Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Are App.net's Crowdfunders Being Taken For a Ride?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the money-for-nothing dept.

Open Source 95

snydeq writes "At least 10,000 people believe in App.net's vision of a messaging platform for Web apps — but it's unclear whether those people will be peers or sharecroppers, writes Simon Phipps. 'Last week App.net reached the milestone of 10,000 users who signed up for a new — mostly yet to be written — social network that looks like an early reimplementation of Twitter. Signing up people to claim user names on an (not vaporware) alpha Web service may not seem surprising or novel, but this time there's a difference: Everyone who signed up for App.net paid $50 for the privilege,' Phipps writes. 'App.net has used the crowdfunding approach, but it's not the same kind of project. While superficially similar — there's an offer of immediate use of its Twitter-clone service and reservation of the user ID of your choice — it's much more speculative. It's crowdsourcing the seed capital for a new venture, crowdsourcing the design, crowdsourcing the testing, and crowdsourcing most of the software that interacts with the venture, all without actually giving anyone but the founder a true stake in the outcome.'"

cancel ×

95 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Can someone.... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209557)

tell me how this is any different from xmpp+chatrooms+db+php rss feeds?

Because that's all it would take to create one of these.

But maybe I'm underthinking it or something.

Re:Can someone.... (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41209703)

tell me how this is any different from xmpp+chatrooms+db+php rss feeds?

It wouldn't be.

In any case, with kickstarters concepts, you don't usually just invest in the idea. You invest in the people first and foremost. For instance, if the creator of a previous online service I had been using and I actually liked, were to start a kickstarters' project, and if his idea was decent (not great, but decent enough), I might chip in $50, even if the project went no where.

That being said, I don't know the guy. I've never used his previous project before, so I'm just going to watch from the sidelines. I wish him luck. If nothing else, this kickstarters project should be viewed as a meaningful petition that many Twitter addicts (and third party developers) are starting to get fed up with the service.

Re:Can someone.... (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41209843)

because they proclaimed "but we're not twitter!"

the reality is: there's zero guarantee they'll stand up to the government, something twitter actually does.

So it sounds great, but it'd be a gigantic loss to freedom worldwide if people pick app.net over twitter at the moment. Guarantee that app.net can't afford lawyers like twitter.

Re:Can someone.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210435)

Decentralization is the only answer to governments. We need a new "SMTP". Well, the SMTP we had before everyone switched to Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, blacklists, sender keys and other awful patches to its shortcomings etc.

Re:Can someone.... (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41211329)

the reality is: there's zero guarantee they'll stand up to the government, something twitter actually does.

Yeah, and how long is this going to last?

Twitter has only proven that they could be bought with the NBC censorship debacle, going against their own terms of services. Now governments just need to invest millions of dollars in regular ad campaigns with Twitter and then threaten to pull out whenever they want something censored.

It was actually a pretty smart move on their part. By doing that, Twitter has shown that they can't be intimidated, but that at least they can be bought -- assuming the amount of money is high enough. Perhaps other online companies could learn a thing or two from Twitter. There is profit in not acquiescing to censorship requests right away. If they can't bully you to do something right away, they may pay you handsomely -- if you can hold out long enough until then.

Re:Can someone.... (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#41210087)

The service is meant for app developers. They are pitching in to get access to the API when it's written.

Re:Can someone.... (2)

dadioflex (854298) | about 2 years ago | (#41210885)

The service is meant for app developers. They are pitching in to get access to the API when it's written.

Sssshhh! You're going to confuse the angry mob with facts.

Re:Can someone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210423)

You forgot the parts "run a server capable of handling a million+ users" and "pay some guys to be stand-by 24/7". Their aim is to be central (like Twitter) but open to app devs (like the OLD Twitter.)

Personally I prefer to see something non-centralized. Google-Wave and Diaspora were better ideas, just much too ambitious and complex. Someone should create a de-centralized Twitter and let it slowly evolve rather than try to address features for the year 3000.

Re:Can someone.... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41211097)

the aim is to be central AND for pay.

in that context the early signuppers are just that.. early signuppers. they're not sharecroppers and were never meant to be.

however.. in the context of app.net the kickstarter is just a tax dodge.

