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First Month on app.net – Charts and Stats (diegobasch.com)
57 points by dbuthay on Sept 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments

I don't get the point on app.net. They seem to be an alternative to twitter, just without ads and user funded. Ok, so far, but why should a developer trust their plattform more than any other one? App.net isn't open source like status.net/identi.ca, so if they close developers will be still screwed. I don't see any reason why I should pay money to finance a closed source plattform, sorry. Also the most people are on twitter, so it wouldn't make any sense to change to app.net. Maybe I'm wrong about it, but I don't trust them more than Twitter.

Why do you need to trust them? It's a commercial relationship like any other. I don't even think about the issue of trust.

For me it's very simple: I pay to have fun with the service. I've spent more time playing with app.net in the past month than I spent watching Netflix in the past year. How many people like me are out there? Who knows, that's the X million dollar question.

To your second point, Twitter is not Facebook. You cannot replace Facebook easily because you'd have to convince your friends and family to go elsewhere. On Twitter I follow a bunch of interesting people who tweet news, links, thoughts. I don't need the same people to be at app.net. As long as there are 100-200 interesting and active people for me to follow / interact with, that's good enough.

Their ethos is trust. From their site:

> Our most valuable asset is your trust.

That's always been my issue with app.net. I don't think they're positioning themselves to deliver on their own brand promise. It's an entirely separate issue than if they'll be successful and how much value their users derive.

But that really has me wonder...what the hell?

For developers, I suspect it's less about trust and more about providing something of value to a group of people who are already known to be willing to pay for such things.

Does anyone know how these numbers compare to identi.ca / status.net?

Has everyone who has signed up for app.net used status.net and found it lacking; have people not heard of status.net or does app.net do something I don't know about?

It seems that the people who paid for app.net (myself included) are very motivated to get their money's worth. There's a group of people who seem to be posting all the time. Some have thousands of posts already.

I spent $100 to have developer access. For me it's fun to observe the community develop, and see what interesting insights I can get from the data. In my case I don't feel the money I paid is significant. The time I spend online is the real cost. I suspect it's the same for many other people there.

Every time app.net is mentioned, I see identi.ca/status.net mentioned, yet I know no one using that platform. Rather than just asking how things compare, can anyone present/offer insight into who/how many people are using identi.ca/status.net?

There is certainly overlap, but asking about comparisons or why isn't something used without providing examples as to why they should be used doesn't help those of us not wholly familiar with them.

Stats are great and all, but what is the use of App.net?

Last week during Hurricane Isaac, most of NOLA was without power, our street was flooded, and my only communication with the outside world was via text messaging and Twitter. Twitter kept us up-to-date re: storm projections, conditions of the city, and everything else we needed to know. I did some searching of App.net for Isaac-related posts, and didn't find anything useful.

This is the moment that I realized that App.net is (at the moment) nothing more than a toy and novelty. Twitter is a UTILITY and it was indispensable during Isaac.

Even immediately post-Isaac, it was how we learned what stores (and bars) were open, where to get gas, and the status of roads and the utility companies. Hell, we even tweeted photos of road hazards to @nolaready and they were taken care of.

I'm a backer of App.net and I hope this reverses, but the current state is very clear.

20k users -- does that mean they've broken the $1 million annual revenue threshold? Nice!

20k paying users as fast as they acquired them is absolutely amazing. TBH I don't see the appeal other than leaving Twitter for something new or niche. Perhaps that's enough? I'm not sure.

Part of me says Dalton is on to something. The numbers seem to be evidence of that. Another part of me can't wrap my head around the value proposition. But it exists somehow. If I'm right then the numbers represent people who are signing up out of sheer curiosity and wouldn't renew (unless it's automatic). That would infer (to me) that the community might not be sustainable.

It's fascinating nonetheless.

I've always found the value proposition to be rather clear. In fact, I was one of the really early ones to back App.net because I liked the idea so much. I think it can be compared to a free gym versus an expensive one. The free gym is nice, because it doesn't cost me anything, so I go there. But since it's free there're all kinds of things that bug me: There're way too many people, I always have to wait till I can use a device, the devices are old and of bad quality, and especially since it's free I don't feel very inclined to really use it. I go there a couple of times, and that's it. Now the expensive gym is top class everywhere, the devices are great, the people I meet there are really interesting, and since I pay a lot per month, I'm also interested in using it as much as possible. Loss aversion makes me actually go there quite often in order to not get a bad conscience (since I paid so much for it). It's the same with app.net I think: All the people there actually care. The quality of discussion is really good, people are friendly, there're tons of interesting things going on, the API is really good and we as developers get a say in how it should be changed. They actually ask and listen for advice to make the best API possible. I've worked (a lot) with the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram API, and in all these examples, there're always things that suck, and you can't do anything about it. On ADN, there's actually a good chance that it'll be fixed.

