Tim O?Shaughnessy Teaches Facebook Developers The Benefits Of Publisher

Posted Oct 9, 2008

Tim O?Shaughnessy is one of the knowledgeable Facebook developers I’ve talked to.  O?Shaughnessy is the CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial, a company that has created applications used by over 6 million users.  Clearly in this white paper that he released, he would like to see other Facebook developers succeed and work around the new interface.  Earlier this year Facebook rolled out a new design that forced applications to be placed in a separate “Boxes” tab. 

When Facebook application developers complained about the new design, the Facebook product development team released a tool known as Publisher.  O?Shaughnessy pointed out that not many developers are taking advantage of Publisher.  Publisher is the reason why LivingSocial applications did not lose a lot of page views as compared to many other applications.

Using the Publisher tool, those who decide to add applications will have real-estate on the user’s profile.  Those applications will also still be exposed when user’s are looking at other people’s profiles:

Notice how Visual Bookshelf and Causes are right next to where it says Add Photos, Shake Link, and Update Status?  Displaying apps in this fashion is pretty similar to the system tray in Microsoft Windows.  Certain application are favored over others and if you want to see more apps, you have to click the arrow.

“If the profile owner adds the application to his or her profile’s Publisher, then users who are visiting their profile can interact with the application, even if they have not installed the application. From the user’s perspective, contextually relevant content and providing a first glimpse at
the newly found application were of utmost importance,” stated O?Shaughnessy in the white paper.  “This use case presented an opportunity for LivingSocial to upsell the application to the user. LivingSocial chose to present the user with two options: searching for an entity or recommending an entity from the owner’s collection or from the most popular entities in the application.”

The way LivingSocial setup Publisher is if two users have the same application installed, then the application finds correlations between the users.  For example: if I have The Lord of the Rings book and you want to read it, then you can ask me if you can borrow it.