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Zynga is the clear winner among Facebook app developers with more than 200 million players. But what about the rest of them?You’d be surprised to learn that some of the top app developers on Facebook don’t actually make games. They make apps that modify pages, such as fan pages for bands or businesses, and inject additional content to those pages.
Also among the top developers are Yahoo, Microsoft and Nokia — and none of them make games.
Game developers still control half of the top 15 spots in the Facebook app developer leaderboard, according to AppData. But the rest of the pack — including the number-two developer — are all pretty surprising in what they do.
Monthly Active Users: 14,750,000
Top App: Facebook for Nokia (6,700,000)
Nokia's smartphone operating system on most of its phones isn't as sophisticated as the iPhone operating system or Android, so it's a little more tricky to access Facebook. To get it, you have to connect to the app on Facebook and have Nokia send the app from the Ovi Store directly to your phone.
Monthly Active Users: 16,700,000
Top App: Iwipa Website (16,700,000)
You'll notice a trend emerging, starting with Iwipa -- an app that injects HTML objects into a Facebook page. You can use iwipa to make a Facebook page look a little more spruced up (or hideous) with some additional HTML and iFrame tabs. Iwipa is the least popular of the top 15 developers on Facebook that offers HTML editing.
Monthly Active Users: 17,100,000
Top App: Welcome Tab for App Pages (13,000,000)
Tradeable Bits beats out iwipa by spreading its tools across several apps -- so if you're interested in using them, you're doing to have to subscribe to multiple apps. Tradeable Bits isn't as customisable as iwipia, but it's a little simpler with fewer tools, so it might be better for novices.
Monthly Active Users: 18,400,000
Top App: MyCalendar Birthdays (18,400,000)
You already get birthday notifications on the right rail of your Facebook activity feed. But this app sends email reminders and other notifications. Casual Facebook users will probably ignore this one, but soccer mums trying to keep track of their kids' friends birthdays probably find this invaluable.
Monthly Active Users: 18,774,408
Top App: Gardens of Time (10,100,000)
Playdom, once one of the top three social game makers alongside Playfish and Playdom, has since declined after its acquisition by Disney. We reported it was due to a talent drain, with much of the original team leaving after the acquisition. Playdom is still declining, losing 400,000 users in the past week, according to AppData.
Monthly Active Users: 19,536,295
Top App: Ravenskye City (7,400,000)
6waves Lolapps is a rising player in social games on Facebook -- though it isn't anywhere close to catching up with the other bigger developers. Its games are lightning fast with very smooth animations and more complicated gaming elements than typical Facebook games.
Monthly Active Users: 21,840,000
Top App: Bubble Witch Saga (8,200,000)
King.com doesn't build role playing games on Facebook, like most other developers. Its games are more like the kinds of games you would play on your smartphone, or even a graphing calculator back in high school. But the formula works, since King.com is beating out two other larger social gaming companies on Facebook.
Monthly Active Users: 27,590,000
Top App: Static iFrame Tab (26,600,000)
Woobox doesn't try to be quite as flashy as the earlier HTML tab generators. It's just a box on the page that eats up HTML code and spits out a widget on your Facebook place or fan page.
But it appears people like simplicity. Woobox is beating out Tradeable Bits and Iwipa by a huge margin and cracked the top 10 leaderboard for Facebook app developers.
Monthly Active Users: 27,800,000
Top App: BandPage (27,800,000)
MySpace was very popular among musicians because you could build a page for your band and add your music tracks to it. But MySpace is fading quickly, leaving those artists searching for another way to promote their tracks.
Enter RootMusic, a quick way to upload a musical track to a Facebook page. It's a streamlined, simple interface (much like Woobox) and, well, works. Even established musical artists like Metric use BandPage to add music to their Facebook pages. It's the 7th most popular app on Facebook.
Monthly Active Users: 28,080,035
Top App: Yahoo! Homepage (19,000,000)
Who says the web portal is dead? Yahoo Homepage pulls your information from Facebook and builds a custom homepage that -- if all goes well -- has information relevant to you and your friends. While younger generations might find this to be useless thanks to Facebook, Yahoo is still popular among early web surfers.
Monthly Active Users: 33,840,000
Top App: Diamond Dash (11,000,000)
Wooga is another developer of the simple, casual-style games that you would play on your iPhone. Its most popular game, Diamond Dash, feels like it's out of a casino -- it has booming sounds accompanying rewards and flashing bright lights.
It beats out King.com because its games, while similar, have higher production values and appeal to your more addictive side.
Monthly Active Users: 48,300,000
Top App: Bing (26,800,000)
You can connect Bing, Microsoft's search engine, to your Facebook account and add social search results to your typical searches. It brings in results that your friends have liked. Google does something similar, but it's limited to Google+, which only has 40 million users compared to Facebook's 800 million plus users.
Also popular on Facebook: connecting your account to Windows Live Messenger. Through Messenger, you can update your status and message other Facebook friends.
Monthly Active Users: 59,855,029
Top App: 32,200,000
The Sims Social, built by the Playfish team, was the first game that actually gave Zynga a real run for its money. It was the second-most popular application on Facebook shortly after it launched and nearly caught up with CityVille, the most popular game on Facebook. Since then, The Sims Social has lost some steam, but is still one of the top games on the site.
Electronic Arts backs up The Sims Social with a ton of other games on Facebook, but it hasn't yet replicated the same magic that The Sims Social brought to the table. It still needs hits if it's going to remain relevant and go toe-to-toe with Zynga and avoid Playdom's fate.
Monthly Active Users: 73,200,000
Top App: Static HTML iFrame tabs (73,200,000)
Again showing how popular apps that help you kit out a Facebook page is Mensing, which has the most popular page tool on Facebook. It has just one app and is beating out Electronic Arts and every other game developer aside from Zynga. It's also way ahead of its closest HTML editing competitor.
That's because Static HTML is a super-simple interface that also lets you show different content to Facebook users that 'Like' the page. That way, you can entice Facebook users into Liking the page with some extra content.
Monthly Active Users: 210,450,199
Top App: CityVille (50,800,000)
You could argue that their games are mindless, silly or cookie cutter. But there is no denying Zynga is, without equal, the top developer on Facebook. It has more than a dozen games with more than 1 million users and three of the top five spots in the Facebook app leaderboard. One of those apps, FarmVille, came out years ago.
Zynga has essentially perfected a formula that keeps its players coming back over and over. It iterates slightly with each new title -- like adding a larger scale between FarmVille and CityVille or adding more role-playing elements between Empires & Allies and Adventure World. So while its newest games are very familiar, they still feel fresh and they look better with each passing release.
Zynga's most recent game, CastleVille, its its fastest growing game ever and already has nearly 10 million players. It picked up 5 million players in 6 days -- which is more than a lot of Facebook games have ever had.
It has the largest lead of any social app developer, and it's filed for an initial public offering to raise up to $1 billion. Zynga is expected to begin trading shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday and, despite a few concerns about its growth, seems like it will continue to dominate Facebook for the foreseeable future.