Making it to the top isn’t easy, but staying there is even harder. And, Facebook is finding this out the hard way. Facebook Poke shot to the top of the free apps list in the iTunes App Store within a day of its release. Fast forward a week, and it has not only lost its #1 spot, but has vanished entirely from the top 10. In fact, Facebook Poke is currently languishing at #35.
Facebook Poke’s rise and fall shows that even if you already have a billion users, things don’t necessarily become easier for you. Sure, the massive existing userbase allowed Facebook to climb rapidly to the top of the App Store charts. However, once users discovered that Facebook’s app offers little that isn’t already there in Snapchat, interest waned. In the meanwhile, Snapchat, the service that pioneered the concept of self-destructing messages, climbed to the #4 slot. The fear of having to use real names while sending risqué messages might have also played a role in Poke’s quick fall.
Blindly copying features from other apps hasn’t worked out well for Facebook in the past either. Questions, which was perhaps inspired by the popularity of Quora, was shuttered fairly quickly. The check-in feature has fared comparatively better, but hasn’t managed to come anywhere near dethroning Foursquare, as the original ambition was.
Mobile is Facebook’s biggest challenge, and it won’t be able to conquer the segment by simply copying and iterating. Facebook has some of the smartest engineers in the world. Perhaps its time that it went into another lock-down and brainstormed ideas that can lend Facebook the decisive edge.