is shutting down

In May of 2014, entered maintenance mode. At that time we made the difficult decision to put into autopilot mode in an effort to preserve funds and to give it ample time to bake. Since then every dollar has charged has gone towards paying for the hosting and services needed to keep the site running. Unfortunately, revenue has consistently diminished over the past 2+ years, and we have been unable to return the service to active development.

We will be shutting down the service on March 14, 2017. We are immediately turning off new signups and any pending subscription renewals. We are also going to open-source the code behind on our GitHub page. You will have until the shutdown date to export your data. At that time, all user data will be deleted.

Ultimately, we failed to overcome the chicken-and-egg issue between application developers and user adoption of those applications. We envisioned a pool of differentiated, fast-growing third-party applications would sustain the numbers needed to make the business work. Our initial developer adoption exceeded expectations, but that initial excitement didn’t ultimately translate into a big enough pool of customers for those developers. This was a foreseeable risk, but one we felt was worth taking.

A sincere thanks to the folks that supported and built

— Dalton & Bryan State of the Union

As many are aware, the first major round of subscription renewals from the original launch happened a few weeks ago. We have been anxiously anticipating what our subscription renewal rate would be in order to do budgetary planning. Since we have not been sure what to expect the renewal rate to be, we mentally prepared ourselves for a wide variety of outcomes.

The good news is that the renewal rate was high enough for to be profitable and self-sustaining on a forward basis. Operational and hosting costs are sufficiently covered by revenue for us to feel confident in the continued viability of the service. No one should notice any change in the way the API/service operates. To repeat, will continue to operate normally on an indefinite basis.

The bad news is that the renewal rate was not high enough for us to have sufficient budget for full-time employees. After carefully considering a few different options, we are making the difficult decision to no longer employ any salaried employees, including founders. Dalton and Bryan will continue to be responsible for the operation of, but no longer as employees. Additionally, as part of our efforts to ensure is generating positive cash flow, we are winding down the Developer Incentive Program. We will be reaching out to developers currently enrolled in the program with more information. will continue to employ contractors for help with support and operations. In addition to operational and support help, we will also be utilizing contract help for specific new development projects. was envisioned from the beginning as a service that could be sustainable, something intended to operate on a longer timescale than a typical online service. It is often the case that services that are important to people can get caught on the wrong side of a boom-and-bust cycle, which is something we explicitly wanted to avoid.

We will be open sourcing a larger and larger percentage of the codebase. We would love to get community contributions and improvements. Today we are launching a new open source page at The first new piece of software we are open sourcing is our microblogging web application, Alpha. The source code to Alpha is available here.

The continued support and interest of the community is vital the continued health and wellbeing of the platform. Depending on the revenue that makes, we are open to increasing or decreasing the budget we can allocate towards additional development. If revenue rates start to tilt upward we would be excited to budget additional development resources. In any event, our intention is to have the service continue to operate for as long as there are customers willing to support it.

We continue to believe in the usefulness of a sustainable social platform where users and developers are customers, and not the product being sold to advertisers. If this were a company without a clear business model, would have disappeared long ago. The market conditions that were the driving force behind’s creation have not changed, if anything, there is more of a role for a social platform like it. We would like to thank the developer and member community for taking from just an idea two years ago to a fully realized service today. Needless to say, it’s been humbling for all of us on the team to have the support of so many amazing people.

Dalton Caldwell and Bryan Berg, co-founders

Announcing Broadcast

broadcast-pressIt’s a noisy world out there. Important news posted to social networks is only seen by a small percentage of the folks who want to receive it. It’s an unfortunate situation for both publishers and subscribers.

Push notifications are a powerful tool for sending and receiving important messages, but the high costs of developing and distributing an application make it beyond the reach of most.

That’s why we are releasing a new feature: Broadcast. Broadcast makes it easy for anyone to publish and subscribe to push notification “Broadcast Channels” for free.

What is a “Broadcast”?

2013-11-12 17.11.49

A Broadcast is a new type of message that is always received as a push notification. A user only receives a Broadcast when they have explicitly subscribed to a Broadcast Channel. No “promoted content”, no black box algorithms, just a simple way to subscribe to valuable information that might otherwise get missed in a busy feed or overloaded inbox.

A Broadcast is more expressive than just a simple push notification: when a subscriber opens a Broadcast, they will see content that is determined by the publisher. Broadcasts can be composed with a photo, an animated GIF, additional text/links, geographic information, as well as a “Read More” link that takes the user to a URL of the publisher’s choosing.

Subscribing to Broadcasts is not the same as following a feed. A publisher first needs to create a new Broadcast Channel (a single account can create multiple Channels). Once the Broadcast Channel is created, the publisher can share it with their audience, as well as embed a subscribe button anywhere on the web. Anyone who wants to subscribe will receive real-time push notifications each time the publisher sends a Broadcast.

