App.net, according to their FAQ, is “A framework for real-time social media interactions based on open standards with an ad-free, subscription-based business model, which aims to distinguish itself from the field by respecting 3rd-party developers as equals and not commoditizing its users.”
The initiative is still in alpha mode, but according to Dalton Caldwell, it has reached its goal of 500,000 registrations ahead of time. Caldwell explains, in a recent article on his blog,
that App.net will provide a place for third party developers to market their apps without having to sell them through an app store connected to one or the other social networking sites.
As far as I understand, all the apps developed by third party coders go into a repository. End users are free to choose which apps they would like to use, and the developers are paid from a fund consisting of monthly payments by all those who join App.net and use the apps, revenue to be distributed in accordance with use of the individual applications.
The initiative seems to be a response to the way Twitter treats its app developers. Caldwell says:
“Let me be transparent here: I am trying to turn the brain-dead way Twitter is treating its 3rd-party devs on its head. 3rd-party developers added all of the value to the platform in the early days, and instead of being shut down they should get paid. The reason the Twitter developer ecosystem has failed is that Twitter itself has a flawed business model. We can do better.”
There has also been a run-in with facebook, which apparently decided that an app offered to be sold in their app store would be in competition with internal developments and was therefore not going to be sold… see
More stories about the App.net saga at