It seriously doesn't matter what you do, the moment you step off the well-worn path the haters will come out in full force.
Back in 2005, I had just gotten out of the Navy and I used to be a regular on a fairly popular forum. After seeing one of those dogtag impact printers in the mall, I did some research and realized they could do photo-quality engravings on then-current iPod Nanos. Since graduation time was coming up, I had an idea to sell personalized Nanos online (this was before Apple did free engraving, and before stick-on skins hit the market).
I ordered an impact printer on eBay for about $900 and did some test runs, which turned out great on Zippo lighters and the sample dogtags, but would always screw up on the iPod Nanos (I did mine and borrowed a few from some nice friends). I realized that the machine had a bent shaft and tried to get it repaired, to no avail. A new machine would cost around $2500, and the window of opportunity for graduation was already closing, so I decided to abandon the project and get back to software consulting.
Naturally, I posted about the whole venture on the forum, and oh man did they go nuts. It was like a shark feeding frenzy. At first, I got kind of mad that they didn't understand that I felt $900 was an acceptable risk to try out this idea, and that they were trying to troll me because they thought that I was beating myself up over it. In fact, the opposite was true, I was super glad that I tried it. I was just going to spend that money on a massage chair, anyway. I did end up getting a massage chair later, which they also trolled me about because it had speakers and an iPod dock (this was before Apple products were cool). :)
Eventually, I realized that they would NEVER understand the idea of trying out ideas until something sticks, and I realized that the forum was not only a time-waster but also an unhealthy environment. I stopped posting there pretty shortly after that (partially because they started e-stalking and IRL harassing someone else and I realized I was about one step away from that happening to me), but I still go back once in a great while to see what's going on, just out of curiosity, and it's pretty funny because they still talk about it. I guess fame and fortune have gotta start somewhere. :)
Surprisingly, perhaps, this is the first post that actually made me consider entrepreneurship. You indicated succinctly what positive and negative forces to expect -- and how to reality-check an idea (people freaking out over it ;-))
500 million registered users.
If you aren't feeling charitable, there's also the timeless explanation of fantastic stories of money made combined with poor judgement.
One of the most exciting and genuine posts I've read in a long time.
Good question, and yes, the ban was lifted.
Facebook had no issue with the actual idea--it was just the negative feedback from users on the stream stories that lead to it being banned to begin with. Problem was that Facebook didn't give me a straight answer on what I did wrong until about 5 days after I was banned, which killed any momentum I had going for me.
By the way, thanks a lot for the post, it was a great read. And I'll just join all the others and say: don't let the TC commenters get you down. You did something amazing.
Nobody (well, almost nobody) does it though. FOAFspace is practically a barren wasteland compared to what it could be. All the social networks hide whatever access they do allow, behind proprietary APIs at best. :-(
Anyways, great writeup; I'm looking forward to your future posts.
Believe it or not, I neglected to put ads on the darn thing when it really blew up, so all in all I'm a couple hundred bucks in the red.
I haven't checked the application status page, but only about 7-8k people have reinstalled the app since the ban was lifted. I'm sure there's been some random Facebook game that launched within the past month and has a couple hundred thousand users. Gettin' noticed ain't easy.
You could partner with a local flower/chocolate shop and have it taken care of. Another idea is to pay for sms delivery of breakup, sort of a premium advantage.
How would you know if the breakup was clean or messy or who initiated it? You could seriously damage your shot at the rebound by sending flowers and chocolate to a girl who's world just fell apart.
I suspect that the monetization of this will more likely be in the form of 1) a future project where the experience is applied, 2) an opportunity resulting from the reputation, or 3) advertising.
It might not be a bad idea though to add some sort of "What to do now" plan and incorporate the flowers/chocolates as options.
I've spent over 5 hours trying to access my friends relationship status and cant get it to work. If anyone can help I would really appreciate it. Here is a Stackoverflow question I made: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5373077/access-friends-fu...
Out of curiosity, how are the stats on Crush notifier holding up?
I also can't believe all the shit in the TC comments. People really have nothing better to do with their time than rain on someone else parade, I guess.
Im glad TC implemented the Facebook commenting system, but as Ive noticed some trolls are just creating fake accounts to spew their BS. Though it does seem a lot less then before.
The Breakup Notifier also inspired me to whip something up to find out whenever someone removes you as a friend. It's my first Facebook app and I just wanted to get my feet w/ the API: http://friendsnomore.net