development – Stay N Alive Buys Top Facebook App We’re Related

In the early days of Facebook’s developer platform (2007, to be exact), as apps were going from 0 to 2 or more million users in just a matter of days, family history apps were among the first to rise to the top. The link between family connections and friend connections seemed like a natural fit for apps that were built to connect one another. It appears that, according to Ancestry Insider, one of the pioneer Facebook apps in this industry, We’re Related, was just acquired by for an undisclosed amount (both are Utah-based companies where I am located).

We’re Related quickly went to the top of the Facebook app store as number 1 where it sat as the top-used app by users worldwide on the Facebook Platform. The app, founded by Paul Allen (ironically the founder of, intended to show how Facebook friends were related through their family history. The app allowed users to enter their family information, and would then notify family members that they had been added to one’s family tree, asking them to confirm the addition. This “peer-pressure” amongst family members no-doubt led to the app’s popularity on Facebook.

The app was soon expanded to the site, which built a standalone site around connecting families through their social networking connections. Shortly after Facebook started imposing restrictions on how app developers could advertise, the app started losing money and FamilyLink had to pivot to more of a site-based model.

According to Ancestry Insider, FamilyLink was sold recently to, but the assets of the We’re Related Facebook app were retained by Paul Allen. It would appear that some time before July, Paul Allen sold the final assets of the We’re Related app to for somewhere under $11.7 million. According to the SEC Form 10-Q filed by, “In March 2012, the company completed two acquisitions for a total of approximately $11.7 million in cash consideration. The company acquired the DNA assets of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a non-profit organization with a diverse collection of DNA samples and corresponding genealogical information. The company also acquired We’re Related, LLC, which operates the We’re Related Facebook application.” It is unclear how much of that $11.7 million went to We’re Related.

Ancestry Insider also notes that also has started their own Facebook app, which operates somewhat similar to the We’re Related app on top of data. It’s unclear as to whether has used the assets of We’re Related to create their own app.

This acquisition marks the end of a golden era of Facebook app development. This was an era where apps could integrate with every element of the experience, advertise as they wanted, and see incredible results as a result. The playing field has since shifted to a much cleaner approach by Facebook of focusing on the News Feed, while encouraging developers to integrate Facebook Platform outside of the Facebook environment. These apps were truly the pioneers in this era, and deserve all the credit they can get.

Disclosure: We’re Related was one of my first clients when I went out on my own as an entrepreneur. I helped them with some initial wireframes of the app, and later on with some help in publicity for their app. This app is near and dear to my heart.

Learn More About Facebook With Upcoming WebCasts

FacebookI’ve been invited to do 2 WebCasts in the next 2 weeks that I think you might be interested in.  As always I’ll try to post my slides on SlideShare if it makes sense to do so.  I really like an interactive presentation so most of the time my slides don’t make sense.

The first is for the Marketers in the Audience.  It’s about gaining Business value from Facebook, and I’ll discuss how to give your business legs using the Social Network.  I’ll cover how to create an effective Facebook Page for your business, when and how to use your personal Facebook Profile for networking, do’s and don’ts on the network, advertising, the tools you need, and more.  That Webinar is hosted by Marketing Coalition, and is $149 per individual, and $129 per individuals in groups of at least 3.  You can register here.  The Webinar takes place on Thursday at 1:30PM EST.

The second WebCast is free, and hosted by Safari Books Online.  It will target developers new to Facebook development, and in it I’ll cover the basics of what you need to get started in Facebook Development.  We did this last year and I think everyone really enjoyed it that attended.  The first people that register get a free Autographed copy of my book, FBML Essentials, and everyone else gets a free 45-day account on Safari Books Online to read FBML Essentials.  Did I mention how much I love O’Reilly?  You can register here.  My slides from the last one of these I did are up on SlideShare.

There will be a Q&A after each session, so come with your questions and I’ll do my best to answer!

Looking for a RockStar Facebook or OpenSocial Developer?

Robert Scoble - the original has been a huge success for me so far. Just this last month we have gone from just less than 1,000 users to over 7,000 users, and that number shows no sign of slowing down. We’re starting to monetize the site, via one-time purchases of various services, advertising, and will be adding some premium features very soon. I’m slowly actually starting to monetize a service based on Social Media, and thus far, I’m proving it’s going to work.

However, I’ve just about exhausted my resources financially to continue supporting this on just my own savings alone, and have decided it’s time to find something full or part-time that can supplement SocialToo. I am also looking for financing and investment as an alternate source of income, but in tough economic times I have to put my eggs in multiple baskets to ensure something works out.

So, here’s what I have to offer. If you’re looking for a RockStar Facebook, OpenSocial, Twitter, YouTube, or you name the Social Media platform developer to take your app to the next level, I’m your man. I have a very strong software development background which you can see on my LinkedIn profile. I have written two books on Facebook, one on Facebook Development and FBML for O’Reilly (see those in the upper-right of the blog), and one on Facebook professional growth and marketing. I speak and teach others regularly on the subjects of Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, and related topics. I have a good following on multiple networks and a great platform to build your brand as an employee or consultant for your company. Any such relationship would be announced in full disclosure here and any other place it makes sense to mention the relationship. In addition, I am an entrepreneur at heart, which means I have passion in the products I help build. I love seeing these things grow to become successes!

