It’s early in the lifespan of the MySpace platform but a week after the first apps went live we did some counting and the user spread seems just as imbalanced towards a tiny percentage of top players as the Facebook platform is, despite concerted effort by MySpace to democratize things.

According to a recent premium O’Reilly report on Facebook, 1% of the applications on that platform see 74% of total use and the top 20% have 98% of usage. MySpace tried to combat that trend so that developers would be more engaged in its platform, but that platform’s numbers so far aren’t looking much better.

When Facebook began publishing the percentage of each app’s users who engaged with an app daily, it moved the discussion beyond mere installs. Installs are all that’s available from MySpace so far, but here’s how their distribution looks. All these numbers are moving targets, but we went in and did some counting anyway.

The Numbers

  • Approximately 340 apps have been installed approximately 85,000 times so far on MySpace.

  • 23 of those apps (7%) have about 74% of all the installs.

  • The Top 5 apps (1.5%) have 45% of all installs.

  • That means that 93% of all the apps on MySpace are splitting only 26% of installs.

Fred Wilson has stats on growth rates, too.

The Difference Between MySpace and Facebook Platforms

MySpace hasn’t begun promoting the app platform to users yet, but the apps are live and have every opportunity to spread virally. The people behind the platform have worked hard to offer app developers equal opportunity for success. The MySpace developer platform opened to all developers at the same time, one month before apps went live to users, so that everyone had an equal chance at the first movers’ advantage believed to be so beneficial to the select few apps that launched with the Facebook Platform. MySpace also took the brilliant step of allowing apps to live on users’ homepages, not just on the public profile pages where interaction with Facebook apps is limited to. The vast majority of MySpace apps are taking advantage of that option.

Has any of that mattered? Not so much, so far. Early performance matters a lot, too. At least according to the O’Reilly report linked to above – on Facebook apps either came out of the gate fast and then plateaued or they never really took off at all.

The Winners, So Far

The five dominant apps so far include Yahoo’s Music Video Playlist Generator, the Fred Wilson backed Zynga’s Texas Hold’em, Photobucket’s Top Pics (my favorite so far!), the fairly insipid Quote of the Day and Bonehead Labs’ Pokey, a puppy you can pet and play with.

MySpace users aren’t stupid and as Mark Zuckerberg said in our interview at SXSW, app developers aren’t inherently spammy. So what’s going on?

Again, those 5 apps above account for about 45% of the 85k app installs that have happened so far. Say hello to the future of computing: web based platforms that anyone can find success on by building apps that deliver value to a diverse group of social networking users? Maybe not.