FarmVille Breaks Away From Facebook

FarmVille has just been released as a standalone site off Facebook – Very important stuff here, read on….

FarmVille.com used to redirect to Zynga.com until late Thrusday night, it started showing signs of a standalone version of FarmVille. FarmVille still uses a Facebook log in to connect, but it uses Facebook connect to display your activity on their site.

I wondered if I was seeing something new or just seeing something that I had not noticed before.

So I Googled and Yahooed farmville.com and found a version cached two days ago did not have a site on it in Google. On 10 / 22 Yahoo listed a farmville.com cached version, redirected to Zynga.com. Both caches are now gone now but I could prove to myself this was breaking news.

Also others reported this news at the end of last year, but the version I am seeing is very different, just compare the screen shots to the look now.

But FarmVille is standalone, does not break Google TV as Zynga Games do break on Facebook using Google TV! I have no problems running flash on GTV, only Facebook give me problems and only on Zynga apps.

UPDATE: Zynga has also released it’s first game for iGoogle called Scramble. It is made just for Google and uses your Google / Gmail Contacts list, not a Facebook log in.

Looks like iGoogle is going to be the home of Google Games as I predicted when Travis Campbell interviewed me.

Why is FarmVille Important to You?

  • Facebook makes money off the advertising to the right of every game. Because you see these ads again and again over time, they have more impact on you. Remember the old adage that it takes 7 to 10 views of an ad for the viewer to take action.
  • When you need new features (called parts) for FarmVille or CafeWorld the easiest way to get them is buy them. Until now Facebook took the payment for the part and then shared a small percentage with Zynga. The payment is taken by Facebook Inc. Now on FarmVille.com Zynga takes the payment and the billing address is Zynga.com. Big difference, big bucks.

Until now, Facebook had Zynga over a barrel, they were their traffic producer, their home, and their banker.

Zynga games break on Google TV hosted on Facebook, but FarmVille.com does not. It runs better on every device I have tested it on so far, including Google TV.

Zynga could up their income by as much as 70% and FaceBook could lose that income. Between ad revenue and their take of parts bought for games, this could easily be $100 million in lost revenue to Facebook.

Now we see why Google poured the $100 million in investment into Zynga. It was so they could breakaway from Facebook. Very Crafty there Eric Schmidt. Google may have just hit Facebook where it hurts, in ad revenue from Christmas.

This is important to us because now FB will not have the monopoly on Zynga traffic and their views and time on page numbers could decline massively. Facebook has been touted time and again as being more trafficked and bigger than Google. In reality it was Zynga games producing much of these numbers.

When traffic stats come out next year, Facebook could no longer be touted as more trafficked than Google.

If ads come to Zynga game domains, they will be supplied by Google, not FaceBook. Google supplies ads that pay AdSense affiliates way more than the bargain basement prices we can buy Facebook advertising for.

So if FaceBook game time drops, profits will decline, traffic numbers will drop, and a previously unprofitable site like Facebook cannot afford to see profits drop at a time when they are posintioning themselves to go public with an IPO in 2012.

Expect a Droid app soon and an official Google iGoogle gadget to play Farmille there and there are many reports of Zynga hiring Android developers.

The FarmVille Chrome extension is already live. It does have a beta label on it and depending on your OS this may or may not perform well.

However this plays out, it will be interesting to see data on this after the new year.

Got questions? Your take on this is valuable to us, tell us more in the comments below

8 Comments

  1. Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    I will certainly be passing this on to those who I know are interested in marketing info but do not necessarily play farmville.

  2. Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks Rebecca! FarmVille is not the focus, glad you got that one, it’s about traffic and advertising.

  3. Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Google never miss a trick so not surprised this has happened.

  4. Posted November 1, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The fact that losing one game can make the difference between Facebook posting profits or loss amazes me.

    With a $100 million investment into gaming, Google should push developers to work on game versions that would exploit all those hours of eyeballs into something more useful besides simply generating ad revenue. What’s the name of that project that harnesses thousands of people’s computers to generate answers for earth’s biggest problems? I think IBM started it but I’m not sure. Google should apply a similar technique or come up with something… I have to cringe when I think of how much time is wasted by people playing games like Farmville… there has to be some way to harness all that time and effort.

  5. Posted November 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Zynga games are one of the only reasons I’m on facebook anymore. I’m really glad to hear that they’ve started breaking away. Any idea if this will be following suit with the other games like Cafe World or Mafia Wars?

    Also, will you have to start over if you want to play on a separate platform? currently Mafia Wars exists on a few different media, Facebook, Myspace, and maybe a few others. However, they are all separate games. Your friends are not linked, gear, experience and currency do not carry over. I think something that needs to be considered is the ability to log in to the same exact version of the game WITHOUT your facebook account. Otherwise people will have to start all over on iGoogle, zynga.com or wherever else they go.

    I’m sure they’re already working on this by collecting email addresses and subscribing people to daily bonuses aside from FB accounts.

  6. Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    @Ron Borg I really resonate with your vision of using that time and attention for building the real world rather than a virtual world! Brilliant! Just imagine the type of companies that would be advertising then like “green” companies, etc. Now that I could get into!

    This is fascinating @Chris and makes so much sense. I love how you catch these things and let us know. You are really tuned into what’s going on behind the scenes… like you’re a “remote viewer” Don’t let the CIA know of your gift… they’ll be recruiting you and we’ll lose you ;D

  7. Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Debbie, and don’t give the CIA any ideas, I don’t like working for other people and I am a pretty crappy employee too.

  8. Posted November 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Guys

    As you say, this is not about the games themselves its all about the income potential in the long term. Google are determined to win whatever the costs and were certainly “miffed” when facebook started to get ahead. Now the tables look like they are about to turn once again in Googles favour.

    geoff