How much should web destinations focus on apps?

At the Graphing Social Patterns conference in San Jose one major point of discussion is how to bring your existing web presence into Facebook. Linked In CEO, Reid Hoffman, stated in his keynote speech this morning that although he acknowledges the economic opportunity of having an application within Facebook, it still isn’t clear with current restraints that anyone can build an app with enough functionality to monetize it as much as a pre-existing and successful website counterpart. On the other hand, Rock You!‘s Ro Choy, said that once his company stopped focusing on their web site/destination and focused on apps, their user base increased seven-fold.

Both Linked In and Rock You!’s web destinations have been experiencing phenomenal growth in the past year yet both are faced with the question of how much to focus on applications during this significant shift in the social media landscape. Understanding that this is a question many companies are struggling with right now, we are pleased that the CEO of Netvibes, Tariq Krim, is attending App-Camp to share with us his point of view.

Netvibes, with their web destination also in a period of growth, has an application on Facebook that is unique in that it falls somewhere between the Linked In and the Rock You point of view – it is a Facebook application in that it is downloaded through Facebook, but it brings part of your Facebook experience to your Netvibes page (see below). Is creating applications that take you out of the “walled garden” of Facebook the answer, or is the answer “if you can’t beat em’, join em’?” There are a lot of metrics to take into consideration: growth rate, interactivity, new users vs. existing, advertising opportunities, etc. It will be interesting to get Tariq’s point of view.

My Facebook profile info on my Netvibes page:
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