Why did Facebook discontinue Parse.com?
No, seriously… I mean, why the F**k did Facebook discontinue Parse.com? Back in 2013, Facebook announced the adquisition of Parse.com. Rumors said that Facebook paid $85M. But some weeks ago, Facebook shut down Parse.
For all of you who don’t know, Parse is a mBaaS (mobile Backend As A Service) and it was great. Basically, a BaaS is a platform that offers an easy-to-use backend for mobile or web app developers. So, if you are a mobile app developer and don’t know too much about server-side development, you can use a BaaS in order to manage your server data from the client-side (the app) using some SDKs. The documentation, the UX, the performance … everything in Parse helped a lot.
I had the chance to speak to some employees at Parse last year. And to be honest, they seemed a bit arrogant to me (did I just say “a bit”?). One of them literally told me: “We are now part of Facebook and we have 400K registered developers, so we don’t care if you can bring us more users”. I didn’t want to tell him that we have 1,000,000 registered developers in Mobincube, just to not hurt his feelings of superiority.
Anyway, the thing is that thousands of developers trusted Parse as a backend for their apps. Now they have to re-code those apps in order to use a different backend platform. Why did Facebook make all those developers trust Parse and now just turns its back on them? Is it just because Parse is not profitable for Facebook, since big developers don’t like to outsource their backends and avoid what currently happened to Parse?
It’s hard for me to believe that when Facebook adquired Parse they were just looking for direct profit through that cool BaaS platform.
In my opinion, Facebook is not a Social Network, but an AD network. They offer those social tools so that people spend time on them, thus generating a huge amount of AD impressions. And not only that, they get valuable information about their users when they use those tools, so they can offer great segmentation, which increases the value of those AD impressions.
But someday, people will stop using Facebook. Some other cool social app will come to scene, so Facebook will stop growing. The amount of AD impressions will start a flat trend. But Facebook’s investors will want to keep the revenue growth. It will be that day when they will ask themselves: “Why the f**k did we shut down Parse?”. Let me explain…
Facebook is alredy willing to increase the amount of AD impressions outside their own tools. That’s why they released an SDK so other developers can use Facebook ADs in order to monetize their apps. But convincing developers to use your SDK if you’re an AD network is not that easy. Too much AD networks are trying to do the same.
The thing is that convincing app developers to use your mBaaS wasn’t that hard, specially when Parse was, by far, the best option for the majority of small and medium mobile app developers.
So, if you are growing a huge community of developers using your BaaS SDK and those developers are hooked to it, what’s the point of cutting relationships with them? Wouldn’t it be a great business if Facebook tried to converge Parse and their AD network? They could have released some new Parse SDK update incorporating Facebook AD features, developing great AD analytics on Parse’s dashboard, making it easy for developers to integrate those ads with just some lines of code. If one developer was happy using Parse, he would’ve accepted to use Facebook ADs before any other AD network, just to save time and show loyalty to Facebook.
As I said in my previous post, AD networks should invest in helping loyal developers generate more traffic, so they don’t need to spend extra resources looking for developers outside the community to offer their traffic. And again, let’s just don’t lie to ourselves, Facebook is not a social network, it is an AD network.