Crowd-funded social play and versatile web platform App.net has opened up a free version of its service. Access to the free service requires an invitation from an existing subscriber and will land you 500 Mb of storage space and the ability to follow up to 40 people.
According to The Next Web, App.net decided to go invite-only at this stage because it would allow it to scale the influx of users it reckons will come with the removal of the price barrier.
The number of invites each existing user gets will apparently be subject to a number of factors including longevity of account and usage, although most people will get somewhere between three and ten invites.
The free account will provide a significant boost in user volume to the service, which was created out of frustration with increasing restrictions on Twitter’s API. In truth however, the social side of App.net is just one part of what App.net does.
A lot of important work has also been taking place on the developers’ side, where polished apps like Netbot and Felix have been built.
Still, without that high-profile social site, App.net can hardly become the refuge for people frustrated with the experience on mainstream social networks it claims to be.
There are, therefore, incentives to make sure that existing members use up all of their invites. If the invited member follows at least five other accounts and authorizes a third-party app then the person who invited them will get an extra 100 Mb worth of storage space.
The service has also updated its site to give it a friendlier look, something which will encourage new users to stay for longer.
“When you think of a successful freemium service, that’s what you want,” App.net founder Dalton Caldwell told The Next Web. “You want it to be super lightweight and super accessible for new users, and [when they] get a lot of utility and a lot of value there, they say ‘ok, yeah, I’ll pay for this, this is really cool.’”
App.net currently has around 30 000 members, 3 000 of whom use the site at least once a month.