Nicholas Carlson reports that Facebook Connect, the service that allows Facebook users to log into third-party sites using their Facebook credentials, is seeing rapid adoption. Just seven months after launch, over ten thousand sites have integrated the service — from mainstream hangouts like Hulu, to geek havens like Digg, to personal WordPress blogs through a plugin.
So what’s so hot about Facebook Connect, especially in competition with Google Friend Connect? I’ve compared the two services in a previous post, but here’s what Facebook itself has to say about the benefits of Facebook Connect:
Registration: sites that use Facebook Connect as an alternate to account registration have seen a 30-200% increase in registration on their sites.
Engagement: sites with Facebook Connect see a 15-100% increase in reviews and other user generated content
Traffic: For each story published in Facebook, we see roughly 3 clicks back to the site. Nearly half the stories in the Stream get clicked on. This creates opportunities for the site to encourage more user actions â€“ knowing that each one may result in 3 new visits to their site. With other models like search, thereâ€™s nothing you can do to increase user traffic besides optimizing for keywords.
Note that last line comparing Facebook to search. Facebook’s people-driven, walled-garden approach to organizing Web content is in direct opposition to Google’s machine-driven, open-Web approach. The social startup has no qualms about openly challenging the search giant with that approach. With advertisers ever-hungry for personal information and social graph data, not just on Facebook but across the Web, Facebook Connect may be Zuckerberg’s ace in the hole.