I remember way back in 2007 when Facebook first launched their app platform. Developers were free to add their own advertising and user transactions, Zuckerberg said, and Facebook wouldn’t take a cut.
Developers flocked to Facebook and a symbiotic relationship emerged. Some developers got fat and happy on money made from Facebook users, and Facebook eventually started forcing developers to use Facebook’s credit system, where Facebook took a non negotiable 30% fee.
No developers really yelled “bait and switch,” although Zynga came close. If they don’t care I don’t care, and everyone seems to be getting along fine now.
Still, I find the way Facebook phrases its tax fascinating. “Facebook paid more than $1.4 billion to game developers (and other app makers) in 2011,” said Facebook today (this was previously reported too).
That’s sort of like the Federal government issuing a press release that they “paid” citizens whatever they didn’t take that year in taxes. It suggests Facebook’s thinking is that all of the money is theirs, really, and that they passed so much along is worth of a back slap. Or it’s just brilliant PR. Or both.