App.net surpasses $500,000 funding goal to kick-start non-advertising social site

A new social networking site, similar in style to Twitter has surpassed its goal of using ‘backers’ in order to create a social media site that isn’t, and never will be, an advertising platform.

 Paid-For Twitter Alternative Reaches Funding Goal

The project has been underway for 9 years and the deadline 13th August was set to attract $500,000 in backing before the site goes live. The paid for service, the brainchild of Dalton Caldwell, announced a month–long funding campaign before launch, so that users and devs can have the best experience possible, without ads.

At the time of writing, App.net had blown its target out of the water, having reached a sum of almost $715,000 with 14 hours to go.

app-net Paid-For Twitter Alternative Reaches Funding Goal

Paid opportunity with no advertisers

“The reason why I’m so optimistic about a paid opportunity is that it aligns our incentives economically with users and developers,” Caldwell said.

“If we’re selling a service, our customers are our users, and our job is to make our users happy. If we have a free, ad-supported service, our customers are advertisers and our job is to make advertisers happy.”

“I think a lot of the friction that we’re seeing from these disappointing services are just a reflection that all the financial incentives have to do with fees and services and not the userbase,” Caldwell went on to say.

In the past, he has worked on various projects including iMeem and PicPlz.

The new social site’s philosophy is bound to make it a popular service amongst many, despite it not being free. The alpha version of the site looks almost identical to a Twitter feed, but App.net members are made a number of promises.

 

Products, not users

Bound to be popular, App.net promises never to sell on any user data to advertisers. This is something that has become an increasing concern with many users of Facebook and Google, who have both been fined over privacy in the past.

Even better, users have full control over all of their data, they can download, make backups and delete everything they have ever posted and the founder says that it will always remain that way.

“Rather than waste most of our engineering time coming up with new and exciting ways to sell your personal data to advertisers, 100% of our engineering and product team will be focused on building the most innovative and reliable service we can,” the website further explains.

Whilst it is of course a commercial venture, relying on paid members rather than advertisers, App.net will play to the increasing concerns surrounding social networking and privacy.

For example, most of us have noticed ‘targeted advertising’, where on Facebook ads will appear which are relevant t age, location and social demographic. Many people are disturbed by the fact that the site holds enough information on them to carry out advertising such as this.

It’s certainly an interesting project and I for one am looking forward to seeing what’s important to folk, a fee, or privacy protection guaranteed. I’m backing the latter and think the general ethos of the site will make it a winner.

 

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