Facebook Starts Preferred Developer Program
The initial group of 14 preferred developers includes Archrival, Buddy Media, Involver, Shuffle Interactive, Sprout and Vitrue. The full list of the developers can found on the Facebook developer wiki.
Among them, they have built branded Facebook apps for companies including Red Bull, Chase, MTV and Disney. "These consultants are well-versed in building Facebook integrations and offer solutions ranging from contests, polls and campaigns to deeply integrated social experiences," wrote Kristin Thayer in a post on the Facebook developer blog Wednesday.
Justin Osofsky, who works with Thayer on the Facebook Developer Network, said in an interview that the initiative stems from companies asking for advice on who to hire to build applications, Facebook fan pages and seamless integrations with Facebook Connect, the social network's affiliate program for third-party sites.
"We think the preferred developer program is going to be a valuable resource for people to quickly find help and start building on Facebook," said Osofsky. Beyond the original group of developers, Facebook next year will open the program to others demonstrating a track record of creating successful apps or brand pages. There is currently no charge for applying or participating in the program.
Ososfsky noted that inclusion does not constitute a formal endorsement from Facebook, and the company doesn't guarantee developers' work. The preferred partner program debuts as Facebook begins rolling out changes it outlined in October in a "roadmap" for developers. Among the updates, Facebook ended its verification program for individual apps, instead extending the program's more rigorous standards to all Facebook apps.
Among other key changes, Facebook is making it easier for developers to ask for users' primary email address within applications to facilitate direct contact.
With the launch of Facebook's controversial new privacy settings last week, developers of third-party apps now can get access to all of the "publicly available information" about users -- including names, profile pictures, cities and pages people are fans of -- when their friends download the apps.