For those that haven’t noticed yet, App.net released a blog post this morning detailing the state of the platform. Basically, App.net is finically viable enough to cover running costs for the foreseeable future but not enough for the DIP to keep going or for App.net to continue employing full time staff.
This, obviously, caused quite a commotion this morning. There were the obvious “RIP ADN” posts as well as some more thought out responses. My initial response was a couple of posts I made shortly after reading the blog post.
While this change to the development side of App.net is sad, I have no doubts that the service will continue on. What that looks like in terms of development of the service, I don’t know. I do know that the API is extremely well thought out and powerful (especially compared to some of the other offerings) already and that I enjoy working with it.
I also know that the API is only one side of the service. While it is what they set out to build, the main reason that I, and many others, keep coming back to ADN is because of the community that has built itself around the microblogging aspect. This has also had other areas built around it, like Patter and Vidcast, which were built to help facilitate further interactions in the community.
I am glad that that community exists. It saddens me when I see people assuming that the community will suddenly disappear due to this change in the structure of the company, even though there’s no reason for it.
If App.net does end up closing rather soon (which we have no indication of happening at all — in fact, we have indications to the contrary), just moving the community aspect of it over to Twitter isn’t much an option. Twitter removed directed posts, with no intention to bring them back; is much more about consuming content than about participating in conversations; and is already hard enough to keep up with the going ons in my stream without following another 100-odd reasonably active accounts.
A company can be financially viable just offering a service, even if they don’t have the resources to be actively working on it. With Backer already in existence, it isn’t that difficult to conclude that it is likely to be of use in further funding of development.
As has already been mentioned in posts, the DIP was never that much of a cost-recovery mechanism for developers. For most, it would just cover server costs and the account renewal. These costs are relatively small and tend to be easy to cover out of pocket.
Sure, the DIP was nice to have. It was always a pleasant surprise when the transfer showed up. It was never more than that.
I’m sticking around. My apps are sticking around. I have ideas in development for some of my existing apps and some potential new ones. Those are still going ahead. I may charge for some of the new ones, I may not. Some may be useful to more than just me, others may flop and die. All I know, is they’re likely to be using the App.net API.