It turns out that App.net did it. The Kickstarter project raised $500,00. Enough people believe in a user- and developer-centric platform, advertisers be damned.
So, the work’s over, right?
Hardly. App.net has to overcome the classic open-closed dilemma. Facebook never would have become so massive if it had charged at the beginning. Because of that, it has to now figure out a way to make real money.
In Free (affiliate link), Chris Anderson writes about how an Amazon.com free shipping promotion was illegal in France. Amazon had to charge a nominal fee. The result: dramatically lower numbers.
I love the concept of App.net but how many people will pay $50/year? Enough to sustain a true platform? I have my doubts but wish them luck.