The tech industry is driven from one basic simple axiom: The world belongs to the bold and the brave. Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Page and Brin. All of them were bold enough to dream big and brave enough to execute this dream into a real thing that eventually changed the world.
Now, another entrepreneur is trying to make a big change. Dalton Caldwell is trying to build a real-time advertising-free social platform called App.net. It essentially suppose to offer the same micro-blogging experience as Twitter, only with 256 characters rather than Twitter’s 140 and of course most importantly it won’t feature ANY ads at all.
To launch this aspiring project, Caldwell chose an original way for funding. On July 13th he posted that his team is looking to raise $500,000 from the public through three App.net’s paid membership options- $50 for basic member, $100 for developer and $1,000 for pro. The funding campaign was set to end on August 13th 11:59 PM.
About two days before the awaited date, App.net already surpassed the $500,000 goal and according to this very moment, when 20 hours still remain, over $660,000 were raised. Yes, you did it.
However, what evidently is a successful funding model for an intriguing new social product, obviously isn’t guaranteeing a success for the product in the long-run. In fact, although I think that competition is crucial and I really wish this project will take off, I have to admit that I’m pretty skeptical about its chances.
First, I don’t share Caldwell’s enthusiastic thoughts about a real broad public adoption of a paid social product. Sure, people will pay for a high quality irreplaceable product but I’m just not sure if App.net falls into this criteria. Even if the App.net’s platform is uber-awesome, it surely isn’t irreplaceable.
Its biggest rival, Twitter, is completely free and already proved to be a highly functioning social platform. People will always prefer the free product on top of the paid one if the general experience is somewhat similar. From what can be impressed so far from App.net (here), it doesn’t offer any real drastic changes and improvements over Twitter.
Second, the social networking market is very well-crowded and highly competitive. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Google+ are already deeply established social media brands with hundreds of millions of users. In order to infiltrate broadly into this market, it has to be something really revolutionary incredible because an equal-quality product or even just a slightly better one, simply won’t be enough.
And again, I just don’t think that App.net can deliver this kick-ass experience that would phenomenally overshadowed the other social media products.
However, I do believe that even if App.net would never really get adopted by the masses, it will still contribute just by showing to all the major social networking brands that they shouldn’t push the limits of advertising on the expense of user experience because alternatives can arise.
You can learn more about App.net inspirational project by Dalton Caldwell in the following short video: