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App.net funded with $500,000. (app.net)
364 points by aculver on Aug 12, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 204 comments

I'm not really sure what the purpose of this service is. Could somebody please explain? I'm not trying to be a dick. I myself wouldn't pay to use Facebook minus the ads. I barely use it as it is. I only pay for things that provide me with some utility. The description of "a paid, real-time social feed" is vague and ambiguous.

I agree that its not explained well by a paid real time social feed. Im a backer, here is what it is about for me.

1. Platform. Its not about 1 canonical interface or usage. Its real time social information network plumbing. Build your own idea on top of it. In the beginning it will be twitter clones, eventually it will be hooked into all sorts of information generators and consumers in different contexts.

2. Its about incentives. The incentives are for app.net to build the apis to support things twitter of fb never would, due an incentive to drive innovation, not stifle it.

3. Its about users control and choice. Use the interface or apps you want. Control where your information goes and who is mining it.

4. Its about friction. There is friction to blatant abuse via a pay model and there is a lack of friction to develop frictionless sharing with things like instagram.

5. Its about ownership. Your data is yours unless you choose to give it away to others.

6. Its also about alternatives to a single model for success (winner take all ad based strategies). I think its a mistake to think that its only successful with huge network effects. The infrastructure can service uses and apps that export information to other networks as well as in network uses. Its successful if it has paying users that pay for opex and capex and generate some profit.

The counter to this is that its difficult to explain to grandma in omaha until the new apps and usage models get built. If its just a paid twitter, it will fail in its ambitions. If it leads to safe private frictionless sharing in ways that couldnt realistically be contemplated before, its a success. The alpha proof of concept that is in place now is twitterish, no denying, but people are already working on things that just arent possible with facebook and twitter today.

> 1. Platform. Its not about 1 canonical interface or usage. Its real time social information network plumbing. Build your own idea on top of it. In the beginning it will be twitter clones, eventually it will be hooked into all sorts of information generators and consumers in different contexts.

This is what got me to back it (at the developer level). I'm just extremely curious and interested in seeing what I can do with the platform. It may start out as a Twitter clone, but I think there's a lot of potential there for the platform to evolve and grow into something more and I'm looking forward to see what I can do with it.

I'm not really sure what the purpose of this service is. ... I myself wouldn't pay to use Facebook minus the ads.

You answered your own question above, and also identified why app.net won't interest you. If you're okay with ads, then I think you'd get zero utility from app.net

I appreciate the response, but that doesn't really answer the question of what the service provides that Facebook or Twitter doesn't.

Are ads in and of themselves really a huge problem? I don't find myself often annoyed by them. Now if there were a systemic change to the service because you didn't have to alter the experience for users to generate ad revenue, then I begin to understand. However if this is the idea, then in what ways the service would be different is exactly what I'm trying to figure out.

Remember, there are two sides to the coin "we offer a better experience without the ads" method. First of all you are going to get a smaller user base. So how much are you going to charge? $5/month? $10/month? You would need to get a pretty massive user base to be able to pay the overhead and attract top engineering talent, so in the end I'm not sure you'd be a whole lot better off.

The biggest reason why non-developers would join is because of no ads. The result is, as Dalton mentioned that they HAVE to cater for their users who are the same people who pay them. If your users are your customers, you've got an easier game to play.

As a developer, I'm a lot more excited about it. I backed mainly because I was so excited about an API that could've been what Twitter promised. I'm especially excited to see what annotations is going to emerge through it. To explain it in short: Any app can now embed any information in a post. This is big. To give a small example: Say people who allow IFTTT to post their music to app.net. IFTTT can decided to add meta information to it (adding song titles, artists, etc). Now anyone else can easily extract this information.

There is a whole underlying network waiting to be discovered. Anything can now live within in it. What if you wanted to do an instagram type app? Ask users with app.net accounts to log in. When they post a photo, add your own information to it (photo title, photo url, etc).

In the normal app.net (alpha) interface, you won't miss anything. You'll just see someone posting a photo. However, now this new instagram type app can extract this information from a user's feed, using app.net's infrastructure as their social backbone! Any social service can live on app.net's infrastructure now.

>The biggest reason why non-developers would join is because of no ads.

IMO, the people who care about ads on social networking have Adblock+ installed. I would even go so far as to throw this (very probably unsourcable statement) and say that most users don't care about ads, period. The one thing that pulls me to social networking is people, not the ads. A social network isn't social or a network if there aren't people I know or care about using it.

You didn't read the next sentence. It is not inherently ads that are the problem, it is the fact from a company's perspective you have to cater to a) the advertisers who are paying you money vs b) your users who aren't.

Currently, I'm okay in paying $50 to get access to a great community of early adopters (lets admit, it is mostly tech people). I'm not naive to expect it won't change, but once killer apps start popping up on the ecosystem, more users will join which will bring back the value that the older social networks provided.

To expand on simondlr's point, Twitter will optimize the site for maximum exposure of ads, not user's status updates.

The highest paying ads will surface to the top over the highest quality status updates.

This indicates that you think Twitter is stupid, and will make their product suck so much that people will stop using it. I don't see any evidence for that. Did the promise of ad revenue make Google destroy its search engine?

Twitter's success is a function of the emergent behaviour of users and applications built off the platform (including, but not limited to 3rd party clients).

They're now trying to freeze innovation and homogenise us. That's the real killer, not the ads (although the ads are shit too).

Sure, it'll be ok for many people in the future. But it probably won't be the Twitter that I and others want. What's wrong with trying an alternative?

There's nothing wrong with trying App.net. Quite the contrary. I just don't understand why this community doesn't seem to be applying its characteristic skepticism to this idea.

There's been plenty of skepticism, especially at the start (IMO). I think the successful funding is at least a signal that there might be something here.

I think that this really is going to reveal is that dichotomy between users as product and users as customer is a false one.

It's an interesting alternate perspective that has somehow gained the force of common wisdom without the evidence to support it. On a service like Twitter, the users are both customer and product, as five minutes of objectively clear thought would show.

App.Net make succeed or it may fail, but it won't be because of this issue.

I agree.

I hate adverts, but I think app.net is unlikely to topple FB or Twitter in the social sector.

Myspace is a warning to Twitter and FB, if you don't look after your users, improve your service and keep them happy then you the advertisers will leave too.

Sure the advertisers are a force that doesn't necessarily align with the users, but this is something the people running the network have to mitigate, because it isn't in their intrests to piss off their users.

That being said, I think advertising is in a bubble, so from that perspective app.net has an advantage.

Yes. Yes it did. I would easily pay $50 annually if I could get pure c.2010 Google with all the Boolean operators and none of the social bullshit. I deliberately stopped clicking on anything ad-related as soon as they screwed everything up after G+ launched (and stepped up my AdBlock+ filters), so I think they'd make more off of me by selling pure 'premium' search or something.