Re:Can someone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41229019)

It's basically StatusNet. Except they're reinventing that particular wheel from scratch rather than just deploying the existing solution to some server hosting.

As usual (5, Informative)

zubiaur (1207636) | about 2 years ago | (#41209565)

There is an xkcd for that too http://xkcd.com/1060/ [xkcd.com]

Re:As usual (4, Informative)

jon3k (691256) | about 2 years ago | (#41210119)

The mouseovers on xkcd are my favorite part

Re:As usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210925)

Will somebody please mod this up? I didn't know there even were mouseovers.

Re:As usual (3, Insightful)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 2 years ago | (#41211007)

There is an xkcd for that too http://xkcd.com/543/ [xkcd.com]

An IPO before the IPO (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41209575)

More vulture capitalism at work. Eh.. no biggie.. I don't have to spend 50 bucks to be cool.

Completely Backwards (4, Insightful)

agizis (676060) | about 2 years ago | (#41209585)

You have it all backwards. The Kickstarter model gives an opportunity to get products built that *customers* want, and are willing to pay for, without having venture capitalist in the middle, funding everything and demanding their return. The backers' relationship to the project is that they are *paying customer*, which is less than being the owner of the company, but much, much more than just being a *user* of a free service like Twitter or Facebook.

Re:Completely Backwards (0)

White Shade (57215) | about 2 years ago | (#41210281)

The problem with that is that customers are often really stupid.

Venture capitalists are certainly not flawless, but in many cases I'd trust a visionary and some open minded backers to make good choices, rather than a bunch of "customers" who think they know what they want.

Re:Completely Backwards (1)

agizis (676060) | about 2 years ago | (#41212595)

Well, yes that's why Kickstarter works the way it does. It's not some crazy pure democracy thing, where each person gets to declare how their $50 is to be spent.

What happens, is the team posts its vision, along with a detailed list of what you get at each backing level. Potential backers can basically take it, leave it, or say what they really want. If enough people want something different, the team can add things to the project (but never remove them, because of course, someone else may have already backed for a particular feature). If not enough people back to get the minimum level, the project is cancelled, and the backers are not charged anything.

I'm really surprised at the hostility here to it... the best alternative we have to this is the facebook/twitter model: VC's fund it, it's free to use, and they don't give a damn what you think, ignore your feedback, and sell all of your information. This seems like a refreshing change of pace.

Re:Completely Backwards (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41213125)

I think anyone who donates $50 to a non-existent project has moved way beyond stupid and into the land of the delusional.

That's funny (-1, Offtopic)

MusicOS (2717681) | about 2 years ago | (#41209589)

I've had 10,000-20,000 and mine's not vapor ware. These are indirect downloads: http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/LoseThos/1183618683/1 [betanews.com] http://majorgeeks.com/LoseThos_d6176.html [majorgeeks.com] the CIA, my mental health doctor, the FBI or somebody is fooling me cause my emails are FBI. Win8 is the nail in the coffin. They deprived me of my chance. God will do justice, rest assured. God is just. Yer fucked.

Re:That's funny (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#41209933)

you need to take the pill for it to work my friend, dont mind the padding on the walls.....

Re:That's funny (1)

MusicOS (2717681) | about 2 years ago | (#41219093)

nigger

app.net is totally bogus (5, Funny)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#41209607)

Everyone should be signing up for this [ihave50dollars.com] new service.

Re:app.net is totally bogus (0)

MusicOS (2717681) | about 2 years ago | (#41209667)

I cannot offer a warranty. Not even linux supports 95%. Do you want to refund 1 in 20 sales? I'm forced to make money if it goes viral. CIA not thrilled. It's for a niche, anyway, not that big, even at best. Recreational programming. Could have had a modest living, like Linus.

Re:app.net is totally bogus (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41209775)

Complete sentences and context are your friends.

Re:app.net is totally bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210145)

He's the guy behind LoseThos. He has schizophrenia.

