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Fred Wilson is Twitter’s top investor. He mentioned that he thinks Twitter should bring core features in-house. There is a lot of deciphering of Fred’s comments because he is on Twitter’s board and yet he says he is speaking for himself, but the writing appears to be on the wall. All of those companies building applications and services based on the Twitter API are on alert and could face extinction if Twitter decides to replicate their work in-house. A nicer outcome would be for Twitter to acquire companies like Tweetdeck, a popular desktop Twitter client.

And on the same day, Inside Facebook, says Will Facebook Start Investing More in Its Own Apps Again?


two years ago Facebook created the “fbFund,” a seed-stage grant program (in year one) that became an investment incubator (in year two) designed to cultivate startups building rich social applications congruent with Facebook’s vision. Looking at the types of things fbFund chose to fund and incubate gives you a sense of the diversity of applications Facebook hopes will thrive in the long run on the Facebook Platform:

  • Commerce (RentMineOnline, RunMyErrand, Workstir)
  • Communication Tools (GroupCard, NutshellMail, Plancast)
  • Content/Media Discovery (Navify, Photos I Like, Sortuv)
  • Dating (Thread)
  • Faith (MyChurch)
  • Fashion (Weardrobe)
  • Games (HitGrab, Funji, Gameyola, Paradise Paintball)
  • Health and Fitness (RunThere)
  • Marketing Services (Wildfire)
  • Non-Profit (Samasource, Vittana)
  • Publishing (Networked Blogs)
  • Security (Life360)
  • Travel (TravelBrain)
  • Wedding (Weddingbook)

This list represents a diversity of web apps that Facebook hopes access to the social graph can fundamentally improve versus existing solutions. While Facebook has only built core applications (like Photos and Events) itself, it’s relying on the developer community to build the apps that fulfill this vision by building sustainable businesses in many of these areas.

The Facebook stuff is from Inside Facebook Gold, Inside Facebook’s new data and analysis membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth. In addition to monthly data updates, Inside Facebook Gold presents weekly in-depth analysis articles exploring the most critical developments impacting the future of the Facebook ecosystem. Click here to learn more.

Notice the Dating category, where Thread was the anointed leader. Thread has around 25,000 monthly visitors at Thread.com. I see the website has gone through a redesign. I liked the old look better, but that’s progress in some people’s eyes.

SNAP, makers of Are You Interested, has 626,980 daily active users. Zoosk has only 453,853 but has around 2.5 million monthly visitors to Zoosk.com. The AYI website has about 100k visitors per month. I guarantee these numbers are low and as I triangulate them with various Facebook application measurement services I’m even more convinced this is so, but that’s what we have access to right now.

Zoosk bailed on Facebook and moved everyone to their own url, then got slaughtered in recent months when Facebook took away notifications. AYI is basically floating along doing it’s thing, making money but appears to be pretty much in neutral.

It’s disappointing to see that Thread is barely moving the needle. They worked at Facebook HQ all summer, got some money and appear to be talented folks, yet the service is pretty much at a standstill.

In fact, I see that the Thread Facebook page points to Thread.com. They don’t even have a Facebook application anymore? What does the fbFund think of this? Online dating is a billion dollar a year industry, and Facebook funds a startup that doesn’t even have a Facebook application?

In any event, dating remains a category that Facebook should be interested in capitalizing in, although there are other markets far larger than dating that they are most likely focusing on first. Ticket sales for example.

I refuse to believe that I am off the mark in saying that Facebook is going to be the de-facto way to meet singles. It just may take longer than we expected.

Any other cool Facebook dating apps I should know about?