Sorry but that's crazy.

Twitter is NOT going to compromise the integrity of the entire site for ads. Google haven't. Facebook haven't. Microsoft haven't. And thousands of other sites haven't.

Google has. Facebook had nothing to compromise. Microsoft... now you're trolling.

As for Twitter... they've done better than most, so far. But at some point, they'll have more pressure to show revenue. And then... how do they make money, again?

I disagree. If it works, the reason non-developers will join in large numbers will have to do with the services/offerings running atop app.net. I'm in no position to guess what they'll be, but I believe they can and will be developed. And I wouldn't rule out services/bundles that include app.net membership as part of the price. There's a ton of room for innovation.

In the end, people will pay for app.net for quality and for access: ala HBO, satellite radio, etc.

Again, you answered in your first 3 sentences. The propsed absence of advertising on app.net will change how users interact with the service, as well as how the service grows.

Twitter and Facebook wants to market to their users. This now influences all of their product decisions! Any changes to the service aim to increase CPM. I won't debate whether that makes FB/Twitter better or worse, but they are fundamentally different than a product which does not seek, above all else, to raise money by advertising to its users.

Here are some ways in which a paid service might differ from an ad-based service:

(1) No ads means no B2B sales team, which means more money to hire developers.

(2) The product pipeline looks different without ads. Would Twitter have featured "Explore" so prominently if it wasn't a central hub for advertising? Would they have de-emphasized direct messages?

(3) Lower infrastructure costs and dev time related to scaling. A smaller user base, in this case, will require less supporting infrastructure and a simpler code base. Both of these save app.net money and dev time, allowing the team to focus on features.

(4) Analytics and research will have a different purpose. Instead of analyzing user behavior to identify ideal ad placement or selection, App.net will try to identify the best features and cull the worst in an attempt to keep users around.

The question is: what is most valuable to most people?

* Having a slightly nicer experience


* Having all their friends and potential friends on the same service

For a social service, door number 2 (positive network externalities) would be my guess.

I don't really disagree with you, but you've editorialized door number 1 to make the answer more obvious. Door number 1 is a different experience (because of the points listed in the post you replied to), which may be any of "slightly nicer", "slightly less nice", "way nicer", or ????. The point is that it will be different, whether that difference provides more or less value than ad-supported alternatives remains to be seen.

The big thing that I can see is "no ads", which would make it slightly nicer. I think we can presume that if it, say, just plain sucks, there's nothing even to discuss! So for the sake of argument it's going to be 'better'. You're right that it could be way better - but Facebook isn't completely blind to its users desires - they could likely copy a lot of what makes it good. Outside of 'no ads', of course. So I wrote 'a bit better', which to me seems the most probable.

Facebook often makes choices (like the default security settings) that are obviously not in the users' best interests. Twitter has a proven track record of using policy to ruin services built with its API. These are the kinds of things app.net hopes to avoid. I think.

It is a good idea, although I don't see myself using it.

I have joined and paid $100 but my biggest concern is they are VC funded which is a more insidious position for someone to pressure them to do something not in line with the current vision. Also, there is a long line of startups that hate advertising at first then acquiesced when the only budget big enough to cover their burn rate are the ones advertisers have. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

It's more fundamentally about this: Do you want to be the product (facebook, twitter) or the customer (app.net)?

A lot of people don't want to be the product and believe when a company focuses on them as a customer rather than them as eyeballs to be sold to advertisers, who are the customer, then a better service is the outcome for the users of the service.

With app.net the user is the customer. With Facebook and Twitter, the user is the product. With App.Net user interests and service provider interests are aligned. The provider wants the service to be better for the users.

With Facebook and Twitter and other ad supported products the users who value their privacy have intentions which are constantly at odds with the service provider whose intention is to continually open up details about the individuals so that those details can be used to improve ad success rates and profitability.

"Do you want to be the product (facebook, twitter) or the customer (app.net)?"

Where's the evidence that suggests that millions of people care about this distinction enough to pay for it?

> Where's the evidence that suggests that millions of people care about this distinction enough to pay for it?

Where's the evidence that suggests millions of people have to join?

Isn't that self-evident? People post to Facebook and Twitter to be heard. Currently, they seem to post on App.net about App.net. That's not sustainable.

Personally, I use Twitter mostly to talk to people in the fields I work in, namely hacking and journalism. I don't see how either of those communities will move to App.net wholesale. If you want me to pay money just to have a conversation with you, I'm probably going to decide to just not have the conversation.

Ads on Facebook and Twitter don't bother me. I won't be paying to get rid of them. I don't even use AdBlock to get rid of them for free (partially because I think it's unethical to do).

> Isn't that self-evident? People post to Facebook and Twitter to be heard. Currently, they seem to post on App.net about App.net. That's not sustainable.

My first post on Twitter was "trying to figure out WTF Twitter is". I subsequently didn't post for six months. I wouldn't judge the platform on what's posted in the first 30 days of existence. As for sustainability, $500k in revenue is more than Twitter had for years.

That's not revenue. It's a donation. That's a pretty big difference. I know the counterargument will be that people are paying to use the service. That's like saying people who fund a project on Kickstarter are paying for the product. They aren't. They're paying for the development, which is one-time in nature and a donation.

From the join.app.net page:

> You will be committing to pre-paying a full year of "member" tier service.

It was unclear to me if the $50 covers that or I'm expected to pay for membership at that point, on top of my donation towards development.

I'm not judging the platform on its first 30 days. I just don't see a path to it being useful. What's the path that you see?

A smaller, more closely knit site that doesn't have to worry as much about Twitter's antagonism towards the third-party developers who helped make them succeed.

I don't know if it'll work, but I certainly hope it does.

I imagine it being pretty spam-free if it costs $50/year, as a bonus.

I can't reply directly so I will reply here "People post to Facebook and Twitter to be heard."

I use facebook and twitter to be heard by my friends. I don't need a massive audience to get utility from the service. Brands and celebrities are the ones that want to be heard by tons of people. Twitter and Facebook are just a different type of ad platforms for them.

If my friends are on app.net, I will use it. Most people I know wouldn't pay for it though. Perhaps app.net would be good to allow power users to sponsor their friends.

"If my friends are on app.net, I will use it."

This is the crux of the matter. I don't see how enough of my friends will ever be on App.net for me to pay for it, especially when I already use free products that have the same functionality.

Recent decisions made by Twitter are all about optimizing the site for advertising revenues.

I don't think Twitter has any other choice because they chose the free path from the start. I highly doubt Twitter would suddenly switch to a premium/freemium model.