Re:app.net is totally bogus (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 2 years ago | (#41210069)

Posting to undo "+1, Insightful" mod - I thought your .sig was your comment ;-)

Why is this modded funny? (1)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 2 years ago | (#41210117)

So, I clicked through and found the initial presentation funny, but if you try to click on the Vimeo link and actually type in a "desired" user name, you are forwarded to a TedX talk by Lisa Kristine [ihave50dollars.com] , a photographer who has documented the existence of slavery in Nepal, Ghana, and India to name a few.

Kristine's message is quite compelling and worth a look on its own merits. I hope the +5 mod ends up getting the featured abolitionists, "Free the Slaves", the funds to free these inhumanely treated people.

well, duh! (4, Insightful)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41209673)

Kickstarter enables a style of capitalist parasitism that was previously only available to huge corporations to be scaled so that it's accessible to small-time scammers as well as the giant fraudsters:

Privatise the profit, socialise the risk and expense.

That's not all there is to kickstarter or to kickstarter projects but it's easy to see why it is attractive to such parasites - the crowd-funding model has most of the benefits of the stock market without the anti-scammer regulations and without having to give annoying outsiders (aka shareholders) a share in what they're funding.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Swistak (899225) | about 2 years ago | (#41209735)

Well if people are good/stupid enough to fund someone's company then why not take advantage of that? Kickstarter have been designed as a way to gather donations. If companies abuse system - it's only becouse users actually let them. When whole series of project fail miserably people will adjust their expectations.

Re:well, duh! (4, Insightful)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41210071)

Your attitude is exactly what is wrong with american business ethics.

'caveat emptor' is not a description of a legitimate business model, it's a fucking warning.

People who are stupid or ignorant or ill-informed or just plain conned by slick salesmen DO NOT DESERVE TO BE RIPPED OFF.

And those who do the ripping off are criminals who deserve jail time.

Also, aside from the criminality of ripping people off, even a staunch libertarian type should be able to see that deceptive exploitation of information asymmetry like this inevitably leads to a lemon market, which is bad for everyone: if you can't trust the market at all, the only rational option is to treat everyone as a scammer (and scam or be scammed) or not to play at all.

Re:well, duh! (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41210139)

People who are stupid or ignorant or ill-informed or just plain conned by slick salesmen DO NOT DESERVE TO BE RIPPED OFF.

You know whats stupid? The idea that you can prevent stupid people from doing stupid things by eliminating the stupid things instead of educating the stupid people.

Re:well, duh! (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41210729)

The six scariest words strung together are "There ought to be a law".

You cannot fix stupid. Some people are so stupid, they actually go looking for stuff like this because of laws that are supposed to prevent people getting ripped off. The problem is, they still are stupid, they still get ripped off, but now, they want the Government to fix their stupidity so they can do it all again next week.

Re:well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41211953)

If you take someones money for a product, and then don't deliver that product (or refund), ther eis already a law for it: it's called FRAUD

Are you saying FRAUD is ok?

I can lie to you about a product, take your money, and then tell you to go fuck yourself?

You're ok with that? Really?

You're right: there are some really stupid people in the world

Re:well, duh! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41212149)

Some laws are good. The ones that provide meaningful protection against fraud, for example. If you don't like laws, I suggest you just put all your shit in a pile and burn it now, because that's about how long you'd be able to own it if they were gone, not that you'd ever have had it to begin with.

Re:well, duh! (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41212373)

you're absolutely right, stupid is unfixable. no law is ever going to prevent stupidity, same as no law is ever going to prevent someone from being robbed or killed.

that's no reason to let criminal scum get away with their crimes.

laws don't prevent crime, they don't even deter crime. they do allow for punishment of offenders when they're caught.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41217479)

Why is, taking advantage of stupid people against the law. NOBODY is forcing stupid people to make stupid decisions, they are willing participants. People who invest in Pyramid Schemes are victims of themselves, and not the "con". Most Cons are based on the assumption that the Mark is stupid and greedy, and therefore "easy". I can promise nothing, while making wild and vague "potential earnings of up to 400%*" type of claims. And if you believe me, you should invest immediately ($10,000 Minimum).

