Announcing the App.net Developer Incentive Program

Update: We announced a few changes to the Developer Incentive Program on March 1, 2013.

Two important properties of a successful software platform are:

  1. A financially sustainable business model that can support both the platform and 3rd-party developers.
  2. Aligned financial incentives between the platform, users and developers.

History shows us that when these two properties are absent from a developer ecosystem, Bad Things can happen. It is because of these fundamental beliefs about what makes a social platform successful and sustainable that App.net was created.

We envision a developer ecosystem that supports a wide variety of applications, applications which look very different than alpha.app.net. For example, we expect to see App.net-enabled games (a simple chess app has already been created), group messaging, collaboration, and frankly things that we haven’t thought of.

As part of turning our words and ideas into concrete action, I am pleased to announce the App.net Developer Incentive Program. The goal of this program is to financially reward the development of great App.net applications.

We have spent a lot of time thinking about how to create a system that actually incents the creation of innovative, imaginative, and useful apps. This is easier said than done. For example, we can’t simply count the number of posts generated by an application because that wouldn’t accurately reflect how much value an App.net member feels they receive from the app. With this in mind, we are implementing a system that is driven by direct feedback from members.

How members will interact with the system

Once a month App.net members will receive an email asking them to give feedback on the App.net apps they have used that month. App.net will use some basic algorithms to put in “presets” as a proxy for how useful that particular app may have been to you. The member will then be free to move the sliders in any configuration that they wish. Once the ratings are finished, the member will submit the results which will be added into the Developer Incentive system and used to generate a “score” for each app.

Developer Incentive Program Details

  • We will be disbursing at least $20,000 per month among eligible App.net developers. This program will commence on October 1.
  • The monthly dollar amount will be allocated to participating developers based on their “scores” in relation to the total score among participating developers.
  • Developers must apply and be accepted into the Incentive Program if they wish to participate. App.net will need to collect some additional information including tax and payment information before the developer will become eligible.
  • This program is entirely optional, and developers should feel no pressure to participate if they are unable or uninterested in doing so.
  • Developers are free to monetize their applications through their own mechanisms; this program should be thought of as a “bonus” for building software that App.net members use and love.
  • It is important that users do not feel pressured, bullied, or guilted into providing feedback. Therefore, developers who attempt to influence the Incentive Program by directly soliciting votes from their users will be suspended from the program.

This is our first iteration of this program, and we expect to learn a lot during the process. We can commit to running this experiment and updating it as we learn over time. There is a very good chance we will make mistakes in our first implementations of this program, but we will do our best to keep it aligned with the interests of both developers and members. If we find that this program is successful in incentivizing great apps that App.net members love, we intend to continue to increase the monthly dollar amount as our userbase grows.

Attributes of a great App.net app

Rather than having a large number of “one-size-fits all” apps, we want to encourage developers to think about new and customized experiences across a wide variety of categories.

A great app will be inventive, simple to use, focused, opinionated, and, above all, built with the needs of users in mind. We’ve already seen a number of apps developed for the platform that are very impressive, and we look forward to seeing many more.

Thanks,

Dalton Caldwell
App.net Founder/CEO

Friday update: Crosspost and some new apps

Crosspost

We recently rolled out crossposts as a core annotation to the App.net API.  Developers can now allow their users to specify the original source of a post that was created somewhere else on the web and posted to App.net.  We think this will help add context to users’ posts while giving credit to the original source of the material. You will know if it’s a crosspost when you see the little criss-crossed arrow icon in the bottom left corner of a post.

New App.net clients 

Two more mobile App.net clients, one iOS and one Android, are now available for download.

  • Spoonbill for App.net - “Spoonbill is an App.net client for iPhone and iPod touch. With an unique and beautiful interface, Spoonbill is optimized for your reading pleasure.” Created by @prasad
  • Dabr for App.net (Beta) – “Dabr is the fastest way to access App.net on your Android device!  It’s also PINK!  Don’t worry, you can change the colours ;-)”  Created by @edent

As always, we want your feedback.  If you have any questions or suggestions, contact us because we want to hear what you have to say.

Feature update: Repost and follower notifications

We’re happy to announce that ‘repost’ is now a native feature on Alpha as well as in the API.  Clicking the little inter-locking arrows icon on the right side of someone else’s post will automatically share that post on your profile for your followers to see. Gone are the days of using copy & paste to reverberate an interesting post.

Oh, and we also made the ‘Star’ bigger and, thus, easier to love a post.

Another feature we’ve added to App.net is follower notifications.  You will now receive periodic email notifications alerting you that another awesome ADN user wants to know what you have to say.  You can edit your notification settings on your ‘My Settings’ page.

We will continue to keep you updated on new features as they come out.  If you have any questions or comments please contact us.

More App.net tools: Keep ‘em coming

                         

Last week we updated you on the first native mobile App.net clients that were released into the wild as well as a few cool tools built to improve your App.net experience.  There have been a few more released in the last week, so we wanted to make sure you were in the know.

Native App.net Clients:

  • Adian - A super-fast fully-featured native iOS client with push notifications. Created by @jazzychad
  • Appeio -  Both a web and iOS client with real-time updates for desktops, tablets and smartphones.  Created by @harold
  • Frapp – A free, open-source Android client.  Created by @tomlee

Existing native apps that have added App.net support:

  • Buffer – For iOS and Android. Share posts from anywhere on the web to App.net and other social networks.
  • Pocket - For iOS and Android.  A save-for-later service that lets you share articles, images, and video to a number of services, including App.net.
  • Pushr – For iOS.  Allows users to share comments, pictures, and videos across all their favorite social services at the push of a button.

These are just a few of the many tools currently live and/or being built on App.net.  Check out the full directory of tools on GitHub and let us know what your favorites are.

Quick update: Stars and Settings

We just wanted to quickly update you all on a few features we’ve added to App.net.

*Stars* - You can now “Star” posts by clicking on the star icon in the upper right-hand corner of a post.  Star a post to show support or just catalog it for future reference. Clicking into a post will display the number of stars it has received, as well as profile pics for the users who starred it. Profile pages now show the number of posts a user has starred, which can be clicked on to reveal the full list.

User Settings - As some of you know firsthand we’ve been doing username and email address changes manually per email request.  Well now you can make those changes yourself at alpha.app.net/settings/.  Use your username change wisely, you only get one shot!

We will soon be adding the ability to upgrade and downgrade your account between the Member and Developer tiers as well as updating your billing information.

Be on the lookout for more new stuff from App.net in the coming weeks and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

New tools for App.net users

In the very short time since we’ve opened up our API to developers we’ve seen an amazing amount of development and innovation come from the growing community of coders excited about this new platform.

As we mentioned in the last post, you can check out the full list of App.net clients in development on GitHubHooha and AppNet Rhino, the first clients made available in app stores, were recently released on Google Play for Android and the App Store for iOS, respectively.

Here is a little closer look at some of the other cool things that were/are being built by the App.net developer community to help users find friends, manage their networks and use our data in interesting ways:

IFTTT App.net Channel - IFTTT is an automation platform that let’s you piece together multiple web services to perform desired actions.  They recently created an App.net channel with “recipes” to let you trigger actions on App.net.  Receive an email when you get a new follower, a push notification when you get mentioned or save all your posts to Evernote.

AppDotNet Culture – an unofficial community blog that curates interesting stuff posted on App.net or as their about section reads: “An exploration in the new and vibrant read/write culture on App.net.  First posts, habits and lingo”.

AppLedger – created by two enthusiastic App.net users who wanted to “build a website, a resource so to speak, that allows any App.net user to find the information they need on the latest and greatest Apps.”  So far just an early review for Jive (now called Hooha) but we look forward to more reviews to come.

Phuu – Find your Twitter friends who’ve joined App.net with the same username. Many App.net users have claimed the same username that they have on Twitter and this is an easy way to follow those same people on App.net.

Appnetizens – Search App.net based on keywords in their bio, username and even posts with specific content.  There are even some analytics on 3rd party client usage and and overall posting activity.

Appnetstats – A slick dashboard that shows metrics such as post rates, average message length, top hastags and a breakdown of the type of clients used to post to App.net.

Poster.ly – Allows you to post to your App.net, Facebook and Twitter accounts simultaneously with a single post.  Easy to use and does what it says.

These are just a few of the great things being built by our developer community and we’re sure there are many more.  Let us know if there is a tool out there that you love using with App.net.