While Twitter has empowered revolutions, I think the quality of the community has degraded though.

I believe that if people pay for being part of a community, people would care to improve its quality. If something is free, people just won't take care of it.

> Recent decisions made by Twitter are all about optimizing the site for advertising revenues.

Sure, well, lets all hope that app.net will not run out of subscription fees. My take is that in a situation where IF this gets more popular and costs to sustain its life-pulse will grow, its plausible Dalton will have to choose between #1 shutting it down if not enough money flows in (and piss off all who still want to contribute and don't care that others won't pay), or #2 find a different way of bringing the money in. Let's hope its nor advertising.

> If something is free, people just won't take care of it.

Sure, that's why the Hackers News group is built upon 99% bots and is constantly filled in with spammers and haters. That's why every day you have high quality content uploaded to YouTube, for free to watch.

People don't care whether something is free or not; people care whether that something brings them any value, then they look at the price, whether they can afford it or not.

On Twitter, you make your own community, right? Most people who have your problem would unfollow people instead of paying $50/year to have conversations with a small portion of their Twitter audience.

I really don't get this "quality of the community" has degraded argument. I hear the same about Facebook.

If the quality is degrading it's because of YOUR friends and YOUR choices about who to follow. Other people including myself simply hide posts or unfollow when the SNR becomes too low.

But wouldn't it be so much nicer if you didn't have to ignore the little people?

> Do you want to be the product (facebook, twitter) or the customer (app.net)?

So, what explicit rights does the customer have over that which they get with Facebook or Twitter? Do I have voting rights for features? Is the business model solid? I mean, $500,000 is great and all, but that needs to last an entire year all while supporting future development. Sure, they can get new people on board, but what's their plan for that?

As for being the customer, it means little. As we've learned from experience, being a customer doesn't mean anything. You ask a question about being the product or being the customer as if being a customer actually gives you something, when in reality, it doesn't. I mean, in this case, you get a years worth of service. After that, nothing else is promised.

So, beyond the years worth of service, what do you really get? What are they promising? Because so far from what I see, the reality differs from the promise.

Excellent point. I've been the customer of many services that still either close or get bought out by companies that I didn't want to do business with in the first place. I had no real 'rights' as a customer. Just because I'm not the product via ad views doesn't mean I (as part of a large customer base) don't make an excellent acquisition/takeover target. Will Caldwell sell out for $10 million? Probably not. Might he sell out for, say... $300 million? Possibly, and then I've yet again been turned in to a product for sale.

That's one of the reasons why a distributed open-source version of the service might be the best option.

> So, what explicit rights does the customer have over that which they get with Facebook or Twitter? Do I have voting rights for features?

No the features will automatically get better, because you pay for the quality and all the plebs won't get in.

At the very least it means that I - as someone that values privacy - do not have to be in a necessarily antagonistic relationship with the company that provides the service.

And then there's Diaspora and Identica where you're neither product nor customer...

Or you could just install AdBlock. The argument about privacy doesn't really makes sense either, it is still a private company/product.

True. One advantage of a paid social network I haven't heard mentioned is the fact spam likely won't exist as it does on Twitter.

What made you assume that just because app will be subscription-based, there will be large enough portion of that $$ cheddar that will make app less spammy then, for example, Twitter?

Spammer pay thousands of dollars for fresh emailing lists, simply because enough uneducated people will get cough in their nets. You think they won't be able to afford $50?

Ultimately, its up to Dalton and his executive skills (is he going to be the CEO?) to build a company's structure and split the fee the smart way (have a decent anti-spam team) to keep the site fun and clean [of spam].

>Spammer pay thousands of dollars for fresh emailing lists, simply because enough uneducated people will get cough in their nets. You think they won't be able to afford $50?

True, that alone might not do it. The $50 paired with a rudimentary reporting system might limit the use of a single account to a small time period in which the ROI wouldn't be worth it.

> A lot of people don't want to be the product and believe ...

It seems to me that the vast majority of people do not care and will just use whatever everyone else is using. If open-source, federated alternatives such as Identica do not have many users, then I don't understand how App.net can hope to get enough to matter.

As I understood it, it's largely about aligning user and producer interests.

At facebook, they have engineers devoted to pleasing users, and others devoted to pleasing advertisers. It's a difficult line to walk, but it's a legitimate argument that advertisers may win in the end because Facebook is now a public company and must show positive earnings growth and all that.

App.net (I think) is proposing that if that line does not exist, they can focus 100% on building a product that users will love using, rather than something that strikes a balance between pleasing users and advertisers. I could see this being a better product in general.

All your concerns are valid though. I'm not on facebook myself, so this service itself has absolutely no appeal to me--however, I do think there are some good points behind the premise, and I've heard through the grapevine that a lot of people do use facebook pretty frequently.

App.net will have a very similar problem - walking the line between developers who want to "Just add feature x, so my killer app that I've not built yet will work", and between users who just want a high quality functional service.

The reality is there's always going to be pressures from different directions, there's nothing special about app.net in that regard.

I wish them well, but I don't expect to be paying for access any time soon.

Not true. I didn't support App.net and am not optimistic about it, but there is a much larger potential value proposition to App.net than "not seeing ads": App.net promises to allow arbitrary 3rd party clients in a way Twitter won't, because Twitter will suppress 3rd party clients that harm its ad ecosystem.

This sort of service depends on network effects. I suspect that 90+% of Twitter and Facebook users aren't willing to pay $50 to get rid of ads.

If even Google is having trouble getting traction with a social networking product, I don't see why anyone is confident that a social network users have to pay for will end up with a large enough user base to be useful.

> I suspect that 90+% of Twitter and Facebook users aren't willing to pay $50 to get rid of ads.

Yes. But I have no interest in talking to +90% of the people on Twitter and Facebook. The success of app.net won't depend on how many total users sign up over the services lifetime. It will depend more on how interesting the people who ultimately sign up are. A lot of it is perception, right now twitter is something of a worldwide telegraph broadcast service, you say something in 140 characters to as many people as humanly possible. You're trying to garner as many likes and followers as you can.

App.net can't compete as a broadcast service, they don't; and never will have the userbase to do so. I feel like they'll have to differentiate themselves in some other way to be successful.

If the conversations end up anything near as inane as twitter it's doomed.

"It will depend more on how interesting the people who ultimately sign up are."

I don't see how this is true. If my friends aren't on App.net, I'll still use Facebook. If the people who discuss the issues that I tend to tweet about aren't on App.net, I'll still use Twitter. What will I then gain by using App.net as well, especially since most App.net users will probably syndicate their posts to Twitter?

I just wanted to let you know that I do intend on answering your question, but am currently trying to evaluate if I've stumbled onto a point that is hard to articulate without sounding stupid, or just stupid. I'll ping you when I resolve this problem.

