Twitter rival and ambitious social network app App.net announced recently that it is shutting down. The timely rise and fall of the social network is highly symbolic as its once-competitor, Twitter, is continuing to struggle even now with content management, harassment, hate crime and monetization, notes TechCrunch.
Why is App.net shutting down?
App.net’s announcement about winding up is not very surprising because it has been in maintenance mode since May 2014. Chief Executive Dalton Caldwell and co-founder Bryan Berg put the app on autopilot after it was not able to generate the revenue required to support a full-time staff.
Subsequently, the CEO took on a new role as a partner at Y Combinator. The social network, to the team’s credit, grew organically out of a successful crowdfunding campaign that received more than $750,000 in pledges. Many people believed the promise of the ad-free, subscription-based Twitter clone that would stay friendly to users and developers, no matter how big and successful it got, notes TechCrunch.
Failure to gain the attention of users and developers and an inability to generate meaningful revenue are the reasons for the shutdown. It was a Twitter-like service for users allowing them to compose messages of up to 256 characters. If users wanted to do something else, it would require third-party apps. App.net promised that users would have complete control over their data.
Twitter had six years of user growth and momentum by the time App.net got off the ground in 2012. The social network needed institutional capital by 2013 to make the fight with Twitter competitive.
The Twitter clone will be made open-source
The social network will finally shut down on March 14, and new signups or subscriptions are no longer allowed. In a blog post, Caldwell stated that the code for App.net would be open-sourced, and all user data will cease to exist after that date.
In their farewell post, Berg and Caldwell noted that every dollar “App.net has charged has gone towards paying for the hosting and services needed to keep the site running.” However, some investment opportunities have come up that prevented the CEO and founder of App.net from reviving the service.
The social network said that it envisioned a pool of fast-growing, differentiated third-party apps that would sustain the number required to make the business work. It did work at the beginning, but not in the long term.
“This was a foreseeable risk, but one we felt was worth taking,” the blog post read.