Remember all those Facebook games people played incessantly? Mafia Wars? Farmville? Countless other Zynga games? The first thing that comes to mind (unless you're 50+ and you just loooooove playing those games and telling all your friends about it), is how g-damn annoying it is to see your Facebook news feed littered with crap about these games and how someone needs 5 cows or some crap.
Zynga never really took the hint - people will avoid playing your game if they think they can't have control over their feed. That's the epitome of our online personas, and they're almost as important as our real ones (more important for some people), so we tend to get pissed when someone speaks on our behalf. I know several people who won't use Spotify because they think it's "that app that constantly tells everyone what you're listening to."
And you know what? The people who say that are kind of right. Spotify does this by default, and one of the greatest things about Spotify is the social tie-in. But how do you use Spotify without having this annoyance of spamming your friends? There are ways to disable it, which many have including myself. Quick side note: if you're looking for ways to handle any popular app - even just basic usage - just google what you want and throw in "lifehacker" and you'll probably find your answer. For instance "lifehacker spotify disable facebook posts" were keywords that got me what I wanted.
But it shouldn't have to be that way. In fact, it doesn't. As it turns out, when you're leveraging Facebook for an app, whether that be for something like Spotify or something as simple as a login system for Groupon/LivingSocial/DealChicken, the developer has the ability to request what data they need. Need being the keyword. I can understand if an app wants to know your birthday, or your email so they can send you whatever you purchased (as is the case with DealChicken), but to ask for your friends list, their posts, as well as access to post on your behalf is crazy. It's the equivalent of asking someone if you can marry their daughter, but asking on the first date. "Get the hell out of here kid, before I shoot you!"
Actually, in defense of DealChicken, they give you the opportunity to allow that behavior or skip it, which is a huge improvement and I'm thankful someone started doing it.
I'd prefer not even getting asked in the first place, but one step at a time.
This brings me to the "pure evil" part of the post. Draw Something by OMGPOP. Another story of meteoric rise of popularity, and uses Facebook so that you may play games with your friends (similar to Scramble With Friends or Words With Friends, Zynga games that don't blast stuff to your wall - though they could at any moment).
Yesterday, I got the latest app update for Draw Something on my iPhone. They added some cool features, sure, but what I noticed first was that it was asking me for Facebook permissions again. This time, asking me to be able to post on my behalf. "Hell, no!" I thought, and denied the app. I was then informed that I can't play unless I sign into Facebook, which is when I quickly learned that to sign in and play, I need to adhere to their new "requirements." So I allowed it, but then went to Facebook, dug up my list of apps and revoked the permission instantly. And you can do that at any time with any app, but it's not obvious to most people. Plus, doesn't OMGPOP realize that it's people HATE THAT CRAP? (I put it in all caps to really emphasize the hate, not to make some wordplay off the company name.) What a great way to take your impressive success and just throw it away.
People don't decide to get these apps because they see it inundating their Facebook feed, they get the apps because word of mouth suggest they're fun. I saw someone post a drawing of Green Day on Facebook, it piqued my curiosity so I downloaded the app, and now I play it religiously. Let the viral rumor mill make your app popular, don't try to "make it viral" yourself. There's no such thing. Plus, in trying to do that, you'll probably cannibalize the entire thing.
For extra credit, check out the list of what app developers can ask you for. You'll be pretty surprised the amount of information you can inadvertently give away.