App.net, the premium real-time social feed (aka Twitter without the ads) that costs members $50 per year, has been making quite a splash in tech circles as of late. So what exactly were the market opportunities that Dalton Caldwell saw and what pain points is he addressing? How compelling are they? What did he feel Twitter left on the table and why are people so excited about this new service? There must be something there, and if there is and it is significant, that begs the question: is App.net a Twitter killer?
Personally, I see the value in paying for a service right up front as I wrote about yesterday, but I think the price of admission is a bit too steep for mass adoption in this case. I like the idea of App.net, a lot, but I haven’t been compelled to join just yet. I definitely don’t like the name of the service; App.net sounds incredibly bland, especially compared to Twitter. It sounds like a boring enterprise software solution as opposed to a vibrant, young, anti-conventional movement. I think a rebrand could do the company good (both in name and color as they make good use of blue on their homepage, just like Twitter and Facebook).
On App.net’s homepage, the service uses some shout outs from press outlets as a way to toot it’s own horn (as do many startups) but I can’t seem to agree with everything that is said. For one thing, CNNMoney is quoted as saying, “Something is badly broken in the business models of social companies like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon. App.net wants to fix that.” Groupon, maybe, and yes Facebook is struggling with mobile ad adoption, but what is wrong with Twitter’s business model? It costs over $100,000 to promote a tweet for a day… millions of people love the service and the company is making money. Huh? TechCrunch purports that, “It’s high time that the advertising dominance has to come to an end.” Okay, that’s one opinion, but the experts I rounded up for this post seem to agree that App.net is going to have a very hard time finding mainstream momentum. How, exactly, does that bring advertising dominance to an end?
Regardless, App.net offers a fresh take on social networking which many people are going to appreciate. Do you think the startups has a good enough idea and the right ...