Preferred Developer Consultants (PDCs) are companies that Facebook has accredited as being particularly proficient at creating Facebook integrations for their clients using Platform. As well as recognition, companies get early access to information about upcoming changes to Facebook Platform and a closer working relationship with Facebook developers.
Entry into the program is very selective; there are only 90 member companies worldwide and they mostly have a strong track record of providing Facebook services to Fortune 500 businesses. Applications are only considered at particular intervals, and the Autumn 2011 round for submissions is currently open. You can get the submission form here, and the closing date is 6 December.
We spoke to a couple of existing PDCs about the value of participating in the program.
Buddy Media provides a platform that enables companies to manage their presence on social media. European MD Luca Benini told us that being a PDC has given the company a lot of opportunities: "The driver of those opportunities has been the credibility that you can establish in the market place by virtue of being a PDC. It's a stamp of approval: it shows you have a relationship with Facebook, so you can stand out in a crowded ecosystem."
He also told us of the practical benefits of having a closer working relationship with Facebook: "We get access to the test environment, which has enabled us to prepare for changes to Platform before their deployment. We can also give them feedback."
Techlightenment creates Facebook integrations for clients including the Guardian, Disney Channel and financial institutions such as RBS. MD Paul Smith told us about how he sees the value of PDC membership: "In broad terms, the ongoing dialogue with Facebook enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of what is being planned so we can advise our clients of what's in the pipeline. Then there are more specific engagements: we get invited to participate with Facebook on certain projects in advance of commercial launches, which enables us to do work that's ahead of the curve and also get access to new technology.
"In the run up to the f8 conference we worked very closely with Facebook and the Guardian newspaper to produce a social news app that was making use of the technology announced at the conference, especially around the Open Graph and custom actions."
He told us that the relationship gives them an opportunity to have some influence in how Facebook is developed: "It can range from seemingly more trivial things such as how the Like button gets rendered in certain circumstances, to raising the possibility of new capabilities. For example, we've got a set-top box client who really wants to be able to Like and Share from a TV screen, so we can talk to Facebook about that."
He also echoed Benini's sentiments about the PDC accreditation helping them to stand out from competitors.