Tell me, what "crime" have I made in making such a claim and asking for "investment"? I've promised nothing, guaranteed nothing. Except I have a flashy Powerpoint presentation of the whole process (again, not promising anything, making only vague claims) that you seem to enjoy! Oh, and I have Pen (tm)**!

*High Risk = High Reward!
** Trademark licensed from Bank of Nicoli (not really)

You cannot protect people from stupid. It just annoys the rest of us.

Re:well, duh! (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41233513)

Why is, taking advantage of stupid people against the law.

Because the kind of people who take advantage of the stupid are criminal scum who are a menace to everyone.

They're also destructive to society, the kind of people who turn places into cultural shitholes (where nobody sane would want to live) that might otherwise be kind of nice. america, for one really obvious example. americans can be nice people but they let their scum run the place, probably due to the non-stop propaganda about freedom that they don't have (and never will - it isn't for the likes of them, anyway - freedom's reserved for their ruling classes)

More importantly, if lowlife scamming vermin are caught and imprisoned on the small cons, that'll stop 'em before they have a chance to move up in the world and become bankers.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41234657)

Stupid People are everything you said criminal scum are. They are a menace to society, they are destructive, and turn places in to shitholes. So, in my world they deserve each other. ;) Which is why they should be left to themselves, and leave the rest of us alone!

Re:well, duh! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41213351)

The six scariest words strung together are "There ought to be a law".

You cannot fix stupid. Some people are so stupid, they actually go looking for stuff like this because of laws that are supposed to prevent people getting ripped off. The problem is, they still are stupid, they still get ripped off, but now, they want the Government to fix their stupidity so they can do it all again next week.

Yeah, let's get rid of all laws, teh Government is oppressing me by denying my entirely valid desire to rape and murder you. And, obviously, if you're the sort of person who gets raped and murdered you must be stupid, and therefore you deserve it.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41217507)

Yeah! Because you must be advocating the opposite, of More and More laws to the point of Tyranny! Yeah, arguing the extremes is easy!

Because Rape and Murder is exactly the same as protecting stupid people from their own choices. Exactly, right?

Re:well, duh! (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#41210753)

You know whats stupid? The idea that you can prevent stupid people from doing stupid things by eliminating the stupid things instead of educating the stupid people.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time ...

Re:well, duh! (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41212347)

you know what's even more stupid? letting conmen get away with their crimes because you think their victims deserve it.

people shouldn't have money if they don't want to get robbed, women should wear burqas if they don't want to get raped, pedestrians should stay home if they don't want to get killed by a drunk driver, and so on.

it's their own fault. they deserve it.

it's good to know we have such an upstanding citizen to let us know who the worthy and unworthy are.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41221479)

What the hell are you talking about?

Nothing you said was specific to stupid people doing stupid things. Given that fact, my guess is that you are stupid too.

Re:well, duh! (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#41210203)

Kickstarter projects have to tell you VERY clearly what you're getting for your money. Its right there next to the radio button you have to click when you decide what amount to contribute. So what is this BS about "slick salesmen" and "information asymmetry"?

Re:well, duh! (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41212399)

the possibility that the people/person behind the project may be lying springs to mind.

No, on second thoughts, you're right and i'm completely wrong, there's no such thing as a dishonest businessman....on an unrelated topic, would you like to help me get my bridge-buying company kick-started? for a $10 donation you get to walk on the bridge once. for $100 you get one of the paving stones engraved with your initials, or your full name for $1000.

Re:well, duh! (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about 2 years ago | (#41214091)

Kickstarter projects have to tell you VERY clearly what you're getting for your money. Its right there next to the radio button you have to click when you decide what amount to contribute. So what is this BS about "slick salesmen" and "information asymmetry"?

This kind of bullshit [escapistmagazine.com] . And this was only one of the ones that got caught.

Re:well, duh! (0)

MusicOS (2717681) | about 2 years ago | (#41209751)

My jobs have all be bogus red-team CIA jobs. It's rigged, at least for me.

Re:well, duh! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209845)

Wow! I guess that's one way of looking at it...

