Facebook Credits Draws Criticism, Inspires Competition

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Facebook’s Credits program has some developers chafing at new requirements set to take effect July 1. (Thierry Roge – Reuters)

Starting Friday, Facebook will require all its developers to use its in-network payment system, Facebook Credits. The new restriction will make the digital currency the only one allowed for use on the site, and under the new system, all Facebook applications must give the social network a 30 percent cut.

That restriction has prompted Consumer Watchdog to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, The Washington Post’s Jia Lynn Yang reported, accusing the social network of “anti-competitive tactics.” It’s also inspired the launch of a new product from online advertising company AdKnowledge that lets developers skim their games off of Facebook and generate some revenue outside of its walled garden.

AdKnowledge CEO Scott Lynn said that the new tool, called Social2Web, lets developers take their Facebook games to other game portals such as playedonline.com.

“It’s this macrotheme now as developers are trying to figure out how to survive outside of Facebook,” Lynn said. “This product addresses that concern on behalf of the developer. Over a million developers have built on Facebook. They can use this Social2Web tool to use proprietary viral and marketing features included in the [product] umbrella.”

Bobby McFarland, director of the Social2Web strategy, said that the new product features several tools to let developers reach a wider pool of users off of Facebook. One tool is an incentivized invite, which lets players earn in-game currency by promoting a game on their Twitter or other social networking feed.

Games in Social2Web will run concurrently with the games running in Facebook, and the games will sync in and outside of the social network, Lynn said. The product incorporates some of the social tools that make Facebook games so popular, including a wall.

Lynn said that Social2Web could help gamers as well, since developers won’t have to potentially up their in-game prices to make up for Facebook’s cut.

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