Like unimpressive said, there is a big upside to the filtering effect that there being a price will create. I don't use Facebook or Twitter because there's too much noise on there and I don't want to offend people I know who are very nice individuals, but share aspects of their life I don't care about, by defriending/unfollowing them.

Maybe App.net will nicely take care of that. I would definitely like to see a social network that provides me with content I want for once. Google+ has come pretty close, but that'll rapidly change if it gains mainstream traction, although Circles could prove to be a solution.

I don't unfriend people on Facebook. I add them to the special Acquaintances group that removes people from your news feed without letting people know. I only see posts from people who I've chosen to see.

I unfollow people on Twitter when I don't care to see what they're posting. Most people don't use the tools that notify users when people unfollow them, so it's not a big deal. Even for the ones that notice, I just don't care. I don't use Twitter for friends; I use it for interests. If you're not posting about my interests with an acceptable signal to noise ratio, you're unfollowed.

Using App.net to filter out people you don't want to hear from won't work unless you think the value of ones posts correlates with their propensity to pay. I doubt that's the case, and you're definitely going to filter out plenty of worthwhile content that people post on Twitter.

It seems to me that people want App.net to succeed regardless of the likelihood that it will solve their problems. This is a good position for App.net to be in, but I don't understand it.

Disagree about network effects. It helps but its not about social graph monopoly. Its about not needing to chase that goal and the opportunities that open up when that isnt the goal. I will agree that large network effects are good for the effort but not a must and there is a public commitment to support interop and the ingress and egress of info to drive value to the users and support the devs.

As I read your post I realized app.net is probably for me.

It's like lower Manhattan or parts of San Francisco. People who think the rents are ridiculous shouldn't live there anyway; it's not for them.

Thanks for your honesty. This is what a lot of people here seem to be thinking but don't dare to say out loud: Twitter without the "little people". Because you're worth it!

The community and interactions made possible by this general feed will supposedly create the value. It makes sense to me, information is my entire life and I'd pay $50/year for a network that was even a tiny bit better than Facebook/Twitter.

The reason I think App.net is going to grow is NOT because it doesn't have ads or that the "users are not the product", etc. It's because the community it hosts will be so tightly grouped around a similar, passionate interest: tech startups. Requiring payment, being called "App.net" (they'll be tempted to change this), and being distributed via word of mouth amongst the segregated tech startup community, will prevent so many different types of people from using it. This is all a great thing and I bet there will be opportunities for other "Twitter for ________" ventures. Charging for a service like this that caters to a much smaller market makes it sustainable.

Congrats to Dalton and all involved. This is one of the most interesting and courageous internet projects in recent time.

> and being distributed amongst the segregated tech startup community will prevent so many different types of people from using it

For what it's worth, when I joined Twitter it was also a tech ghetto. Kevin Rose, Leo Laporte, Guy Kawasaki, and Veronica Belmont were all in the top 10 most followed accounts.

I think how you concive it now is about spam free twitter or fb and thats what everybody is talking about. I dont think thats the real story. Imagine what you could do with real time syndication infrastructure with privacy and ownership controls built in. BP monitors, blood glucose monitors, runkeeper data, music listening streams, all kinds of data streams and a robust community of app builders to build all kinds of streaming and where desired sharing. If i dont want to see your spotify listens, i can turn that off, if i dont want you to see my health info but want to share with my doc, that can happen too. Go nuts, imagine the future without having to be forced to cram it into a timeline or public feed mined for ad relevance.

still unclear to me why i would/should pay to publish my runkeeper data into the ether or why i would pay to consume yours...will every user of app.net pay for the service? or is it only some subset who opt-in as donors? if the later, doesn't this create a free-rider problem? also, in that case you wind up with a small minority of donor users who are the customers and who set the agenda, not the majority user base, right? ...if the former, how can this become a mainstream consumer product? normal people don't care about any of these 'problems' and why will they pay for something facebook/twitter gives them in exchange for 'viewing' ads they've learned to ignore?

Note, got a reply from an insider @orian that this is not off base and how they are thinking too. More social infrastructure and not ad free twitter clone.

I don't see how "Twitter for _______" is a good idea. I can make "Twitter for _______" by following the right people. The idea that Twitter's user base is too broad doesn't make any sense to me.

You can only follow "the right people", but they'll still talk about things you're uninterested in. In addition, you'll also have people following you who have different interests, who will start irrelevant conversations with you.

Why does Hacker News exist? And other special interest web forums, Facebook groups, mailing lists? Who do interest groups hold meetups? People with shared interests get MASSIVE value from highly focused gatherings and conversations. And Twitter right now is anything but focused.

What's going to prevent people using app.net from talking about things you don't care about? There is nothing that forces you to only talk about tech and related, as far as I can tell. The reason this doesn't happen on HN is because the topics are agreed on and moderated.

In general there are 3 solutions involving 'moderation':

1) self moderation: Google Plus has circles which you can theoretically use to share specific topics only with circles that you know to be passionate about them. Requires manual work to setup the right circles and people rarely do it.

2) manual moderation: Hacker News uses pg's time and some admin/moderator supervision to trim unwanted topics. Requires manual work which expands proportionally with the community's size if no automation is used.

3) automatic moderation: HN's flag system and community moderation (voting, Slashdot karma) seem to work relatively well, but they've been used until now predominantly to "rank" good comments to the top as opposed to "clustering" online communities into "sub-reddits" with focused interest groups.

"share specific topics only with circles that you know to be passionate about them"

Sounds wrong, doesn't it? The circles sharing model is backwards-- why should I have to make guesses about what other people are interested about?

I've written about this on a previous App.net HN thread (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4304061, core excerpt = "I want to subscribe to that person on a "coding" stream, and leave the "personal" stream alone. People are multi-dimensional beings with many orthogonal interests; Consider giving them multiple stdouts.") and App.net PM said it was duly noted. I.e. it will be ignored, and the site is destined to be a noisy mess just like everything else that currently exists, except it will also cost money.

I share the same complaint, and I've thought many times to create a service like that but people just don't seem to care that much. Even my G+ stream has started in the last few months to get littered with all the usual personal bullshit photos; the reason I left Facebook & Twitter in the first place.

I don't need multiple stdouts, necessarily. I do need 2&>1 for the social web.

> destined to be a noisy mess just like everything else that currently exists

Subjot (http://subjot.com/) would allow you to subscribe to people based on topic, but they shut down recently.

Okay, this is a great point. However, it doesn't sound like what App.net is building.

Agree with @jschlesser. I think app.net will evolve more like a backbone for other activity streams (private, public, internal), not so much as a standalone "niche Twitter", but it's fine that it will start out that way, and can be funded that way. Could be wrong, but I think that's what the enthusiasm is really about, not just finding another social network to play with.

