Nick O'Neil of recently posted a blog entry entitled The Future of Widgets on Facebook: Dead where he wrote

As a joke I created the Bush Countdown Clock when the platform launched and amazingly I attracted close to 50,000 users. While the application was nothing more than a simple flash badge, it helped a lot of people express themselves. Expression is not Facebook’s purpose though, sharing is. Widgets or badges that help users express their personal beliefs, ideals, and personality are now harder to find with the new design.

Thanks to the redesign all the badges which were “cluttering” the profile have been moved to a “Boxes” tab which most people don’t visit apparently. When the new profile was first rolled out, the traffic to my application actually jumped a little but oddly enough on September 11th, things took a turn for the worse. I’m not sure what happened but my guess is that a lot of the profiles started to get shifted over.
It’s clear though that widgets have not survived the shift over and my guess is that within a matter of weeks we will see most top-performing widget applications practically disappear.

-Bush Countdown Clock Daily Traffic Graph-

This is one aspect of the Facebook redesign that I didn't consider in my original post on What You Can Learn from the Facebook Redesign. Although moving the various applications which are basically badges for self expression like Bumper Sticker does reduce page load times, by relegating them to an infrequently visited tab they are guaranteed to be less useful (people don't see them on my profile) and less likely to be spread virally (people don't see them on my profile and say "I gotta have that"). On the other hand, applications that are primarily about users interacting with each other such as Scrabble and We're Related should still do fine.

Application developers have already started inventing workarounds to Facebook's changes which penalize their apps. For example, the Bumper Sticker application now focuses on adding items to your Mini-Feed instead of adding a badge/box to your profile. This gives it valuable placement on your profile (if only for a short time) and a small chance that it will show up in the News Feeds of your friends.

This aspect of the redesign has definitely attacked what many had started calling the MySpace-ization of Facebook which resulted in the need for a  Facebook Profile Clean Up Tool. It will be interesting what this will lead to new classes of applications becoming popular on the site or whether it just another chapter in the cat & mouse game that is spreading virally on the Facebook platform.

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