There absolutely is the possibility for a scammer crowd-funding returns on their scam – don't get me wrong. That is something everyone who uses them should be on the look out for. In general, they wouldn't lose much (relative to other scams), but with enough people giving a little, a scam could make a killing.

But you act like this type of scamming is a new thing – it is not crowd-funding which has enabled it. How many scam charities have you heard about, both on or off-line. I would hardly claim Kickstarter and the like have enabled this any more than the internet or even the phone itself has. At least these sites have a bit of protection through a third party, rather than directly giving someone your CC info over the phone or over some fake charity site.

As for “Privatise the profit, socialise the risk and expense” I can only speak for my own experience. I have relatively recently decided to take a stab at crowd-funding my own project, to see if anyone wants to help – because I have quickly realized it is NOT going to happen without. And I take a (albeit, small) bit of offense with that misspelled claim.

So far, I have turned down a solid promotion, actually quit my job, taken out personal loans, and burned through my savings in order to work on a project I passionately believe in. When it has all come down to it, though, I do not have the money I need to make it self sufficient before I will run out and need to beg for my job back. I'm sure my experience isn't alone. Crowd-funding is a potential path forward.

If that is not enough risk for you – there is always the risk that I will be taking by releasing the info of a project which would normally be top secret in order to provide people with the information they need to make a decision on whether or not they would like to help. So if it is not successful, then I'm back to work – saving for a project that I have already told the world about. Oh well – that's what I signed up for!

In short: You're wrong.

Re:well, duh! (1)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | about 2 years ago | (#41209867)

I posted anon as to not ruin the message of my comment with self promotion - but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't add my own reply with my sig. New site with actual info coming next week. :)

-Cheers

Re:well, duh! (-1, Offtopic)

MusicOS (2717681) | about 2 years ago | (#41209891)

I wroked drywall summers of 88 89. Ticketmaster office less than block from Drywall. Nice job. Xytec looked like a thrown-together building perfect for me--even image processing like I liked. Graphic technologies, totally CIA red team. Wanted me to crack the SHA so we could refill printer cartridges. Now, http://www.losethos.com/ [losethos.com] . unlikely I'm on the external Internet.

Re:well, duh! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41213405)

So far, I have turned down a solid promotion, actually quit my job, taken out personal loans, and burned through my savings in order to work on a project I passionately believe in.

No offense, but that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me.

Re:well, duh! (1)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | about 2 years ago | (#41219037)

So far, I have turned down a solid promotion, actually quit my job, taken out personal loans, and burned through my savings in order to work on a project I passionately believe in.

No offense, but that sounds pretty fucking stupid to me.

None taken! It's definitely not for everyone! But a few things pushed me to it:

1) I'm still pretty young and able to take the consequences of failing... and rebound, if it all came down to it.
2) I believe passionately in what I am doing - attempting to help people, rather than working 60h a week just to help the company that happens to pay me.
3) I could never have lived with myself if I didn't try.

I wouldn't say it is stupid - maybe naive. But, for me, I'd say it would be more stupid not to try.

Re:well, duh! (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41209879)

I am not sure what protection the stock market gives. The people who invested in facebook during the IPO has lost half their money. The people who capitalized facebook has made money. You could have invested in Microsoft back in 2008 and have lost money due to the stock decline or inflation. People invested in Enron, Worldcom, all under the so-called stock protection, and lost everything. Sure there are now more regulations, but that seem more there to protect CEOs then investors. The reality is that the stock market is not a magic money machine, and there are real risks. The elites has created this myth for the middle class, in the same way the lottery myth was created for the for those with only a dollar to invest, so that we can believe it is possible to live the american dream without working for it.

Kickstarter is a service that connects people with ideas with people who are willing to risk a little money. 50 dollars is a lottery ticket a week. The rewards are less than a lotter ticket, but so are the risks. If you give $20 and an album is made by your favorite artists, then you get an album. If not you lost twenty dollars, which is about the markup on a concert t-shirt and few seem to have problem throwing money away on that.

In this case some are choosing to spend $50 to buy a product as opposed to selling themselves to advertisers. I don't know why this makes people so upset? Because it disrupts the current corporate model of monetizing people? Because some people are so cheap that they value $50 more than themselves? Because some people are so risk adverse that all they can do is hide in their parents basements or living rooms? What gives?

