It may not be the most successful crowdfunding project in history, but it is causing a serious stir. Subscription-based Twitter alternative App.net has raised US$803 000 in a self-imposed period of funding from 12 315 backers.
The network describes itself as a “real-time social service where users and developers come first, not advertisers”. That putting users and developers first comes out of a frustration with some recent changes made to Twitter that have left some developers feeling alienated.
“We believe that advertising-supported social services are so consistently and inextricably at odds with the interests of users and developers that something must be done,” it’s funding page says.
The service was founded by Mixed Media Lab CEO Dalton Caldwell, who wants the platform to be “open” and ad free.
As The Next Web notes however Caldwell’s frustration also extends to Facebook. He recently wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, accusing the big blue social network of using intimidation and aggressive “aqui-hire” tactics to eliminate any perceived competition.
App.net’s funding drive was going along steadily, but received a big push when British comedian and actor Stephen Fry tweeted that he had joined the service:
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) August 12, 2012
Caldwell is extremely optimistic that his product will grow from its current base of 3 400 Alpha users, telling The Next Web that he’s confident it will become mainstream. Thing is, it takes a lot more to leave a social network these days, especially when it’s free.
Iff App.net’s going to work, there are going to have to be a lot of groups of similarly minded people getting frustrated with ads on their social networks ready to jump ship.