The Facebook Marketplace is Now Open

Photo slideshows. Music sharing. Horoscopes. Friend quizzes. It seems you can find a widget for everything these days, especially if you’re a member of the second largest social network online.

Last month Facebook opened its doors to application developers. Since then more than 1100 mini-applications and widgets have been created for the Facebook community.

As the online answer to yearbooks, Facebook was formed in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. Last year Facebook was rumored to have a price tag of over $2 billion. Not bad for a college student. Why couldn’t I think of that?

While initially only available to college students, Facebook has taken the slow and steady route to expansion by opening its doors to high school students and eventually everyone.

Claiming 27 million active members, the Facebook community doesn’t yet match up to MySpace’s 100 million, but I think Facebook is on the track to long-term, steady success.

Facebook’s breakthrough came with opening up its API to outside developers. It will only be a matter of time before most Facebook-ers are customizing their profiles with all of the widgety goodness already created for them.

One of the most popular widget applications has been iLike which lets users list and share their favorite songs and music artists. The six-month-old iLike company had about 3 million unique users to its new site. After launching its application on Facebook, iLike now has over 6.5 million total users. That’s an increase of one million users a week with advertising only on Facebook.

Facebook is also catching the eye of many big brands and corporations. The term “facebooked” has already been coined as a verb by many community members. That’s pretty remarkable for a community phenomenon created just three years ago by a college kid.

Social media sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, are great marketing opportunities for targeting specific demographics, in addition to being the logical progression for SEO and SEM. Online marketing is much more than optimizing sites or buying ads. It is apparent every day that the search arena is constantly evolving. Wise search marketers are at the front end of the trends and are continuously moving into areas that complement search.

Now my next question is when will Facebook open its doors for PPC advertising?