A good Broadcast Channel will send at most 1-2 Broadcasts per day, and most likely even fewer. A successful Broadcast publisher will only publish the most important and high value messages to their subscribers. Just like an email list, subscribers can easily unsubscribe and will have a very low tolerance for noise. Hooking up a high volume RSS feed, or replicating the same content from a Twitter or Facebook page is far too noisy for anyone to want to receive in the form of push notifications.

Who is Broadcast good for?

  • Bands letting fans know about tickets on sale, album releases, surprise shows, etc.2013-11-12 17.05.35
  • Public safety messages, severe weather, etc.
  • Podcasters letting their audience know when they are recording live, and when new episodes are available
  • Internet publishers who publish on a low-volume, sporadic schedule. For instance internet comics, part-time bloggers, analysts, etc.
  • App developers letting folks know when new versions are released (which may be missed due to new auto-update features)
  • Anyone running a crowdfunding or grassroots campaign who needs a realtime way to mobilize their supporters
  • Companies running mission critical services that want to let folks know about scheduled or unscheduled downtime
  • Coordinating a large group of people for parties, meetups, festivals, conferences. Imagine if you had a last minute change of schedule or venue; you’d want to make sure people on their way don’t miss the message.

The advantage of Broadcast is that the publisher knows their subscribers will see their message as a push notification and can take action in real time.

How do I use Broadcast?

There are several ways to publish Broadcasts:

To receive Broadcasts, a subscriber needs only to download the free app for iOS or Android.

There is a directory of Broadcast Channels available. This is meant to aid in discovery and give subscribers an idea of how frequently each Channel sends Broadcasts.  Subscribe and unsubscribe will always be one simple tap, so that you are never stuck receiving push notifications you no longer want to see.

Broadcast and the goals of

broadcast-icon-largeAt the heart of our company values is the principle that that our users are our customers, and everything we do must put them first. With Broadcast, users are completely in control: a person will receive exactly what they subscribed to, no more and no less. is functioning as the “pipes” connecting publishers with subscribers.

In terms of business model, all of the Broadcast features released today are free and will remain that way. Our goal is for the benefits of Broadcast to be available to everyone. We plan on offering additional Broadcast features for paid accounts, including advanced analytics and publishing tools.

We look forward to the developer ecosystem integrating Broadcast features into existing and new apps. Broadcast is a great example of a novel experience created with the platform, as well as a crisp and simple reason for the average person to want an account.

The team has enjoyed creating and testing out Broadcast, and we hope you enjoy it too!


We are just getting started

cakeIt’s now the one year anniversary of Over the past year we have been making a transition from getting the basics of a social API up and running to supporting a vibrant community of 3rd party applications. So far, so good.

We are proud of the progress that we have made thus far, but we are just scratching the surface of our goals for the platform. In year two, as our focus expands from simply trying to deliver basic “1.0″ versions of our API, our overall mission remains the same: building a social platform with better aligned incentives with both users and developers.

A few highlights from the past year:

Looking forward

As part of this expansion in scope, and in light of overall progress we have made, we have raised ~$2.5MM of additional capital. The money has come from our existing investors, who have been partners in the business from the beginning. We raised money under good terms, from people that we trust, and that have been on our team from the very beginning.

Why did we choose to raise this money? We are just starting to realize the potential of what can be, and we want our developer and member community to be confident that is on strong financial ground and here to stay. This financing gives us an additional cushion and resources to manage and support the infrastructure and staff that run Our team, including our investors, are 100% committed to’s services-based business model where our customers are our users, not advertisers.

A small preview of what’s to come:

  • Continue to build a strong foundation what we do best. For developers, we will continue to ship new APIs and broaden our social graph to provide you the best tools for innovation; for users, we will make it easier to create an account, find your friends, and discover new apps. The potential kinds of apps that can be built are just beginning to be realized, so expect to see new interesting apps and more users having novel interactions and experiences.
  • Expect updates to Passport for iOS with some often-requested features and the first release of Passport for Android.
  • As we quietly announced a few days ago, we’re responding to feedback on the Messages API and raising the character limit for PMs and Patter rooms from 256 to 2048.
  • We’ll be expanding the reach of the search API by allowing more things to be searched, like PMs, chats and files.
  • We will support developers as they build apps for iOS 7 and Patter, integrate with Ohai, and release the first game.
  • And of course, we’ve got some exciting new APIs and lots of enhancements to our existing APIs on the way.



Response to Brennan Novak, part II

On August 10, 2012, I published a blogpost entitled “A response to Brennan Novak”. In that post, I stated that would support a number of interoperable web technologies.

As the one-year anniversary of my blogpost approaches, I’d like to highlight how supports those technologies.

Line-by-line discussion of what was promised:

  • “ Atom & JSON feeds, as well as RSS feeds, of public posts for individual users, hashtags, etc.”

