I've been following the many fb apps over the past several weeks. Lots of the industry is looking at apps and measuring them by their popularity. This makes sense on the surface. The question is - for how long does this make sense and what becomes the value creation trigger?
Here's an example....
Jangl has built phonebook, which as of right now has 3,212 users (although has about 80X that in their friends profiles now too). This count began about 2 weeks ago, so not bad so far. There's a lot of real utility in phonebook, because it's like your phonebook + switchboard for all your facebook friends. But it requires usage to really begin to grow big. Until then, the growth rates are pretty good, and certainly better than most.
On the other hand, there are other applications like What's Your Porn Name? with 3123 users, which have a more impressive growth rate, and in just a few days became the #2 most viral app on fb. There's not a lot of utility, in fact it's very temporal. You do it once, get a laugh, and maybe your friends get a laugh and that's it. It's genius from a growth stand point.
It's all good - let's see how startup/funding froth plays into this stuff though.
Note: both phonebook and What's Your Porn Name were developed by Jangl people.