It’s been about 90 days since the f8 Facebook Conference and the debut of OpenGraph, a platform consisting of publisher plugins, semantic markup and a developer API. Every new vehicle needs time for a shakedown drive, to bang out the kinks and to see if users can make something of it.
In point of fact, users have made something of it. fbLike has compiled a list of six OpenGraph success stories, and possible models, for use of the Facebook platform, and were good enough to share it with ReadWriteWeb‘s readers.
Not shockingly, they’ve included themselves. But they make a pretty good case for inclusion.
fbLike was created as a dashboard for Facebook users, built solely on OpenGraph, to function as a social recommendation engine. Abhinav Prathivadi launched it as part of a university project at UC Berkeley in May.
CNN.com was one of the first adopters of the Facebook plugins. The homepage has a Popular on Facebook plugin in the right sidebar along with a Recommend button for each article, which drives traffic from the NewsFeed.
While Yelp has been very popular for reviews about local businesses, the OpenGraph created a new opportunity to help users recommend restaurants directly on Facebook. Placing the Like button on reviewed locations allow users recommend the place outside the Yelp sphere.
Movie site IMDb has used the Like button extensively on individual movie pages to enable a viral cycle of visitors. When users Like a page, it automatically generates a link to that page on the user’s NewsFeed, which again helps drive traffic to the feature-rich website.
Like Yelp, the movie site Fandango has implemented the Like button to allow users to recommend movies off-site. Since Fandango provides an integrated service for buying tickets, the key will be whether the recommendations result in increased ticket sales.
While most of the above examples are services, Levis has used the OpenGraph features to turn its catalog into a product recommendation portal. Product categories have the Like button clearly displaying the preference and enabling the user to recommend any products they have bought before to their friends on Facebook.
Will the utility to companies and the convenience and power of the recommendations to users outweigh Facebook’s heavy-handedness and its frequent privacy breaks? Any additional tools that allow a website to funnel additional interested readers is of value, to both the site and the reader. Add the ability to prioritize and personalize (in however restrictive a fashion), and the value goes up.
When it comes to the question of whether OpenGraph adds value to anyone besides Facebook, the signs, so far, point to yes.
Magic 8 Ball photo by Brian Solis