I can develop software – I wrote from the ground up, by myself (with thanks to some great advisors). I can market Social Media. I am learning to monetize Social Media. I have a successful business, and have helped businesses based on Social Media become successes. So, if you or your company are looking for someone with my skills, let’s talk. We can talk full time relationships, consulting relationships, temporary relationships. I’d love to help you out. Oh, and international is definitely an option – I speak fluent Thai, some Spanish, and even some Indonesian and am no stranger to learning new languages and cultures!

At the same time, if you know anyone looking for a good investment that will make money in the near future please forward them my way. In either scenario, SocialToo will continue to grow, will continue to be a focus (while if I work full time for you it will be a side-focus), and you can continue to expect to see the same growth you always have as we move forward. At the same time, I’m a hungry entrepreneur.

You can read my LinkedIn profile at

My contact info is in the upper-right of this blog.

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Photo courtesy the talented Brian Solis

Presentations Available With Audio

Just a quick update – I’m posting my Ignite presentation below, dubbed with audio this time. It should be a great primer to get you started in Facebook Development. Also, scroll down and you’ll be able to listen to the panel I joined at Global Entrepreneurship Week Utah 2 weeks ago.

Facebook Development in 5 Minutes[swfobj style=”margin:0px” width=”425″ height=”355″ src=”” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”]

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: city lake)

Here is the GEWUtah Panel (taken from


Looking for iPhone and Facebook Development and Consulting Shops

With my new work at i.TV (go visit the iTunes Store Home Page if you want to try us out – lower right-hand corner), I have started phasing out my consulting (which used to be my full-time job) and am putting my focus towards building (with a top-notch team and great CEO, of course!) one of the top Entertainment App companies out there. In the process, I am still getting 5-10 people a week contacting me asking if I know anyone that does iPhone or Facebook Development. Quite frankly, finding someone to refer to is not an easy task! That is what I used to do, so it wasn’t something I was looking for (and I know there just aren’t many out there, as well, even with the high demand).

So, if you or someone you know does either iPhone or Facebook development, or work for a company that does, I want to make a deal with you or your company. I’ll send you these referrals for a commission on the deal you make with them. This is a win-win for all – I now have someone to send referrals to. You get the referrals and regular business, and the Clients now have someone they can get help from. Having written books on Facebook, and working for a company that does iPhone App development, along with this blog growing considerably and guest blogging on some of the top blogs on the internet, I get these requests regularly – I’d really like someone to send them to.

If you’re a developer, perhaps you’re starting to see the demand of Facebook and iPhone development. This is an excellent area to have knowledge in, in particular in a down economy. If you’d like to learn I do recommend you look at my book, FBML Essentials, and at the end of this month I’ll be doing a free webinar for O’Reilly in which I’ll cover beginning Facebook development. Stay tuned to this blog and I’ll reveal more details soon.

Know a Facebook or iPhone development company or developer? Shoot me an e-mail (or comment below): jesse at staynalive dot com or call me at (801) 853-8339. Also, if your business is in need of such work, give me a ring and I’ll point you in the right direction!

Well Done Guy! Chris DeVore is a Cheapskate

I just caught this article from Mashable and I just had to pipe in. In the article, Mashable’s Kristen Nicole claims Guy Kawasaki paid too much for the development of AllTop, at $10,000. They compare it to, claiming Chris DeVore only paid $7500 for the development of Askablogr, with its rich feature-set.

I was blown away by this! Not that Guy Kawasaki paid $10,000, but that Chris DeVore only paid $7500 for Askablogr. Now, I don’t know Chris, so take this with a grain of salt, but some call it a deal. I say he’s a cheapskate! For something that will be your primary revenue source and your main line of business, $10,000 for something like is a steal! The fact that Chris DeVore only paid $7500 for his development means he’s either hiring offshore, doing the development himself (in which those costs are way under-inflated), or he’s very much underpaying a bunch of gullible developers that probably don’t believe much in the product they’re working on.

As a business owner, when supporting a technology-based business, it is of utmost importance that you put your developers and IT staff at first priority. They are your bottom-line, and should be the superstars of your business. You have to keep in mind that for top notch developers and technology, you’re competing with the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others to get the best talent. By not paying your developers, you will either a) lose your developers very quickly, b) have a revolution at one time in your future and your developers will all back out on you in rapid succession, or c) not get the best work and skills you could be getting, and you’ll definitely run into scalability issues as your site grows in the future.

I recently finished the book, “My Startup Life“, by Ben Casnochas. I bet Guy’s read it and Chris hasn’t. In it, Casnochas talks about the lessons he learned by not paying his lead developer well. He quickly had threats of the staff to leave, and they quickly ran into scalability issues due to the unexperienced offshores they were hiring overseas. In building a technology-based business it is of utmost importance that you pay and treat your IT staff well or it will come back to bite you in the future.

So, Kristen, I say Guy is the smart one in this case. I am willing to bet his site scales better, his developers are happier, and more likely to work with him in the future. Guy’s likely to get millions for in the future, should it succeed, so $10,000 is a very small price to pay to get good developers on staff.

UPDATE: See Chris’s comment here: I probably inappropriately labeled Chris a cheapskate while trying to defend Guy. It turns out (and I should point out, unless I read it wrong, that the Mashable article did not make this very clear either) that Chris’s project was a project built simply to point out how cheap something could be developed. In that case it would make him an intentional cheapskate, not that there’s anything wrong with that. As I mentioned, I’m a cheapskate too – I just don’t see the reason to short projects in development costs when it is the core to the business. It is an interesting experiment regardless. Thanks for visiting Chris!