The South Park of Facebook

16 Apr 2010

‘Bob has found a lost cow trampling his cabbage patch’. ‘Mary earned a ribbon for her prize pumpkins’. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who has removed friends’ Facebook feeds after being inundated with a spewing frenzy of monotonous FarmVille updates, but worry not, there is a wickedly funny antidote and its name is FarmVillain.

Irish start-up Silly Goose has found the antidote to FarmVille

FarmVillain, a Facebook application created by Irish start-up Silly Goose, is so bad they’ve launched it thrice: we’re talking the kind of black humour that has earned the app the label ‘The South Park of Facebook’.

All those friends that flooded your Facebook news feed with BoresVille updates? You can send them such niceties as messages about gum-slobbering mad cows, child support-dodging stallions, farmers with a hankerin’ for sheep, children of the corn and eh … zombie Jesus.

A definite WTF moment for FarmVille addicts when they see these updates on their Facebook walls.

“The first days of FarmVillain were very rocky. When we launched the first time there was virtually no interest for the first few days and then literally overnight we jumped from 10 users to about 40,000,” says Silly Goose co-founder Mark Piotrowski, who started the company with his wife Deanna.

“We were shut down by a Facebook bot that night. Our content was so different and extreme to a community used to nothing but cute images that we received a number of complaints in a very short period of time. Since the popularity exploded so quickly the ratio of complaints to users at the time was very high.”

For the second launch, FarmVillain took down the more risqué content and the number of users rose even higher than before, a third re-launch was due to developer-specific technicalities but since this, FarmVillain has been growing with no signs of stopping.

Almost half a million active users and growing

There are currently 457,640 monthly active users with a growth rate of about 10,000 new users every day and a rating of 4.9 out of 5 from most users’ reviews. It’s clear that as much as Facebook users love the FarmVille phenomenon, they love to poke fun at it and giggle at naughty references, too.

“FarmVillain has shown us something very important about Facebook: there is a serious shortage of mature content,” explains Piotrowski.

“We are the first dark humour application out there. Our fans have called us the South Park of Facebook.”

“The whole world of social networking and Web 2.0 is very po-faced and serious,” declares Piotrowski.

“It badly needs someone to inject some humour and some mature content. Facebook needs a South Park in the same way that TV needed it – if we can inject the same ‘Villain’ humour into other popular apps – on Facebook and potentially on other platforms, then I think we’ll definitely find a willing audience!”

There is one thing, says Piotrowski, that fans have been disappointed with and that is the fact that FarmVillain is not a full-blown game.

“We have received literally hundreds of messages demanding that this be built into a full-blown game. Since we are a small team right now we are looking to expand through investor funding to make this possible. So if you know anyone …”

I’m off to deliver more cow bell to my neighbours. More cow bell!

By Marie Boran