Facebook members can now vote on the second round of finalists for its FBFund seed funding competition, which will give out a total of $225,000 to five grand prize winners. The 25 companies currently in the running have already pocketed $25,000 apiece for the applications they have proposed for Facebook's third-party developer platform.
This is the second annual FBFund competition, but the first one in which members have been able to vote on their favorite apps. They can vote once per day, and can watch promotional "commercials" about what each one of them does. Voting involves installing an app called "FBFund08," which members can embed on their profiles.
The 25 finalists run the gamut from multiplayer games to college search to event planning.
Not only is the voting system a way for Facebook to promote and reward high-quality apps, but it's also a promotional strategy for Facebook to drum up more member interest in the developer platform and prove that some apps are actually worth installing. Some critics say interest is dropping, and the platform has suffered from months of negative press about "zombie bites" and other goofy apps.
Here's an interesting tidbit: The FBFund08 app was not created by Facebook, but by Wildfire, one of the app development companies in the running for an FBFund grant. Facebook effectively acquired the app from Wildfire to power the poll. But, Facebook representatives assured CNET News, that won't give Silicon Valley-based Wildfire any unfair advantages.
The $10 million initially invested in FBFund comes from Facebook investors Accel Partners and the Founders Fund.