Coming on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that it would begin paying its developers based on user reviews, Dalton Caldwell’s App.net announced Monday that it will be lowering the price of entry for users on a yearly basis and add a monthly subscription option as well.
Caldwell launched App.net this summer as an “audacious proposal” that was commonly referred to as a paid version of Twitter, but actually serves as a paid developer ecosystem for the open web — think of it like the plumbing and infrastructure that supports a city, rather than the actual buildings, or content. App.net initially charged $50 for a yearly membership, which some people criticized for being too expensive and exclusive. However, Caldwell has maintained that the high initial price was critical to keeping App.net sustainable and appropriately scaled, and had said they would drop the price once membership grew.
Now that the service has almost hit 20,000 members, users will be able to join App.net for $36 per year or $5 per month. There is an adjustment available for current members who paid the initial $50 price. Caldwell noted in the blog post Monday that the initial price was based on a user base of 10,000, so the shift to a lower price makes sense.
Caldwell’s theory is that by charging a price proportional to the size of overall membership, App.net can return some of the money to developers to keep them building for the service. Users will be able to rate and review their favorite apps on App.net, and those developers will be paid accordingly. This system is meant to be the opposite of a content distribution system like Twitter, which does not pay its developers and is closing down the third-party ecosystem to support revenue through advertising.