StockTwits is an example of Twitter for Finance. They are almost completely detached from Twitter (I believe you can post to Twitter from StockTwits but not read).

Is this tongue in cheek? I don't think this is what theu are gong for ...

That approach worked great for Quora early on.

I think the model could be verticalized and spun out as a semi-silo'd location for enthusiasts of [topic]

Not that I'm accusing Dalton of doing this, but when croudfunding without using a platform like kickstarter, it might be too easy to fake backer numbers in order to meet the goal or inflate popularity.

What this means for the future: Companies will announce croudfunding and then fake amazing numbers in order to appear popular and gain lots of press.

I can see the headline now: "ACME Software raises $3 million in first 24 hours!" Actual funds raised: $250.

A number of people have raised this point to Dalton and he has promised that he will do a third party verification of all funding promises.

For example, see this: https://twitter.com/daltonc/status/234698066245074945 and https://twitter.com/daltonc/status/234399350275571714

EDIT: Added a link to Twitter conversation showing more context.

Dalton also says this on app.net: https://alpha.app.net/dalton/post/32618


"We are using Stripe, so it's easy to audit." - Dalton Caldwell

I'd like to audit it right now. How can I do so?

(The point is: it's not easy to audit. Not that I actually care one way or the other.)

It's rather unclear what Dalton means here. The interpretation that seems likeliest to me is that Dalton can easily provide independent evidence to a professional auditor (i.e., someone who can be given trusted access to sensitive data, and someone who isn't easily induced to lie on a client's behalf) that the tally is correct.

Unless it becomes routine to actually employ these auditors, that doesn't really answer jtokoph's worry.

Postscript - Indeed, that's what he meant: on http://daltoncaldwell.com/we-did-it he says "In the very near future I will ask an impartial 3rd party take a look at our data (while preserving all privacy of our backers) and publicly verify that the join.app.net was operated in an honest manner."

Easy != accessible to everyone.

Easy == it wouldn't take a lot of work for him to allow someone to verify it.

It's an interesting point, if you look at the video statistics it has only had 31,000 plays which means for every 4 people that watch the video at least 1 spends $50. However, Stripe has access to their payment info so it's possible to prove whether or not this is faked.

Actually, that's an interesting question: would it be fraud to fake the last $xxx,xxx of a crowd sourcing drive?

I backed the project without watching the video. The posts on sites like DaringFireball and Marco.org had already convinced me. I doubt I'm the only one.

Same here.

AFAIK Vimeo calculates only fully watched videos, so it's 30000 viewers who watched the video to the end.

A centralized social network is what's wrong. Despite their best intentions they're still going to have all their users and developers by the balls. This absolutely will not replace Facebook or Twitter, it'll be just another one of the dozens of copycats like Path.

What really needs to happen is an open decentralized protocol needs to be agreed upon for newsfeeds + blog posts (wordpress) + microblog (twitter). Then everyone can write their own servers and clients and operate in a manner like Email currently works.

> What really needs to happen is an open decentralized protocol needs to be agreed upon for newsfeeds + blog posts (wordpress) + microblog (twitter). Then everyone can write their own servers and clients and operate in a manner like Email currently works.

Then do it. Make everyone look like idiots for not doing it sooner. Make it so cool I have to sign up.

I'm guessing people are working on it. It's not an easy problem to solve though.

I'm guessing people are working on it.

They are:


Cool, thanks.

Oh I've definitely been thinking about it. One big problem is it wouldn't be nearly as lucrative as other potential project ideas -- it simply won't be possible to build another $100B Facebook style corporation around a social network. Diaspora was kind of onto the right idea but I think they completely chose the wrong technology stack and are now stuck in the mud without any momentum.

You think it was the technology stack and not just that users and developers were disinterested?

As a developer, I never thought once about building an app or integration for Diaspora.

That's why App.Net might have a chance -- he's making this about targeting developers. There's a reason Apple has spent millions marketing different 3rd party apps -- and the whole ecosystem via "there's an app for that". There's a reason "killer app" is part of our lexicon. There's a reason Steve Ballmer jumped around on stage screaming 'Developers!' and there's a reason XCode is free now.

Building it is not a guarantee that they will come. But it is a prerequisite.

Slightly OT, but since you mentioned it:

> "there's a reason XCode is free now"

...I think anyone who has used XCode 4 for any substantial project would probably say the reason XCode is free is because charging for it would be adding insult to injury.

Rails was a horrible technology choice to to build an open decentralized messaging protocol. They were doomed from the start. NodeJS would be a better choice now.

Are there really that many developers clamoring to build new apps on yet another closed, for-profit, centralized social network with no users? I sure don't. I'm already done with Twitter and Facebook apps, the centralized model is simply not the way forward and I can't be alone with this opinion.

Techcrunch posted an editorial a while back that I agree with:


Can you expand on why you consider Rails to have doomed them, and why NodeJS would be better? I'm not particularly familiar with either technology (besides reading about them here on HN), but it's my understanding that Rails powers some very big websites, like Hulu and Github.

That said, there's already a working Twitter-like distributed network. I hard my own StatusNet node running on my personal server and getting messages from people on Identi.ca, until I realized that I found the idea of the platform interesting, but not the platform itself (nor Twitter, for that matter). The fact that half the accounts were abandoned didn't help either.

Rails is geared for CRUD apps, not messaging. Whereas NodeJS is built for messaging. Picking the wrong technology stack for what needs to be a messaging protocol that resembles SMTP definitely contributed to Diaspora's lack of adoption, but certainly wasn't the only reason.

StatusNet actually sounds kinda good. Why isn't it more popular? I'm not sure, perhaps people need something more than just a replacement for Twitter. I think something that will eventually become successful will be some sort of multi-use low-level protocol that handles many types of "social communications", for example: Twitter + WordPress + Private IM + Voice Message.

Maybe you have deep enough experience with Node to avoid the thin ice, but my experience has been one of sparsely-featured and buggy libraries when compared to their counterparts in Python, Java, etc. All languages need time to grow up, but for now we use Node as a pinch-hitter in our stack (I created a Snowflake server with great results)

Honestly, Facebook has a lot of frontend code. I don't think Rails is a bad choice for that. My experience with large systems is that they're usually not homogenous. There's no reason they couldn't implement the Rest API components outside of Ruby if that was their biggest obstacle to success.

Though I'm not sure it is, because even though you've obviously given this issue some thought, you didn't really articulate who was put off by their use of Rails?

Edit: To avoid confusion, Snowflake as in https://github.com/twitter/snowflake, not "snowflake schema".


