A few years ago when Twitter was on the rise the social media company started imposing limitations on their API. What this meant was that many 3rd party developers found themselves restricted and inevitably they complained. Some people felt strongly that a social media platform should exist that wasn’t constrained by commercial requirements and that instead of advertising sales driving evolution that there should be a different business model.
Back in 2012 app.net was launched as an alternative to Twitter. Instead of relying on advertising revenue its users had to pay to access the service. Unlike Twitter users could use 256 characters instead of the 140 character limit at the time. App.net also actively encouraged developers to build applications to work with the service. I recall signing up for the service shortly after it launched and trying it out for a while. It had a few nice features, but it was hard to find the motivation to login regularly as there was a limited number of people to interact with.
While the concept behind a subscription based social media platform isn’t horrible, it’s hard to make something “paid” work when there are viable “free” alternative. App.net suffered from one major problem. It simply did not have the user base to be viable. The Wikipedia article on the service gives a good overview of how the company tried to make a go of it, but simply couldn’t maintain themselves on a subscription model.
Before Christmas I noticed that the domain app.net was up for sale over on Sedo. It eventually sold for $70k (as reported by TheDomains)
What will happen to the domain now? Will we see an interesting service launch on it?
The domain is now registered to a mobile app company based in Redmond, WA called Mobiblocks.
Looking at the iTunes app store they appear to be behind a small number of apps for a number of companies on both sides of the Atlantic, so maybe they’ll do something interesting with the domain.