Pricing App.net

I’ve seen more than a few people talk about how today’s price reduction (from $50/year to $36/year or $5/month) to App.net’s service being a good thing, but simply not good enough. The argument is typical: those who wouldn’t pay $50, still won’t pay $36, and that argument is actually correct.

Marco Arment sums the argument up nicely:

This is a nice move, but I don’t think it’s enough of a price drop to meaningfully change the adoption rate. Most people who balked at $50 will also balk at $36.

I ask something different: so what?

I’m one of the earlier users of App.net, I also don’t use any other services like App.net 1 and so I think it’s fair to say that I am one of the more dedicated users of App.net. With that said I haven’t talked with @Dalton or @Berg about what their plans are for the future, but I suspect that they aren’t after the two things that many assume they are after:

  • Fast adoption.
  • Replacing Twitter.

The simple fact is that neither are possible with a paid product. It wouldn’t matter if App.net charged $1 a year, adoption would still be slow. There’s no further proof needed than a perusal through the iOS App Store and looking at comments that $0.99 apps get — many people thinking these apps are “a ripoff” — yet we are only talking about a dollar.

I’ve long thought $50/year is too high for App.net and $36/year sounds a lot better, however in the end it doesn’t really matter. The network, the user base, that is already present on App.net replaces the value I received from Twitter two-fold at this point and have largely proven that they don’t much care if they pay $50 or $36.

The conversations are slower on App.net, as are the updates, but that makes me engage more with the service, not less. Yes, Gruber doesn’t post on App.net that much — but there are plenty of others that do post. If you signed up for App.net and are sitting around waiting for it to be able to “replace” Twitter for you, then you simply signed up for the wrong service — stay on Twitter.

However if you signed up for App.net because you are fed up with Twitter — for whatever reason — then App.net can likely replace it for you.

  1. I occasionally respond to people on Twitter, but I have to be pretty bored to do so.
Originally posted for members on: October 1, 2012
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