RSS feeds for public posts on user accounts & hashtags have been available for quite some time. support for JSON feeds was just released. This is what the output looks like. Our webfinger API returns a link to the appropriate Activitystream. (In the year that has passed it appears that community support for Atom activity streams has waned).

  • “Pubsubhubbub (PuSH) support (as a publisher, initially)”

You can view our PuSH publishing support in action here.

Consumption of PuSH was natively supported once we launched PourOver, an open source syndication tool.

  • “Exposing user identities with Webfinger”

Webfinger support was just added. Here is an example of Webfinger in action.

  • “Commitment to coordinate between internal and external parties to create and support open-source ‘lightweight’ clients in as many flavors as we can, ala Stripe”

There are open source libraries available in a wide variety of languages, for example: Objective-CJavaScriptScalaPython, Ruby, Erlang, GoPHP, Clojure. There are several more open source libraries available, this is just a sample.

  • “Commit to enabling and supporting users in building inbound and outbound syndication to and from”

3rd-party syndication apps such as IFTTT, Buffer, Zapier, Twitterfeed and more have been available and working for quite some time. Additionally, we have built and open sourced the aforementioned first-party syndication tool, PourOver.

I am happy to say that we now have fully supported all of the promised technologies. We have also added a few additional standards that were not mentioned in the original blogpost:

Looking Forward

We are looking forward to seeing developer adoption of these technologies.

Also, we believe that the work we have done on PourOver so far will be beneficial on a long-term basis. For example, if a new syndication format is released in the future, PourOver can be modified by us or the community to consume the new format without much difficulty. The fact PourOver is open source, is real-time (because it natively consumes PuSH), and can process a wide variety of inbound formats makes it quite a useful building block for future development.


-Dalton Caldwell


PourOver for is now available

Hello Daring Fireball readers! If you don’t yet have an account, use this link to create a free account which will follow @DaringFireball


By popular demand, the team has been working on a new syndication tool called PourOver.


Why would I want to use PourOver?

PourOver makes it dead simple to publish an RSS feed to an account.

Once you authorize PourOver, simply paste in your RSS URL, preview what your posts will look like, then click “Save Feed.” That’s all there is to it.


PourOver Features:

  • PuSH support: if your RSS feed has Pubsubhubbub support, PourOver will update your feed in realtime.
  • Link entity support: PourOver will publish your feed using link entities.
  • Flow control: PourOver has built-in flow control. The default setting is one post every minute.
  • Open source: Feel free to see how PourOver works, submit a pull request, or run it on your own. The source to PourOver is available on Github.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.03.58 PM Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.03.42 PM

If you know someone who hasn’t had a chance to setup an account for their blog, you should let them know about PourOver. They can be up and running in moments.


The Team

Improvements to the invitation system

Over the past few months, the team at has been working hard on improving our out-of-the box experience. As part of that effort, we’d like to highlight some new features that are now generally available.

Changes to the invitation system

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.09.03 PMAll accounts now have access to invitations. Each account has a unique invitation code that can be shared via email, sms, etc. If someone signs up via your invitation code they will automatically follow the account that invited them. You may access your unique invitation code here.

Changes to follow buttons

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.36.45 PMA few weeks ago, we released follow buttons. Starting now, if someone clicks on a follow button, and they are not already logged in to, the person will be brought to a signup or login screen. If the person chooses to signup after clicking on your follow button it is effectively the same as if he/she clicked on your invitation link (i.e. automatic follow of the inviting account). This is an added benefit to using follow buttons, which are available here.

Improved login/signup tools for developers

There are a number of interesting usecases that developers have wanted to build which have been limited by the friction involved in creating an account. For iOS developers we have shipped Passport, which makes it far easier for new users to quickly create an account from a 3rd party iOS application.

For web developers, we have made changes to the way oAuth flow works. To illustrate these changes, let’s talk about a hypothetical application, “Banana Stand”:

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.12.13 AM

  • A person named Michael goes to the Banana Stand website, and wants to try this amazing new product out. So, Michael clicks the “Authorize with” button.
  • Michael now sees a Signup or Login screen. If Michael already has an account he may click Login, and will see the standard oAuth permissions screen for Banana Stand.
  • If Michael does not already have an account he is able to signup for a free-tier account, right on the initial authorize page. Michael will then complete the process for creating a standard free-tier account. On the last step, Michael is shown the normal oAuth screen for Banana Stand. Once Michael clicks “Accept” he is automatically redirected back into the Banana Stand application. That was easy.

The benefit of this approach is that the developer of Banana Stand does not have to worry about potential users of her application either not knowing how/where to create an account, or getting distracted or confused about what to do after creating a new account.

Interested developers should take a look at our new Web Flow Integration Guide for more information about this new functionality.


Dalton & The Team