Re:well, duh! (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 years ago | (#41210015)

Well, the stock market offers no protection if you believe hype and pay a lot more than something is worth. If I offer to sell you my 2000 corolla for $50k, and you say yes, then fraud laws will only protect you if I fail to deliver the car, not if you realize that you overpaid.

Facebook is also a bad example in that a controlling interest in the stock was not sold. That should probably be illegal for publicly traded stocks, but the stock market is fairly corrupt.

However, those who did buy Facebook stock do have an ownership stake in the company, and if they ever have a fire sale they'll at least get some portion of the proceeds from the office furniture.

For more traditional companies, stock is a real ownership stake in the company, with some degree of actual control over what happens.

All that said, the stock market is incredibly corrupt, so I can't really hold it up as some example of true capitalism.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#41216159)

> That should probably be illegal for publicly traded stocks

I don't see why, if this was made clear when it floated. It's not like anyone can say `wait, you mean I can't save up and buy Facebook in instalments, a few shares at a time?`.

Re:well, duh! (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 years ago | (#41234131)

I don't see why, if this was made clear when it floated.

It creates a situation where the average member of the public can get ripped off. What is to keep the board from issuing a dividend to only certain classes of shares, or agreeing to give Zuckerburg a $1B/yr salary or whatever? He can just put it up for a vote, and since he has a majority of the votes he approves it and all the other shareholders lose out.

Just making this clear when the stock is floated doesn't really help - that's why we have the SEC in the first place. It wasn't like all those investors in 1929 didn't know they could have lost everything. The problem is that the stock market is too important to the economy to be allowed to fail, and therefore it needs to be regulated. Unless you want to just ban public ownership of companies entirely you need to control how it can operate, since individuals don't really have any power to dictate how Facebook stock is issued.

Re:well, duh! (1)

mellyra (2676159) | about 2 years ago | (#41211089)

I am not sure what protection the stock market gives. The people who invested in facebook during the IPO has lost half their money. The people who capitalized facebook has made money. You could have invested in Microsoft back in 2008 and have lost money due to the stock decline or inflation. People invested in Enron, Worldcom, all under the so-called stock protection, and lost everything.

if you are not a commercial investor and invested into any stock directly you are just setting yourself up for failure and anyone with basic finance knowledge will tell you so.

Buy an index certificate, be prepared to hold it at least 15 years and have another 5 years during which you cash out (into bonds, bank deposits, ...) as the opportunity arises (and even then you can end up in a Japan-like situations and take home losses). But never buy single stocks and never invest into stocks when you may be forced to cash out on a tight deadline.

Re:well, duh! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41212145)

Kickstarter is better than the stock market because you see right up front what you get or don't get if you give them money. Sometimes you get something right away, which can be a powerful incentive to part with money. Sometimes you definitely get something later, which is not bad. Sometimes you might get something much later, which clearly puts such a Kickstarter investment into its own category. And sometimes, you just help fund something. I've done this once to the tune of five bucks. Didn't need to, will probably not do again. But sometimes people might want to do that.

Take you for a ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209709)

I Wanna Take You for a Ride
I Wanna Take You for a Ride
I Wanna Take You for a Ride

Great, now I'm gonna be thinking about MVC2 all day.

$50 is way too much. (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41209717)

I remember reading that a single member is worth about $1.21 in revenue to Facebook.

If Facebook thinks it can stay afloat with that kind of revenue, how can App.net justify such an outrageous price? Even if each member was worth ten times that to Facebook... how can App.net justify a $50 fee?

Re:$50 is way too much. (3, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#41209753)

Keep in mind their target member is an elite hispter doofus that is mad twitter sold out (aka got popular) and is willing to spend $50 a year so they can buy $200 worth of twitter clients for their $2,000 phone so they can tell @world they just took a #shit.

