App.net Is Doomed

I really want(ed) App.net to succeed. Twitter went to a weird place where the nerdy users that helped build the network up in the early days are being shunned and told that we’re wrong for wanting beautiful and flexible apps and interfaces, not wanting ads and not wanting to see hashtags for everything. I know, we’re not the average user. The average user has never wanted an archive of their tweets. And the idea of App.net was exciting, if not a little suspicious. It seemed a little too ambitious and a little too good to be true.

I joined App.net back in October 2012 when Netbot was released and the price dropped to $36 a year. A lot of nerds joined then. It was an interesting time because there was a flurry of activities and the first fully-featured iOS App.net (ADN) was out there. That flurry of excitement didn’t last all that long though. There still weren’t that many people posting to ADN and most of what was being posted to ADN was the same content being posted to Twitter. ADN became a secondary Twitter. ADN is a place where people keep a second copy of their murmurings and where the people who don’t feel cool enough for Twitter anymore have taken refuge to bitch and moan about pretty much everything.

It all started going wrong when Netbot went free. The ADN “community” had a collective fit and condemned Paul Haddad (who had been really into the idea of ADN) for possibly trying to “steal” all the developer incentive program money by having a popular client be free. Truth is, ADN doesn’t have many users and that limits the potential sales of any ADN client. Tapbots wasn’t making their money back (I suppose) and tried to get as many users using their app (and then potentially voting for Netbot for developer incentive program points). I don’t blame them (even if the whiners on ADN do).

The neck beards said Tapbots should update the app more and keep up with new ADN features. Tapbots made a lot of people happy when Netbot came out because there weren’t any fully featured iPhone clients available in October 2012. People said they wanted Tweetbot for ADN. They got it, and they were happy about it. Now, they’re made because it’s “just Tweetbot for iPhone”. That’s pretty fucking great, actually. There have been a few decent clients to come out over the past couple of months, but on the whole, Netbot is still among the best three.

MystreamFull 2x

When developer of Riposte started complaining about Tapbots being anti-competitive, the “ADN community” got their panties in big bunches and lashed out as one loud fat kid camp voice. I sided with Tapbots then because I know ADN isn’t going anywhere (fast, at least) and they’ve gotta make money. Also, take a look at Riposte. There’s not a lot special about it. It lacks native cross-posting to Twitter and ADN search. And this week (2013-02-18), Riposte went free. I guess their app wasn’t worth the $4.99 they were asking for it compared to Netbot. Bill Kunz’s Felix is still around and still $4.99. It’s a fine app that I use from time to time and it’s definitely got a certain style to it.

I figure that App.net is either not going to exist long or it’s going to radically change its pricing model because it’s hard to get people to join a new social network when pretty much the same thing already existed and you’re charging $36 a year for it. If App.net dies, this nonsense about app pricing will look even dumber than it already does.