iLike: Riding the Facebook tsunami

Each time I write about iLike — the music-sharing application that is by far the most popular app on the new Facebook platform F8 — the numbers boggle the mind (and my mind doesn’t boggle easily). The first time, it was the day that Facebook’s new widget-sharing feature went live, and iLike had gone from having just 1,200 users to having more than 400,000 in less than 24 hours, and was trying to scrounge up server space.

snipshot_e4ia5vhurcg.jpgThe next time I wrote about it the feature had more than two million users. Pretty amazing, right? Well, according to the company’s blog, it now has over six million users. That’s about 3,000 times more than it had a couple of weeks ago, and the application is adding about 300,000 users a day — a rate of growth that is unlike almost any new application I can think of. In a chart at the iLike blog, the company compares its growth to Skype, Hotmail and ICQ, and I think those are probably pretty good comparisons. The big question, of course, is whether all of the people who have added the app to their Facebook profile will become regular users of iLike, and actually bring the company any revenues as the result of its stardom.

In other Facebook-related news, the blogosphere’s newest star — Netscape founder Marc Andreesen — has a look at the F8 platform. He says that his opinion is the platform is “a dramatic leap forward for the Internet industry,” and notes that Silicon Valley shows that “in any fight between a platform and an application, the platform will always win.” In a nutshell, he says:

“Facebook is providing the ease and user attraction of MySpace-style embedding, coupled with the kind of integration you see with Firefox extensions, with the added rocket fuel of automated viral distribution to a huge number of potential users, and the prospect of keeping 100% of any revenue your application can generate.”

Marc goes on to do a fairly instensive, feature by feature analysis of the Facebook platform and the reasons for its success, and in passing mentions iLike as well — and how any app that hitches its wagon to the platform had better have the resources to scale quickly (anyone want to hazard a guess at what iLike is paying for servers right now?) I encourage you to read the whole post.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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