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 2 years ago | (#41213639)

I LOL'd. But I bought a developer account because I love Twitter but think they're in the long process of shooting their foot off with a BB gun. For example, they recently announced that it was going to be essentially impossible for third-party clients to distribute more than 100,000 copies. I hate - I mean, just plainly detest - their native clients and some of those third-party apps they're killing are wonderful. For those straggling apps that hang in there anyway, Twitter is enforcing a style guide that essentially forces them to look identical while simultaneously stating that they'll stop allowing apps that are too similar.

Basically, their ideal world is one where it's really easy for advertisers to bid for the right to push content into your stream of reading, and really difficult for you to avoid it because the only user interface left is the one they deign to let you use.

App.Net aims to invert that by charging just enough long-term to turn a profit while encouraging a broad third-party ecosystem. They're also far more developer friendly. Twitter has been talking about adding "annotations" (read: metadata attached to tweets) for ages and has announced that they might support them next year. The App.Net guys added them last week. Their example use case for that might be you post from a restaurant and invite your friends to join you. Your post's metadata - up to 8KB of JSON - contains the OpenTable ID of the place you're at. Your buddy decides to join you and taps the "make a reservation" button on his client. Maybe it includes the song you're listening to instead. Maybe the encapsulated, non-shortened URL that you're viewing. Who knows? But they plan to find out.

And all that is why I bought into App.Net. I love Twitter. I get value from it, even though people who aren't into it make fun of it. But Twitter's chosen a path I don't want to follow them down, and App.Net aims to pick up the slack and provide a service that prioritizes on the stuff I wish Twitter would have. I'd spend more than $50 on a video game, and I'll spend that much on a useful service I'll likely use many times every single day. It's work the risk to me.

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209765)

. how can App.net justify a $50 fee?

It's justified by people actually paying it.

An example of an unjustifiable price would be Kodak's asking price of $3 billion for their patents - and no one is biting. That's a sure sign of an unjustifiable price.

It used to be called "what the market will bear."

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41210291)

"It's justified by people actually paying it."

You make a good point. I probably should have asked, "How can App.net justify a $50 fee, other than just money-grubbing?"

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41211171)

The plan is to pay the developers of applications. See http://daltoncaldwell.com/3rd-party-rev-share [daltoncaldwell.com]

(Btw, I don't care for it, I've just been bombarded with news about it on HN).

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41210311)

Oops... answered a bit too soon.

It used to be called "what the market will bear."

Yes, and that in itself CAN be justification... but keep in mind that this is a startup without much of a real product yet. It's hard to apply old-school measures like "what the market will bear" over something that is still mostly speculative... considering what bald (and blind) speculation did to our economy twice in less than 10 years.

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41213469)

. how can App.net justify a $50 fee?

It's justified by people actually paying it.

An example of an unjustifiable price would be Kodak's asking price of $3 billion for their patents - and no one is biting. That's a sure sign of an unjustifiable price.

It used to be called "what the market will bear."

Which is fine if your only definition of truth or morality is based on the market.

Re:$50 is way too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209821)

with individual consumers it's all about price points, they don't make rational buying decisions

Re:$50 is way too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210977)

with individual consumers it's all about price points, they don't make rational buying decisions

Who are you to judge their decisions?

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

TheEffigy (2666397) | about 2 years ago | (#41210341)

10,000 people disagree with you.

Re:$50 is way too much. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41211215)

"10,000 people disagree with you."

Well, if you want to put it that way: approximately 6,973,728,433 people do not disagree with me.

Just like OSS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209801)

Last week App.net reached the milestone of 10,000 users who signed up for a new — mostly yet to be written — social network that looks like an early reimplementation of Twitter.
 
Once again we can see that OSS is riding the coattails of successful closed source software. And people thought Hollywood was full of unoriginal rip-off artists.

Dead simple: they are Sharecroppers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209877)

To be a Peer, one would have to be empowered with decentralized Libre platforms such as Diaspora*, Identi.ca, Crabgrass, etc
In those type of platforms you as a user/peer have the Freedom to do as you wish, enable as much privacy as you wish, develop the platform how you see fit, and to be without without ads if you wish.

App.net is a complete joke by contrast.