Not sure why the down vote. I'm not associated to the project. Just to highlight an effort of a decentralised social platform.

The reason that no one has managed to make a proper decentralised version of Twitter is that it's really, really hard - much harder than saying "what really needs to happen is..."

I'm genuinely surprised, I didn't believe it would make it this far. I've backed it and I really hope it delivers, it's going to be very interesting to see how this turns out. I feel sceptical (because the value in Twitter is the people, not the platform) but I was also sceptical that this would ever reach $100,000, let alone $500,000, so clearly any assumptions previously made are wrong.

It could be a lot of curiosity that drove it.

Now I can see a problem arising if they take outside investment.

They already have, $5 million from Andreessen Horowitz


Interesting. So immediately there's a large stake holder that withdraws value disproportional to their value of the network; Whether it's a problem or not would have to be thought through..

It's had a big upswing the last few days. Don't know what caused it, but maybe Dalton's blog posts fanned the fire.

Gruber also mentioned it, explaining that it hasn't reached the funding goal yet.

The launch of an alpha product definitely helped.

I love this. In years past, Dalton and his team were able to raise millions in funding from a top-tier venture capital firm. But raising $500,000 in revenue from his target customers, that's a whole different ball game! Super excited to see where this goes. Congratulations to Dalton and the whole team!

One interesting difference is that the $500,000 comes with nearly 8,000 paying customers. Venture funding doesn't usually come with a few thousand users!

This is awesome, it even looks like the "funding bar" graphic breaks when it gets to 100%...


Not sure that's on purpose. The inner DIV is set to 106.08% width. Seems they are 106% funded.

Is there actually any 3rd party ala kickstarter verifying the donations? Or is this number similar to those of political campaigns and their online fundraising self-reporting?

    We are using Stripe to host/power the billing aspects of join.app.net. In the very near
    future I will ask an impartial 3rd party take a look at our data (while preserving all
    privacy of our backers) and publicly verify that the join.app.net was operated in an honest

I'm saying he probably didn't care that it would break in that case.

That's pretty amazing. Clearly app.net is tapping into something that people are starting to feel pretty strongly about--the benefits of "free" aren't necessarily worth the consequences in the longterm.

I could see a similar model of aligning user/company interests rather than advertiser/company interests working for other services--email probably being the biggest that comes to mind.

This is actually a good thing for revenue as even a small membership fee is going to VASTLY outweigh the per user revenue generated from advertising. We'll see if this idea is capable of jumping from internet nerdom to the mainstream, but mainstream users are also becoming more and more aware of the actual cost of 'free' products.

So... congrats app.net team, and good luck!

Clearly app.net is tapping into something that people are starting to feel pretty strongly about--the benefits of "free" aren't necessarily worth the consequences in the longterm.

Well, maybe. Let's remember that Twitter has more than a hundred million accounts, while App.net has ~7500; we have no evidence that the people feeling that are not just a small number of outliers, much like there always will be.

We'll see if this idea is capable of jumping from internet nerdom to the mainstream, but mainstream users are also becoming more and more aware of the actual cost of 'free' products.

I agree. I'm not in the business of predicting the future, but it's worth noting that Twitter did not start with more than a hundred million accounts.

  > Well, maybe. Let's remember that Twitter has more than a hundred million accounts, while App.net has ~7500; we have no evidence that the people feeling that are not just a small number of outliers, much like there always will be.
Does it matter if they don't get hundreds of millions of accounts, as long as the business is sustainable and users enjoy the service?

Users are unlikely to enjoy the service if their messages don't have an audience. After a year is up I bet people will tire of having to use both Twitter and App.net, and stop paying for the latter. How many App.net users have stopped using Twitter? That's an important metric to pay attention to over the next year. I predict it will be near zero, and most people aren't willing to pay in money and inconvenience for an ad-free product. Especially when they could just install a couple of extensions and get the same result with products that actually have an audience.

> How many App.net users have stopped using Twitter

Even before APp.Net I contemplated leaving Twitter because of the noise, the push towards ads and the general climate toward third-parties. I certainly would not use Twitter without TweetBot.

I don't know, and I don't particularly care. I was just replying to dave_sullivan's assertion, not making some broader point about App.net.

Yup, it's easy to get caught up in the euphoria of reaching an arbitrary target. Still, I'm hopeful.

Quality > Quantity.

I think the stats will clearly show that it wouldn't have been funded without the Gruber post.

What puzzles me is that the HN crowd seems to be the target audience for whatever it is App.net wants to do but Dalton & friends totally failed to get them interested enough even after so much posts here.

With Gruber they reached a different crowd and got the money, which may prove that they have something interesting on their hands but now they'll have do deal with different expectations from their users, and I'm highly skeptical it will make their strategy clearer.

While I'm in favor of the concept behind this, I have one deeply concerning question that I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else ask here:

Why is it called App.net?

The first 4 or 5 articles I saw about it, I ignored completely because I assumed it was some sort of app (web/mobile/whatever) framework, not a social network. They talk about the users being the customers (versus advertisers), but the name of the service is clearly targeting developers, not the users...

I agree. The chosen name of app.net is simultaneously generic and borderline misleading (I too thought it might be some framework or app development tool). This alone is enough to make me a bit skeptical of app.net's leadership. They might as well call it acloudservice.com and it would have a similarly worthless conveyance of meaning.

It was previously a site (from the same owner) for showcasing apps, e.g.: http://app.net/uberhype. I'm not sure what happens to those pages now, presumably they're grandfathered in as "new app.net" accounts.

I don't want to ask dumb questions and I also read the content on their site, but I'm still not sure if it's just a twitter alternative or more. And what about identica? Isn't it a similar service like app.net?

My understanding is that yes, identica and app.net are similar, except for their business models. Identica didn't have a clear business model (AFAIK), so they would likely resort to advertising. App.net is trying to avoid that by charging users directly.

Yes, and yes (hopefully).

It's a twitter alternative that will (hopefully) not treat users as product.

It's also being thought about as a more open developer friendly platform (eg no constraints on clients because the service needs to show adverts).

Is this going to inspire more companies / startups to go the crowdfunding route? (I think so). How many companies are going to now cite: "App.net style" of pre-launch efforts? Is this a good or a bad thing?

This is a whole new era, either way. Congrats to the App.net team!

I think we'll definitely see a lot of attempts, but I don't know if many will have much success.

It's very similar to Louis C.K.'s online video. While his video was successful, it only worked because he'd already established a name for himself. Other, lesser known, comedians will have a hard time replicating that because they don't have the brand already.

If first-time entrepreneurs try and use crowd-funding, I just don't see catching unless the product is truly awesome (think Pebble).

That's true for every type of funding, though.

