App.Net 'Winding Down' Developer Incentive Program And Stopping Active Development

6 May 2014

App.Net:

good news is that the renewal rate was high enough for App.net to be profitable and self-sustaining on a forward basis. Operational and hosting costs are sufficiently covered by revenue for us to feel confident in the continued viability of the service. No one should notice any change in the way the App.net API/service operates. To repeat, App.net will continue to operate normally on an indefinite basis.

The bad news is that the renewal rate was not high enough for us to have sufficient budget for full-time employees. After carefully considering a few different options, we are making the difficult decision to no longer employ any salaried employees, including founders. Dalton and Bryan will continue to be responsible for the operation of App.net, but no longer as employees. Additionally, as part of our efforts to ensure App.net is generating positive cash flow, we are winding down the Developer Incentive Program. We will be reaching out to developers currently enrolled in the program with more information.

So, it’s “profitable” as long as no one is on the company’s payroll full-time and they stop paying developers for their usage contributions. Basically, App.net has run out of road. There’s no way this service makes a resurgence. Developers weren’t building on the platform with the money incentives intact.1 Take it away and you really have got nothing.

The user base of App.net will slowly diminish as people gradually stop renewing. At some point, likely not too far in the future, it will get shut down completely.

The ecosystem side of App.net was always doomed, but I want to make one remark about the Twitter-clone aspect of the service. I joined App.net in late 2012 with much chagrin.2 I posted on App.net about 130 times in total over that period. I’ll write that number of tweets in a week, easily. Kinda sums it up.

1 Case in point: Netbot was last updated on the 13th of August.

2 The fact I could get a short handle was a big win.