eventually expand AppBank capabilities to enable users to develop more sophisticated apps, and it also plans to expand beyond Facebook to other social networks and platforms.
Perhaps AppBank can take its app development platform over to Apple, which just crossed the 2 billion mark for downloaded apps. In the meantime though, I haven't noticed any shortage of silly quizzes and apps on Facebook. Users are creating them anyway, so they may as well create them with AppBank and get some pocket change for their efforts, right?
Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com .