A competitor to Twitter has emerged in the three months since the company warned developers it would limit what they can do with its APIs. (Twitter followed up with API changes in August.)
The up-and-comer — despite its clunky name, App.net — hosts a sleek microblogging feed, which claims to have nearly 20,000 members at the rate of $ 5 a month or $ 36 a year.
And on Wednesday, the service launched a directory of apps built on top of its service, with 27 apps running.
App.net’s driving force, Dalton Caldwell, formerly of imeem, has been very clear about the service’s intention to provide a service model completely opposite to Twitter’s. Twitter frustrated a number of prominent developers by initially inviting them to build on its service but increasingly focusing on becoming a website that brings content in to it, rather than linking out the other sites.
Many say Twitter has made the changes in order to boost its advertising revenue.
Caldwell asks users and developers to pay for his service so that they, rather than advertisers, are the clients, making the service’s only incentive to serve users. (His take is strangely in sync with a memo Twitter founder Jack Dorsey wrote to his staff at Square earlier today.)
Caldwell also invites developers to export the content generated through App.net’s technology and use it as they like, echoing Twitter’s early stance.
Because users and app developers pay to use App.net’s data, the service’s numbers send a message about which model Internet users support. But the message is diluted by the fact that many developers embrace multiple, competing platforms and wait to see how each shakes out.
Caldwell was unavailable to comment. Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment.