I hope we find a way to pay for this stuff more than I hope getting it free becomes standard.
The primary memory which I have of that era are people not wanting to pay for something which wasn't clearly useful, shrugging, and going back to Twitter where most other people were. By the time app.net finally launched the free tier the self-inflicted damage was already fatal.
The moment they allowed free accounts was the start of the end. The spam and the noise came. All the things we were trying to avoid. But they just wanted beefier numbers to throw around.
I developed quite a few apps on the platform and made a few thousand in the process. It more than paid the fees back and was totally worth it.