But the big difference is the traditional investment model requires fewer backers. While by no means is raising investment an easy process, first time entrepreneurs have a better chance since they have to sell fewer people on it.

@jayneely: Free-for-students is a bad way to go. Most students can't contribute much value, and it leaves out all the young people that either can't afford or chose not to go to college.

@christopher: I think there's value in some kind of tiered pricing model, especially when it comes to enabling students - in a managed, not free for all, manner - to contribute positively to the ecosystem. Perhaps that's the educator in me.

@elliottpayne: I think there's a broader issue of elitism & the digital divide baked into @adn, but that's a bit out of scope of this topic. But it's a weird suggestion that students can't add value

This is a thread from the site, but I'm quoting it here because it's relevant to the discussion about what kind of community app.net will become. The first two comments make me uneasy: even if there is value in excluding/discouraging people who don't contribute positively-- which is true for a site like Hacker News, but not so much, I think, for a Twitter-like site where you only see the activity of people you follow; the Global stream is an exception, but it'll only take a little more growth before it becomes unusable anyway-- trying to judge from a blank slate whether someone who might sign up for the site is likely to contribute value, especially based on such vague metrics as "ability to pay $50" and "student", runs the risk of being elitism for the sake of elitism. For some, $50 is enough of a barrier that they'll only sign up if they're especially interested (a sign that they'll contribute value); for others, it's little more than an impulse purchase. As for students, I agree that the site should avoid favoring students over people who don't go to college, but as a rather biased student (and backer), I contest the sentiment that students can't contribute value or need to be "managed" more than your average slightly older entrepreneur. ;p Even though age probably weakly correlates with quality, the goal of the site should not be to slightly increase average quality, but, if anything, to ensure that the highest quality users, the right edge of the bell curve, are there, which exclusionary principles will discourage.

Of course, the $50 is not actually some kind of proof of relevance but actual funding for the operation of the site; it can't be avoided. But I think it should mostly be considered a necessary evil, and there should be a focus on letting people who are unwilling to pay it but are strongly interested in the community get in anyway, such as with a sponsorship system.

I've been using the alpha for the past days and it's really refreshing. Interesting discussions, and the API that is shaping up, looks really good. Congratulations and thanks Dalton.

How many characters does it allow per message? From the screenshots, it looks like 256. Is this correct?


There've actually been discussion about that. Some even think it's too much, but I guess people will get accustomed to it quickly. The upside, as I found, is that it's possible to write slightly better arguments while still keeping brevity. On Twitter I almost always hit the limit (or very close) on app.net, so far not really.

Yes, it's 256 chars.

This is quite the subtle design decision: It makes it more difficult to write an elegant version of the obvious App.net -> Twitter bridge.

(Such a thing might be difficult anyway - my casual reading suggests that anything beyond the most basic one-way bridge would be a Twitter TOS violation:


1. All use of the Twitter API and content, [emphasis mine - ed.] documentation, code, and related materials made available to you on or through Twitter ("Twitter Content") is subject to and must comply with these Rules

5A. Your Client must use the Twitter API as the sole source for features that are substantially similar to functionality offered by Twitter. Some examples include trending topics, who to follow, and suggested user lists.

5E. You may not use Twitter Content or other data collected from end users of your Client to create or maintain a separate status update or social network database or service.

6. You do not have a license to Twitter Content submitted through your Service other than the rights granted in the Rules.

What a legal minefield. So it's probably a good idea to have an obvious guardrail to prevent people from straying too close to the minefield, and this 256-character limit is a cute way to implement the guardrail.)

I know that this service may become valuable for a large number of the HN crowd. It might be up my alley for a price of $10/yr or so. But at $50/yr, I cannot justify its expense.

That said, I wish Caldwell the best of luck. In the future hopefully he can provide tiered pricing plans.

Credit Stephen Fry for probably at least $10k of that — he told his 4 million followers about the service, which pushed it over the edge: https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/234695539357257728

Seriously though, this is great. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. Hoping to experiment on the journalism front there.

Greetings from way out here in Userland! Out here, there is no way that people are going to pay to be "social" online. Just FYI.

Internet and power are not free.

Once you've paid for Internet and power, being 'social online' is indeed free.

But with who, and in what context?

I feel like being "that guy", and saying that this is going to fail. It's not going to gain traction, and will not be profitable or popular in the future.

The reason I want to be "that guy", is that me, Murphy, and his law... have a little thing going. I develop, but definitely don't use social applications (I find them distracting and mundane). I think the concept of a completely open and distributed system like dj2stein9 mentioned is what really needs to be implemented in order to leap frog this idea, and others out there, that might be trying to come up with alternatives to the current players. However, I can definitely see this gaining traction. I love the concept of an Ad free network as well as a nice API.

Dalton and friends. I hope you're extremely successful with this endeavour, and, that you can all comment on this comment in the future with a big "I told you so".

"I feel like being "that guy", and saying that this is going to fail. It's not going to gain traction, and will not be profitable or popular in the future."


"However, I can definitely see this gaining traction."


I think his point is that he would love to be the naysayer, play devil's advocate, but in this case believes the product will survive despite a tendency to view social networks cynically.

ah, that makes sense. My mistake.

To have funded something in which users are going to be first class citizens feels remarkably refreshing.

Am I alone in thinking the ramp up in funding was a bit sketchy over the past three days? Did Dalton or a VC self-fund this to appear like it was gaining traction? I'm sure Gruber's post had an effect, but something seems off. I don't think the reason for hosting their own "Kickstarter-like campaign" was to save themselves the 5% cut. By controlling the funding, they are only accountable to themselves and control all visibility.

Note: There's nothing wrong with using your own money to fund your product, but some more transparency would be nice.

I had the same thought, but that's not the case: https://alpha.app.net/dalton/post/32618

Does anyone else see this and think, "It's like Twitter, except for people who want to complain about Twitter all the time"? That's the vibe I get. There's no way those high school friends I reconnected with are paying for this. There's no way my uncles or cousins are signing up for this. There's no way more than ~5% of my real-life social network will. It seems like yet another Silicon Valley niche product. Maybe I'm wrong, I just don't see it for the 95% of the world that doesn't care about T/FB monetization.

The idea of twitter/facebook not appealing to their users enough may be a bit exaggerated. Yes, facebook/twitter must please their advertisers, however they only have those advertisers paying them because they have many users/subscribers. To keep advertisers coming to them, surely they must keep users happy so they can stay and even hope to attract more?

Now I'm sure having to cater to the advertisers certainly affects the decision making(even a bit adversely at times), however their massive following is essentially what makes them valuable.

I also notice that whenever this idea is challenged, I only see people simply parroting his belabored battle-cry of "catering to the users" without actually giving any concrete examples. I'm not against app.net's idea, I just believe the true novelty of this project is creating a micro-twitter(which can also be created on twitter by simply following certain people) for affluent tech people, and _keeping_ it that way via the subscription fee.

