Want to be a third-party developer on Facebook? Prepare to duke it out with plenty of others.
I spoke with Kiran Raghavan, Facebook's Asia-Pacific regional manager for its Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program. He said each month, Facebook receives about 60 to 70 applications from developers keen to join its Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program in Asia. From there, 10 percent are shortlisted to get to the next stage of screening. That stage involves face-to-face meetings with developers, where Facebook finds out what the applicants' business models are, how long they've been active, and what they're interested in with regard to Facebook.
The next step requires applicants to submit additional work, such as previous apps they've done for clients. Facebook's people also go talk to their clients for testimonials. The entire process takes, on average, nine weeks from start to end.
All of this due diligence sounds pretty intense, but it's necessary because of how many developers are keen to join Facebook, said Raghavan.
He wouldn't say how many applications Facebook gets globally, but indicated that Asian numbers are far smaller because the program here is nascent compared with the U.S. and EMEA's much more mature scene. Theoretically, this could mean that it's even harder to get into the program in Western markets, since the competition is even tighter against similar criteria.
The PMD program was kicked off last year in April, when Facebook combined its developer and marketing API programs in order to raise the quality of social media marketing on its site. Getting better consultants listed means a better experience for advertisers on Facebook, so that it doesn't get tainted by shady ads or campaigns. This obviously leads to more ad revenue, if customers come to trust Facebook more.
With the PMD program, Facebook also launched a directory for customers to search for consultants by different verticals such as location or level of expertise.
I was speaking with Raghavan on the sidelines of a competition that Facebook launched with Singaporean accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI) a couple of weeks ago. The competition attracted about 100 entries, before the final winning list of six were picked. They were: South Korea's Innobirds Media and Narrowcast Inc; Taiwan's Hiiir Inc; and India's Tookitaki, Adwyze, and Ingrapher.
Innobirds, in particular, is the only company in Asia recognised as an expert across all of Facebook's four product focus areas of pages, ads, apps, and insights.
There are just 260 companies globally that Facebook recognises as experts across all four. While the companies in Asia remain small to medium in size, some of the 260 are huge corporations — Adobe was the first company elevated to this standing.