Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Would you really pay for a social network?
15 points by graniter 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments
All the big social sites and apps are free to use but rely on advertising for revenue. I often see complaints about this and many people say they'd rather pay for a social site, but I wonder. App.net was supposed to be a next-generation social platform but it fizzled out, even under much fanfare. Does a paid social website model really work, or are we fooling ourselves? Are there any good examples?

I would happily pay for a social network. My dream is EU breaking up Facebook and forcing them to become a federated service where many service providers can compete. Facebook would work the same way it does now but I would be able to choose, and pay, my own Facebook-protocol service provider. Just like we do with phone service.

Because the huge majority of my friends would not consider paying for a social network.

Many have noticed that Facebook provides a lot less value than it used to. They no longer use it to stay in touch with friends but rather to share random news/opinion articles. It would be hard to convince them that what's ruining Facebook is ads and that if they would pay those problems would go away.

IMO the reason social took off is that everyone bought into the idea. That means you want people from all walks of life be a part of it and possibly fund it via the folks who are willing to pay for it: Take strava for example.

The equivalent for regular social sites would be in my mind a service that blocks tracking/user data collection ads etc. - essentially everything people are worried about for a price. If you don't pay the price, you get the 'basic' model where they make money off you by other means.

Dating apps are a social network and most are paid. The key is to allow people to use the money they paid in-app-purchases as social proof. Eg, someone can 'woo' you on Bumble with flowers, which makes them stand out from the crowd of mere right swipes.

That's not the way social proof works. I know that the flowers idea is just an example, but in general giving material things, even virtual gifts, to women is just not an effective seduction strategy. It's actually counterproductive in this day and age.

Agreed that virtual gifts may not be the best indication of wealth - we should look at conversion rates here - but studies generally show the same man standing with symbols of wealth is viewed as more attractive than one standing without them.

I guess it depends on what is considered a "social network". I canceled my facebook a couple years ago and don't have twitter or instagram or anything else like that. I do however belong to some forums (vbulletin type sites) and pay for some extra perks on them. Like being able to post in the classifieds, etc... I notice that since getting off of facebook I started going back to forums that had specific topics. I find that the discussions on there are much friendly an about a specific topic.

Yes and no.

I did pay for app.net when it started, so I know that I really would pay for it. App.net had a theory that if you made an elite social network, interesting people would pay to be on it, and then everyone else would follow.

In practice it seems these don't really work, when there are free alternatives.

On the other hand, the public social networks are becoming too abusive for many subgroups so maybe that would be a place to start.

Why pay for it? Block chain means It's going to pay us! See http://steemit.com or http://d.tube or http://Ong.social

Before there were social networks there were online communities. Paid social may not work, but paid online communities may.

What is the distinction?

If it were truly ad-free, maybe. But there's nothing to stop them from starting a subscription-based service and then slowly introducing advertising to squeeze more revenue out of the platform, once everyone is invested in it. It would need to be a self-governed, non-profit cooperative. Or a government service.

I don't think it works at scale. That said, I there are many examples that paying for social sites (often handsomely) is a thing.

Two simple examples:

- Dynamite Circle

- Mastermind Talks

Note that these are not open networks, and they are focused on creating opportunities for members to generate lots of value (both monetary and otherwise).

Yes, but not in the way most social networks are.

My siblings and I communicate privately through Google+ circles. None of the photos, posts, etc are published to the broader world ever. Unfortunately, Google Plus has been on its death bed and won't be what we can use forever.

If I had to pay $1 per month for every website I visit daily on top of my comcast subscription, I’d need to sell my house. Ads are fine, the real problem with social networks is privacy. I’d pay for privacy if they’d offer some sort of sandbox account.

I would pay to host a server (in my basement or in the cloud) on which to run a node in a decentralized social network. I might pay a one-time fee to join such a network. I would not pay a monthly fee for it, or for any social network.

Nope - I don't see myself using a social network ever again in my life.

Nope. I'll agree to whatever your terms of service are, allow access to my data, let you target ads to me, etc. but I'm not getting out my wallet.

I would, if it were something between Snapchat and Dropbox. Anything a user posts gets deleted after a while and they would be able to archive posts for a fee.

LinkedIn has a paid plan, and people most likely use it.

- I never thought I would pay for music before Spotify.

- I never thought I would pay for movies before Netflix.

Lots of people pay for strava - i guess its about vertical markets

forums.somethingawful.com metafilter.com

If it was good enough, sure.

steemit.com :) everyone pays each other!


I would pay for a social network that can offer a simple UI, that works on any device (have you tried to use Instagram on an iPad Pro), and that can help me switch between private, anonymous, and public posts intermittently.

I would pay to never again have to have anything to do with a social network.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact