Is app.net A Paid Twitter Clone Or More Than That?
Heard of app.net? No? It’s time to take a peek. Yes? What you think of a service which looks like “THE Twitter” on the surface but is, surprisingly, a paid service in this era of free internet and apps. People are taking two sides already. Some saying, this paid clone of Twitter will fade away without any ripple soon, others are claiming this to be a great output from a visionary.
Dalton Cladwell, the brain and body behind this app.net, has already raised $ 500,000 (yes you read it right, no I didn’t make a typo!) by selling paid memberships. The rates are not extravagant (though big enough for me to pay for something I haven’t seen performing and still is in its alpha stage). For a mere $5/month or $36/year you can access this service.
Cladwell himself did lots of explaining about this project. In short, app.net is a real time social feed without the ads. For developers, the company is offering the API to build their own apps. Err, again, sorry to bring the sour news, you have to get poorer by $100/year to get the access to the source API as a developer. But well, people are paying, how else they could have accumulated $500,000 by selling a project in its alpha stage!
App.net is being bold and trying to justify this paid system when a bigger, more stable and much trusted rival is giving it for free. They are stressing the fact that their system is user oriented and they are putting their best effort to give the user an ad-free pleasant experience while also protecting their private data and giving the user full access to it.
Pundits favouring it are calling it the new age mix of email and IM, but there are some equally strong opposite voices pointing out some serious issues. Take for example Anuj Agarwal, who is building apps for different platforms for years, “ ….. (a developer) will think of building an App only if there are mainstream users. Otherwise it makes less sense to put in resources for building apps.” Very true observation. Or, taking a jab at the paid system,pkrnjevic (send me the pronunciation key if you manage to pronounce it!) says, “If people really want a non-ad supported Twitter, why not use identi.ca, or build a new service based on the underlying open source code? Available free from the statusnet project on gitorious”.
It is true that we are tired with the ads we face everytime we open Facebook or Twitter but how many of us will be willing to pay to remove those ads, especially when you have so many free ad-removal programs working for you? What will be the future of app.net when someone adopts the community based open source software development approach and makes a cross-functional app made for every major OS and release it under GNU-GPL?