Facebook has merged its preferred developer consultant and marketing application programming interface developer programs into one big program, with a single name and 232 member companies in 35 countries. 

The rechristened preferred marketing developer program has been known for some time now, but today this became official. And it turns out there’s some new information beyond the fact that Facebook’s official developer blog included an entry about it today: The social network will revise the database of participants in the program to reflect the myriad vendors contained therein. If you’ve ever consulted this directory, then you can appreciate how cool this is.

Facebook will group participants in the program into four categories with certifications for each: pages, ads, applications and insights.

Some might call the merging of the groups Facebook having come full circle in its arrangements with third-party developers since things have gone from a single type of partnership — there were 14 preferred developers in 2009 — to different groupings and now back to a single group.

But the proliferation of companies that have obtained entry into the ranks of the approved has snowballed: a year ago there were 90 preferred developers and 50 ads API partners, and now the numbers of the two have almost doubled.

Facebook’s blog said the new program will enable Facebook to:

  • Connect to leads via a new lookup tool that replaces the preferred developer consultants and ads API directories. Clients can find developers by geography and expertise and read case studies and feedback.
  • Show specific expertise with pages, ads, apps, and insights that they can display on their websites. These qualifications will also appear alongside preferred marketing developer company names in the lookup tool, making it easy for potential clients to locate PMDs by focus.
  • Gain a deep understanding of the program’s goals and processes from a revamped developer website.
  • Save time in the applications process by using our new unified submission form. Now, developers can apply whenever they are ready, instead of through periodic rounds.