App.net, the social platform by Dalten Caldwell has launched a new crowdfunding service called Backer that allows companies to ask users for money before committing to build software features. The idea behind Backer is that when a company wants to add a new feature to its software, it should be able to test just how much users desire a hypothetical feature by asking them to commit money to the functionality being built before development even begins.
As the popularity of crowdfunding grows ever larger, an interesting new trend has started popping up: developers, curious if a new feature is worth adding to their products, are asking interested customers to chip in to cover the costs of development. In other words: if you really want a feature, put your money where your mouth is. Balanced, a payment service, recently used crowdfunding to support adding a new money sending feature. App.net, a subscription-based/ad-free Twitter alternative which as a whole was born out of a $803,000 crowdfunding campaign, is currently using it to determine if they’ll accept Bitcoin payments on their site.