Paid-for micro-blogging platform App.net is going open source

Would-be Twitter rival App.net today shed some light on its first major round of subscription renewals, and the outlook isn’t so good. The “state of the union” starts off on a positive note, revealing that App.net has tallied enough renewals for the service “to be profitable and self-sustaining.” Operating and hosting costs are covered, and co-founders Dalton Caldwell and Bryan Berg claim that App.net will “continue to operate normally on an indefinite basis.”

Paid-for micro-blogging platform App.net is shifting to open source after subscriptions raised less revenue than expected. App.net is similar to Twitter: it lets users post short messages of 256 characters, but it’s also a development platform for social apps. The site doesn’t offer advertising to pull in revenue. While there’s now a free tier – with limits to the number of people you can follow and 500MB of storage – full membership costs $36 a year, including 10GB of file storage, or $100 annually for a developer account. The company said it had seen its first major round of subscription renewals a few weeks ago, and reported good news and bad news. The renewal rate is enough to make App.net “profitable and self-sustaining”, with hosting and other operational costs covered. However, there’s not enough money coming in to pay for full-time employees.

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