So what exactly is app.net?
It’s becoming popular opinion that, as of late, Twitter has really been deteriorating due to the changes they’ve made. They’ve made more API cuts, and revoked access to the platform for certain applications such as Instagram and Tumblr. They seem to be focusing a great deal on monetising the website and less on the users, which is understandable. They’ve got their user base so now they want to focus on revenue more. Who wouldn’t in their position?
At the same time, there’s been a lot of talk on Twitter about the new app.net, which claims to be a viable solution to the deterioration of sites like Twitter and Facebook, by being a paid service. I’ve purchased and tried app.net myself, and have so far been quite impressed.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that there’s not really a main website. There’s alpha, the main web client, but even that just connects to the app.net API. There’s nothing which specifically says “Hi there, I’m app.net!”, just lots of different endpoints using the same API. Whilst this might confuse some people, I think it’s great. I love the idea, because it means the end user has total control. Whatever client you use, they all have equal opportunity to do the same thing.
That aside, the main feature of app.net is, of course, the lack of advertising. I don’t know what it is, but I do inexplicably get the feeling that app.net is designed for the users. I can’t put my finger on it, but after all the recent announcements about Twitter, the amount of spam everyone gets on a day to day basis, and the sponsored tweets showing in the web client – after all that, app.net is.. refreshing. It makes a change to use something designed purely for the users, rather than financial gain for a huge company.
Of course app.net is still in it’s early stages, as are the majority of apps and 3rd party clients made for it (of which there are already quite a few, incidentally). It’s a little flaky, and there’s certainly improvements to be made, however I can certainly see potential there for a great product.
A lot of people have noted on Twitter that they refuse to pay. Personally, I don’t see why. I can understand people being skeptical – I was at first. How are we supposed to know if it’ll take off, or if we’ll waste $50? We don’t. But that’s a risk you take. At the end of the day, it’s only $50 anyway, which roughly translates to just over £30. For a good quality, well-maintained service with an absolute focus on YOU, the customer. Would you not be happy to pay £30 for that? I would, and I did – so far I’ve not looked back on that decision.