Have Facebook's platform policy changes killed free cash promotions?

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At the end of July, Facebook changed their platform policies (rules that regulate the actions developers can take in their Facebook applications / games), and mostly for the worse. TechCrunch caught onto the changes today, and let me tell you: they reek of fear. One particular change seems to completely eliminate the ability for developers to cross-promote their applications across a wide variety of social networks, as developers are now told:

"Apps on Facebook may not integrate, link to, promote, distribute, or redirect to any app on any other competing social platform."

Let's put this more simply. Let's say a game that's available on Facebook also happens to be available to play on Google+ Games. If that developer mentions Google+ Games at all within the Facebook proper app, Facebook will now apparently block or remove the app from the site altogether. Our first reaction (that which makes perfect sense) is that this is Facebook corporate's attempt to stop all references of Google+ Games specifically from infiltrating the minds of players, to keep users right where they are (and keep the money flowing into its pockets). It looks like Facebook isn't entirely confident in its own abilities to combat the new social gaming platform after all.

The more interesting change, though, comes elsewhere, as the rules surrounding rewards of free virtual currency and items have changed. Here's the updated listing:
Applications may reward users with virtual currency or virtual goods in exchange for user actions that do not involve third parties, but rewards for user actions that involve third parties must be powered by Facebook Credits by integrating Facebook Credits offers.

For example, you may not reward users with virtual currency or virtual goods in exchange for any action in which personally identifiable information is shared with a third party, you may not reward users with virtual currency or virtual goods in exchange for third party downloads, such as toolbars or ringtones, and you may not reward users with virtual currency for engaging in passive actions offered by third parties, such as watching a video, playing a mini-game, or taking an anonymous poll.

See that last sentence? If you're like me, the first thing that comes to mind might be something along the lines of FarmVille's many, many free Farm Cash promotions. The question then becomes whether or not these have now been blocked. Technically, users do watch videos and answer poll questions anonymously, and are rewarded with virtual currency for doing so, but since Zynga now deals in Facebook Credits, does that really violate the terms of this new Platform Policy? In typical legal speak, it's hard to really decipher exactly what's being said here, but it's definitely something to think about.

If Facebook continues to limit the possible actions of game developers, aren't they effectively pushing them into the arms of another host (I hear Google+ Games looks nice this time of year)? Sure, Zynga's locked in for a bit of the long haul, but what of other huge developers like EA/Playfish or Disney/Playdom? I'm reminded of the phrase "don't bite the hand that feeds," but we'll just have to wait and see if developers decide to actually bite back.

Would you be willing to purchase premium currency in any Facebook games if your free options suddenly stopped being available? Do you like interacting with Facebook game developers via links you find in-game to Twitter, Flickr and the like? Sound off in the comments.
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