Friday, January 13, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

App.net Is Shutting Down

Dalton Caldwell (Hacker News, Slashdot):

Ultimately, we failed to overcome the chicken-and-egg issue between application developers and user adoption of those applications. We envisioned a pool of differentiated, fast-growing third-party applications would sustain the numbers needed to make the business work. Our initial developer adoption exceeded expectations, but that initial excitement didn’t ultimately translate into a big enough pool of customers for those developers.

Clark Goble:

Big benefit of ADN was having enough characters to comments on links and requotes. Hard in Twitter. Tone often comes off wrong.

Riccardo Mori:

But after a few weeks something clicked. I was loving the place. I thought the first interactions and mutual follows would involve people I knew (and knew me) from Twitter; instead I was welcomed by others I didn’t know from anywhere. A sense of ‘community in the making’ was quite palpable.

And things only got better from there. I’m speaking about my experience, of course. ADN felt like the early days of Twitter, possibly even better. A basic feature like having 256 characters available in a post, instead of Twitter’s 140, turned out to make a huge difference. Conversations lasted longer, got deeper, and with longer posts, people could explain themselves in a much better way than the average quipping in Twitter’s exchanges. Private messages, too, could be longer (2048 characters). The whole atmosphere was different than Twitter’s.

The closest alternative is probably Gab, although that does not seem to have native apps nor any traction in Mac/iOS tech circles.

More interesting are the decentralized alternatives, which include Manton Reece’s new Micro.blog:

Today, most writing instead goes into a small number of centralized social networking sites, where you can’t move your content, advertisements and fake news are everywhere, and if one of these sites fails, your content disappears from the internet. Too many sites have gone away and taken our posts and photos with them.

I want to encourage more independent writing. To do that, we need better tools that embrace microblogs and the advantages of the open web. We need to learn from the success and user experience of social networking, but applied to the full scope of the web.

I first set out to build a new service just for microblogs. It has a timeline experience like a social network, with replies and favorites, but it’s based on RSS, with the main posts pulled from independent sites.

I’ve backed his Kickstarter.

Previously: App.net State of the Union.

Update (2017-01-13): Nick Heer:

The biggest difference between App.net and Micro.blog is that the latter can be self-hosted, and is entirely decentralized. If Reece were to stop development of Micro.blog in ten years, existing installations would continue to work as long as the programming languages that power it remain compatible.

Update (2017-01-23): cgiffard:

“We are starting an archival project for App.net and would love your input and assistance.” — Archive Team

Update (2017-01-25): Jonathan LaCour:

Manton, too, believes that the future of the open web is bright, and is throwing his own efforts behind the launch of a new, open platform for microblogging—like Twitter, but distributed, and owned by its users. We’d like to make it as easy as possible to launch a WordPress-powered microblog on DreamHost that integrates well with Manton’s upcoming Micro.blog service. In order to support that mission, DreamHost is kicking in a $5,000 pledge to the Kickstarter.

[…]

If we succeed in our mission and vision, along with Manton, you’ll no longer just be a username belonging to a faceless organization. You’ll be able to build your digital presence as the open web intended: with your own domain, the freedom to move from one provider to another, and the assurance that your data belongs to you, and no one else.

3 Comments

App.net was one of those really nice ideas and projects that failed by a severe dumb pricing strategy and a "self-centered on silicon valley"-itis which made them completely blind to 99% of the possible customers.

First was the absurd pricing. Originally was something like 50$ per year or similar. You can pay ~15$ for your own domain and another ~25-30$ for a decent hosting with enough space for your email, webpage, extra bells and whistles. What exactly should people pay 50$ for?! A twitter clone with some unspecified usage for some hidden space?!

If you actually bother to read their manifesto/statement/some other article explaining what Appdotnet was, you would get the gist of the general concept and what they wanted to do, and that their "twitter clone" was actually just a demo of the underlying platform. Unfortunately for them, that was never clear, they never bother explaining decently and honestly, nobody care. A twitter clone was pretty much what everyone wanted since the great "social network disappointment atmosphere" of then.

The pricing mistake was specially compounded by their complete blindness of everyone not in sillicon valley and not in top % of the planet. Apart from North America, 50$ is a significant/not-throw-away amount of cash. Spending that on an untested "twitter", and some nebulous plaftform, with serious low outreach and no low cost or free accounts, was just... well, dumb!

Maccouch: I wouldn't lambaste it as being “dumb” … just insular.

If I recall, “app.net” originally had nothing specific to do with social networking, and they eventually chose to repurpose the domain name once the twitter-clone app gained traction. It didn't seem like it was ever designed, managed or marketed like a commercial service designed to build a customer base—and that's not necessarily a bad thing; it's actually rather refreshing, in our currentl nauesatingly-commercial and VC climate.

I never got on the appnet bandwagon though, so I'm barely qualified to weigh in.

[…] Previously: Twitter Shutting Down APIs, Twitter’s Weeds, Gab App Rejected by Google (and Apple), App.net Is Shutting Down. […]

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