Dalton Caldwell on the App.net Blog:
Although App.net has had only paid account tiers thus far, we initially conceived of App.net as a freemium service. It took some time to get to this point, but we are now ready to make this vision a reality.
Marco Arment on this change for App.net:
What developers need is for App.net to add tons of users to the service they already offer. (Conveniently, that’s also what App.net’s users need.)
As long as the invitation requirement is in place, the free tier won’t do this. And when an invitation is no longer required, App.net is going to need to start battling the spam and abuse that all free social services face.
This is a tough issue for App.net because Arment is absolutely right: App.net needs more users for anything to be viable a year from now. So “freemium” actually isn’t a bad plan, but I think App.net went about it wrong.
The one thing missing from App.net so far has been: Spam and accounts that post links from websites. (And yes, I have @tbr for that very reason.) Today tons of websites with free accounts just sprung up.
Which is exactly what App.net should not want to see happening. It’s not what I want to see (and yes, I see the hypocrisy here).
Effectively App.net just made it easy for BRANDS and SPAM (both capitalized to show the similarity between the two words) to make their way into App.net and I really hate that. Such is life.
I think a far more clever solution would have been to change the free tier from:
- Max 40 follows
- Invite only
- Storage limitations
- Unlimited follows
- Only one reply to others per day
- Only 50 followers allowed
- No PMs
- Available to anyone that wants to sign up.
The solution App.net implemented encourages leachers, whereas I think my solution encourages people to trial the service. My proposal would entice active, healthy users to pay while weeding out the SPAM and BRANDS.
I’m skeptical as to whether this was the right move for App.net.