Facebook Refers Brands to 14 Preferred Developers

Facebook has narrowed to 14 the list of developers it will recommend to brands, celebrities, and other potential big spenders that want help building apps and fan pages.

Among those anointed by the new referral program are New York social app studio Buddy Media, Lincoln, NE-based youth marketing agency Archrival, and Atlanta-based social agency Vitrue. Facebook will refer to these companies inquiries from brands and others looking to build fan pages, apps such as contests and polls, or Facebook Connect installations that integrate the site’s capabilities with outside properties.

Facebook does not handle such projects in-house, but its sales, marketing, and platform teams routinely field requests for them, according to Justin Osofsky, a product marketing exec in Facebook’s developer network. The new program will give staff a place to direct inquiries.

Osofsky said the decision about what developers to include was based on each firm’s record of transparency and success building quality user experiences. Consideration was given to those that provide screen grabs and other details about past projects.

At least one firm, Buddy Media, enjoys an already tight relationship with Facebook. The companies share four investors, and CEO Mike Lazerow said Buddy Media has worked very closely with Facebook for two years. “For us, this is just formalizing a close relationship we’ve had for a while,” he said.

Lazerow said the new product is an extension of Facebook’s more open approach to working with developers, a shift that began with the company’s October “roadmap” speech to the developer community. “Facebook is making it much easier to work on their platform by providing more information,” he said.

Lazerow said there’s no minimum budget threshold below which Buddy Media will not work with brands. Once the call comes in, the company puts together a proposal based on the goals of a new client’s Facebook deployment.

“I don’t think we’re at the budget stage until after the referral happens,” he said.

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