Besides that, I haven't read or heard of anything that they plan to do fundamentally different than twitter. Honestly, even if they do, and it actually proves to be a great feature that users love, I don't see why twitter can't simply copy it and perhaps even make it better.

Its not about destroying or replacing twitter or fb. Thats unlikely and not the goal. Its about new uses. T and FB have defined their contexts and rules. The infrastructure may look very similar but the universe of contexts and possibilities for non T and FB contexts is the point. The space of uses outside of T and FB is vast when publicity and ad focused mining isnt the core driver of business. FB and T have decided to compete for belly fat ads, thats the real shame. However they are both still revolutionary in terms of societal impact, they are just going to coerce their usage to fit their business model. Egyptian protesters and new moms posting baby photos could care less about belly fat ads. I truly sincerely hope both services find a more relevant way so that all models flourish.

I love the idea. I am totally rooting for them but I hate the name. I don't see someone in marketing, either girl or guy, who loves tech but does't know the internals of tech, singing up to this service. It's too narrow in it's focus.

Any reader of my comments should know im a supporter but not employed or beholden to app.net in any way and my opinions are solely based on my interpretation of publicly available info and informal interactions with people inside the app.net community. The actual apis and rules arent final but dalton has made many public commitments and has a history of doing what he says he will do. The work behind app.net didnt spring up overnight. I assume some vc money is in there somewhere so i wouldnt necessarily go vc bashing either. It looks a lot more like a pivot and if there are vcs involved, good on ya for backing it.

1. Awesome to see this funded.

2. Curious to see all the post-funding pile-on. Looks like their subscribers are jumping quite quickly (for a Sunday!) now that funding has been met. Funding validation makes it feel like a safer 'bet' now?

3. Really curious to see if app.net can scale better than Twitter from the start. I'm talking full archives, proper search, robust conversation tracking. If app.net covers these areas sufficiently well, I could see this becoming a go-to feed for journalists / other people for whom proper archives and full-search would be invaluable.

An update from Dalton that deals with new features and third party verification of the funding - http://daltoncaldwell.com/we-did-it

I was a huge doubter on day one - the initial video and manifesto seemed confusing and too abstract to fly - but seeing Dalton handle intensive negativity (even some from me, I'm a bit ashamed to admit) with such aplomb won me over. Seeing his frequent updates with progress, even before the $500k mark, was a great confidence booster.

Every cent well deserved. I was a supporter, and I look forward to helping build app.net in to something amazing.

This is very much how my experience with App.net has been. I was a non-believer, but seeing how Dalton handled things has turned me into a major fan of his.

I sue Tweetbot on my iPhone and can't remember ever seeing an ad. This idea that twitter is getting cluttered by advertising is just a myth.

Can you point to someone who is making that claim?

This is awesome.

But the real question is how they got funded more than 50% in just 4 days? It's amazing. I hope this is not a manual increase of the counter.

I think a large part of the strong finish is a feedback loop. As it gets closer to achieving the goal, the belief that this concept could take off strengthens, which leads to more signups.

That and the press blitz, of course.

And celebrity users endorsing it would have helped as well. For example - Robert Scoble, Stephen Fry (https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/234695539357257728) etc.


Honestly I haven't thought he would manage to raise this amount.

I just checked at on 8 and it was 43%. After that I didn't look into the count. Now, wow I'm impressed. I think this is the best crowdfunding effort I've ever seen.

I'm not a backer of app.net. But would love to hear about the roadmap and future development. Still twitter, FB is OK for me. I'm waiting for what app.net can offer something I wanted.

BTW I'm not a hater :)

Good Luck! App.net team.

Dalton continuously put out updates for people and I think updates like this(http://daltoncaldwell.com/appnet-is-not-vaporware) would have pushed people who were mildly skeptic to contribute.

Dalton's covering this: https://alpha.app.net/dalton/post/32618. In a recent blog post, he also talks about how crowdfunding campaigns usually pick up steam in the last 48 hours

Most Kickstarter-like campaigns start out strong, dip down, then get a lot of traction right before the close of the project (for the ones that are going to be successful).

This is legit. Dalton's model of funding might spur interest in startups to get money from actual users, rather than venture capital

Not to be too snarky, but this is likely much easier for startups that already have funding from Andreesen Horowitz. This campaign was more about gauging interest than getting money.

I've upgraded my account and am going to take a spin at a html5 app. It's an interesting group of people and even if it does not get massive scale it's fun.

Also keep in mind that I don't think app.net wants to be Twitter, it wants to be the back end public messaging system for any and all kinds of apps that have a need for a messaging or notification network.

There's something really inspiring about the way Dalton Caldwell speaks in the video. His demeanor shows an air of confidence, but it also shows how pissed off he is with the existing ad supported free model. Here's wishing the very best for app.net's success.

To be honest, I was skeptical App.net would meet its $500,000 goal on time. Not because I thought it was a bad idea, but because raising that much money from customers just seemed an almost impossible feat.

So congrats, Dalton, can't wait to see what happens next!

Congratulations to Team App.net and a special shoutout to the Alpha App.netizens who brought da noise, and the passion to the last 10 days.

Now it is up to the developers to show us!!

Cool! I backed it mostly to snag my first name (@gabe) in case it actually does take off, but it's a neat idea, too. Congrats to Dalton and the gang.

"If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done."

A quote hanging above my Grandma's oven :-P

Congrats Dalton

I think most people signing up now are doing it for the land-rush of usernames.

What do they mean "claim" twitter name? do they mean claim your app.net name?

The intent was that a twitter user could reserve the same username for App.net. In reality, you can reserve any username -- it doesn't have to be a twitter handle.

Congrats, dude. Now to scrape together a seriously unexpected $100.

Heh, so there's going to be just under 10,000 people on app.net.

...bootstrap? :/

Are you referring to App.net's use of Twitter bootstrap to build their UI or to the way Dalton funded the execution of this idea?

The former, just hell of a bland way to build things these days (even though it is great). Even if it was skinned or something it would go a long way of making it stick out a bit.

I think for now it's just for the efficiency of making a solid alpha. I have no doubt they'll get some solid designers working on some of the UI (and UX people as well).

But Will it scale?

If Groupon would reimplement its account system to adopt App.net, (i.e. paying the annual fee by a ratio of each bill), App.net might scale.

What Groupon get is a new role that introducing customers to companies by letting customers inquire information of services in the long term. Especially, companies who sell massive online education can attract more shoppers through Groupon.

App.net will reach $1,000,000 mark when they will be funded (AUGUST 13 at 11:59PM PDT.)

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