‘Are You the Customer?’

Harry Marks, responding to my “country club” post about App.net:

App.net is as inclusive as you can get because it puts users and developers first, not big-name companies and celebrities. App.net treats its user base as more than just one big antenna for ads and there are actual support channels that don’t end in .py. That means a lot to me.

Marks is arguing that I am wrong about App.net being an exclusive club, and thus being the reason to join App.net. But I think the above quote supports my position.

It’s true that a large reason to join App.net is so that you are using a service that cares, instead of one that wants to shit ads all over you. But App.net specifically cares because the user cares. It’s not altruism driving the culture at App.net, if it was it would be free and free of ads.

Both App.net and App.net developers stand to gain from more users and better users. To get that kind of “better” user you need a user that cares about furthering the service, and thus the country club analogy.

My point wasn’t about exclusivity as much as it was about two other items:

  1. Not everyone can, or will, pay to join App.net. Just like a country club.
  2. Those that do pay to join, immediately feel invested in the service and thus will continually do their part to better it, not worsen it. Again, just like a country club.

If you are a golfer, you have no doubt golfed at a public course. Public courses are full of golfers which don’t replace divots (gasp!), drink (double gasp!), or drag their golf carts over the green and any other taboo golf infraction there is in the book. Now go to a private course of any nature and the amount of people you see doing those things almost drops to zero.

This is the difference I am referencing.

With Twitter and App.net you see a lot of the same behavior as you do between public and private golf courses. People are vigilant about SPAM on App.net and so too is App.net, and thus there is little (if any) spam that most people see. Look at Twitter. You can report spam all day long, just keep tweeting “iPad” and you will get flooded, but Twitter can’t stay on top of it. I can only speculate as to why, but they should be able to stay on top of it.

People follow what is happening with the App.net, pay for apps, and so forth — not so with Twitter. On Twitter people just follow what celebrity has joined, and look for the free apps that do whatever.

These are important facts which are made possible by more than just people being treated as customers, it’s about a mutual level of respect. Respect for the user, for the service, for the greens.

When people feel invested in anything, they take more care with it and that’s why App.net is like a country club.

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
3 minutes to read.


tl;dr

Harry Marks, responding to my “country club” post about App.net: App.net is as inclusive as you can get because it puts users and developers first, not big-name companies and celebrities. App.net treats its user base as more than just one big antenna for ads and there are actual support channels that don’t end in .py. […]