As of today, there are 11,818,880 users on Facebook who live in Turkey and are over the age of 18. This figure is according to the self-service ad module on Facebook. I certainly concede there are many duplicate accounts in this figure, but I think it would be safe to assume that there are over 8m unique Turkish users of Facebook. In fact, comScore estimates 5.5m average daily visitors for the month of August 2009.
This is enormous traffic. To put this in perspective, MSN Turkey estimated the Turkish internet user population at 12-14m in August 2006. As far as the Turkish market is concerned, Facebook is now nearly as big as the entire internet was just three years ago.
As an venture capital investor focused on the Turkish market, this makes me extremely excited. It should surprise no one that almost everyday, I receive a business plan for a Facebook app-driven venture that plans to capitalize on the strong engagement Facebook enjoys in Turkey.
Or should it?
The previous paragraph is a lie. I am amazed at the way Turkish internet developers are ignoring this enormous potential. When you look at the most popular apps on Facebook, there is not a single Turkish app. The same is true for app developers.
Two weeks ago, a Turkish app named Senin İçin jumped to the top of fastest growing apps list, with an MAU of 681K. This week, they are nowhere to be seen, having only grown to 815K. Very notable, though, is the presence of another app, also named Senin İçin! (BTW; I thought FB would filter out apps with the same/similar names.)
I think Facebook represents a phenomenal opportunity for Turkish developers. Facebook's growth in Turkey has proven that viral growth works here, with the right incentives and hooks. Zynga is showing everyone that you can attain revenues thru FB apps. I would bet that at least 5% of Zynga's reported $100m+ revenues are coming from Turkey. How many Turkish internet companies can boast of similar revenue traction?
I will be keenly watching to see if the Turkish developer community wakes up to this opportunity.
Image credit: Taylanbey