A good API, on the other hand, means that there'll be huge innovation on the client front. Not now; right now, most things look like Twitter, and there're many clients which are all a tad basic. But give it some time to evolve. Soon, ADN will have quality discussions, quality clients, and lots of innovative features since it is so open to changes (as opposed to Twitter, who at some point became very opposed to changes).

If you ask me right now, I'd say the big value proposition of ADN is the quality of the discussion, if you ask me in 5 months, I guess I'll answer that it's the fantastic client ecosystem.

EDIT: I thought I should mention that I'm the author of the ADM Mac client #appetizer (http://www.instadesk-app.com/appetizer)

That makes sense. Perhaps I under estimate the market size for it. People do pay for services on the Internet but they're typically services that offer tremendous value, can't be found for free or has an element of importance (security for a service that handles money).

In my opinion, there are free alternatives to ADN (namely, Twitter) and the value of simply participating in a community isn't one that I believe a large # of people would pay for.

Keep in mind, ADN is a venture funded business. I'm just not seeing it.

All that said, I hope they figure something out. I have talked to Dalton and one of my friends works on it. I hope you're able to do something with the #appetizer as well.

Personally, I think that the funding success for ADN is showcasing that there could be a market for non-freemium and non-free services. Another contender here is the economist, which is one of the very, very few journalistic products that makes money with a pay wall. The reason, again, being that they offer very high quality.

I would also pay for an online newspaper that lacks advertisement and employs really good journalists to paint a picture that is as close to the truth as possible. The less ties between a newspaper and any industry, the less the chance that a story is pulled because the company in question places lots of advertisement in the newspaper.

It's true that most people wouldn't want to pay for a community, many people on Twitter only use it to read what celebrities are up to. However, I don't think that a social network needs to be as big as Facebook anymore to be successful - or Twitter, or Instagram. As long as there's a vibrant community, that is dedicated to the service, and solid growth, everything is fine.

Especially since Facebook (at least for me) already satisfies the 'friends' kind of social network. I have all my contacts there, so for engaging with them, I go to Facebook, I don't need another service. If I join another service, then because the value proposition is not about friends, but about something different. Badoo is a success because their value proposition is about dating, and Twitter is a success because they offer many-to-many friendships and open celebrities. Again, Instagram was a success because they changed the mapping, instead of friends -> content they went for content -> friends.

As long as a network doesn't compete with Facebook on their core values, i guess they're fine.

On Twitter, I don't care if there're 10Million or 100Million other users, I can only see so many. So as long as there're enough users on ADN I'd guess that I'm happy there.

Oh, I'm also just trying to explain what I think about where this is going, I'm not trying to defend anything, sorry if it sounds like that :)

Thanks, Appetizer is in many ways a side project right now, but it's fun working on it. Also, while we're at it, I like the OpenPhoto approach, I really want to install it once I find some time. Had it on my todo list for months now. I'm unhappy with most current online photo solutions, and having them on my own server sounds just about right. I wish you best of luck there :)

I truly hope you're right. I wouldn't personally pay for ADN (I don't think) but I do wish there were more services online that were funded directly by customers. I think the web would be a better place if more of those sites existed and users got more accustomed to not having everything for "free".

There are a couple online services I absolutely love paying for. I wish there were more. ADN seems like it might be that for a larger number than I had originally thought.

Here's to the future of everyone using Appetizer to post photos from their OpenPhoto site ;).

Well, to quote on site that has taken ADN to another level, here's a game of chess for you. http://www.apppassant.com/ I should think you can find them playing live at the hashtag #chess

If you remove the word "annual" it will still be impressive but be more accurate. I don't know how many will stay. My guess is somewhere between 25% and 75%. But I think the price might be cheaper the next year. I also think there's a good chance that by adding new users they'll maintain $1M+ in annual revenues.

The initial 1 year charge was part of the recurring subscription. Users get automatically charged and the drop-off might not be that massive.

Proof? I can't see my credit card in my account settings.

It'd be interesting to see how many will renew.

Is it possible to read app.net posts without being a member? Is there a firehose of tweets? If people need to pay to read tweets it would be really counterproductive...

Yes, for example:


I don't think you can read the posts programmatically (including metadata) unless you pay for developer access to the api.

Thanks! It reminds me of Twitter a lot, somehow :-)

i say we take this discussion on at app.net. The thread view there is the key difference here :)

I already see spam (with t.co links) on the alpha.app.net page. Surely nuking spam and spammers shouldn't be hard for a paid, centralized service like app.net?

Identi.ca also appears to be full of spam. Basically nothing will kill a public space faster or deader. There is a certain set of users who will stick around in a chat room/feed/forum/whatever full of spambots, but it's not a high-quality audience and doesn't tend to grow much.

That's not spam, that's people cross-posting from Twitter.

I was dismissive at first of app.net, but I think its great they are getting some build up of users. To have an alternative to Twitter can only be a good thing.

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