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IDEA #74 – FMail (Facebook App)

I think there’s enough open architecture in the Facebook API that would allow someone to create a Gmail/Hotmail/Yahoo! Mail/Zimbra copycat. The current Facebook mail/messaging is very simple (no BCC, no forwarding, no quick access to your contacts).

You would need to have your own domain that you open up as the “free” email address domain (i.e. ‘’ — stick away from ‘facebook’ being in the name, because that is copyrighted and FB may sue you in the future).

This app would tap into your FB network first as your main contacts; it’d allow you to import contacts from your Gmail/Hotmail/Outlook/etc contacts.

It would monetize via contextual ads like Gmail.

The user could use the app within FB or you could also have a stand-alone website.

You could integrate/create IM within the web-based app as I mentioned as a previous idea (although my previous idea was IM as a desktop app).

You can add a profile action link under every friend’s profile that says, “email this user”. Attachments are already built-in. Users could email to FB friends or email addresses.

You could also create a desktop app or AIR/Silverlight app using FB’s desktop API features — thus, you could create a MS Outlook competitor.

Big money in email, of course.

  • Wayne Mulligan

    I don’t know about this one Steve. It would be too open to competition if Facebook created a competing offering that was tied directly into their messaging system. They’re now allowing people to send real e-mails from their FB Inbox. You also have access to all of your friends and it displays them in a very intuitive fashion (similar to GMail). It wouldn’t be hard to begin exposing friend’s/contact’s e-mail addresses as well. The hardest part for FB would be creating a reliable infrastructure so nobody ever loses a piece of mail (from what I’ve read this was one of the biggest concerns for GMail).

    Just my two pennies.

  • Don Clark – Atlanta, GA

    Im a little confused. I kinda dropped out of the whole myspace thing, but I keep hearing about facebook. Isnt this just a more glorified version of myspace? Guess I need to take a quick look.

  • Joe

    Xobni is generally pretty quiet about what they are doing, but this snippet on their blog does touch what you are talking about:

    I do really like their use of the word “instead”, it’s a good point to the wedge they are trying to insert into facebook messaging.

    Great blog BTW, I sympathize with project concept overload, where’s a good job for someone like that?

  • Spike

    >Big money in email, of course.

    I guess you’re right that there’s still room in email considering Zimbra was acquired by Yahoo for $350 million today :-)

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