Short version of the company statement (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#41209955)

"We'd like everyone to give us $50. After that, we're pretty likely to spend all the money just before we crash and burn. If we should somehow survive, we'll be mowed down by facebook and twitter, and end up in a garbage can with google+.

But thanks for all the money! We'll have some good fun spending it!"

Wow! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41209969)

I bet Zuckerberg wishes he'd thought of that.

Re:Wow! (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 2 years ago | (#41210091)

I bet Zuckerberg wishes he'd thought of that.

Yeah, that guy's gotta be unhappy with his situation. Zuck's going to be kicking himself when Dalton Caldwell (who?) is raking in billions with his highly successful business plan.

After reading all this crap about app.net I'm still unsure exactly what they do/plan to do, but taking over the world by taking advantage of idiots doesn't seem to be a part of it, so I doubt Zuckerberg's interested. I mean, they may have the taking advantage of idiots part down, but what good is that if you're not taking over the world?

It's an interesting idea (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41210161)

The fundamental idea is that, unlike Twitter, app.net won't be beholden to advertisers because its users are paying for the service. It's a good idea in theory.

But the thing is - support costs are ongoing, not a one-time fee. So going forward either app.net will have to continually attract new users - and at a constantly accelerating rate - or else users will have to pay a subscription fee rather than a one-time fee. Maybe that is spelled out somewhere, but I couldn't find it.

Re:It's an interesting idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210171)

The price is currently $50 *per year*. So it is an ongoing fee.

Re:It's an interesting idea (1)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | about 2 years ago | (#41210217)

The fundamental idea is that, unlike Twitter, app.net won't be beholden to advertisers because its users are paying for the service. It's a good idea in theory.

But the thing is - support costs are ongoing, not a one-time fee. So going forward either app.net will have to continually attract new users - and at a constantly accelerating rate - or else users will have to pay a subscription fee rather than a one-time fee. Maybe that is spelled out somewhere, but I couldn't find it.

The users are paying for a year subscription, so they have that covered. But I still think they are going to have to continually attract new users... otherwise the base group are going to just stop paying.

Re:It's an interesting idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210553)

Also, I don't think that $500,000 is going to be nearly enough to sustain all the hardware, software, developer and admin salaries it will take to run this thing for a year. Even if they took lower salaries, there aren't any actual investors in the company right? How do they plan to grow when they have a base unit of cash one person hands over for the promise of a year of service? Should be interesting to see if they can pull it off.

Re:It's an interesting idea (1)

SQL Error (16383) | about 2 years ago | (#41210807)

For 10k users? Piece of cake. One good programmer with some sysadmin experience, one business person, a nice redundant set of dedicated servers (say $5K/month), and you're set. Add another developer and a designer on contract for the first six months to get you up and running, and keep them if the business is successful.

You won't get rich, but if you can keep the user base, you'll have a comfortable little business. (Keeping the user base is obviously the hard part.)

The difficulties with a Twitter-like service come from scaling. A naive implementation off a system like Twitter leaves you with an O(N^2) workload, and you will die. There are lots of subtle tricks to making such a system work on a large scale, but for 10k or 20k users brute force is sufficient. The danger is that if you are successful you might grow yourself to death, as Twitter nearly did, but at $50/year that's probably not so much of an issue.

Taken yes, but not unknowingly (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#41210249)

I suspect App.net's going to crash and take all the money with it. Bluntly put, there's just not enough value in it for the end-users. There's a small core willing to pony up, but the value of something like this comes from having large numbers of people signed up and many of the people each potential user knows are on the network or are thinking about getting on. With only that small core, there's not enough people already on to make most people think it's worth setting up Yet Another Online Account and shelling out even a small amount of money per month. If App.net's lucky it'll stay below the threshold where the subscriptions are enough to pay for costs. If it's not, it'll push itself just high enough that it can't cover the bills but not high enough to start getting real economies of scale and it'll have to shut down.

Being subscription, the other path to size isn't open to it. On Twitter it's feasible to buy yourself a large audience, which makes it look attractive to everyone who wants a large audience. That hooks people in. On a subscription service you can't create large numbers of pseudo-users without bankrupting yourself in the process. That makes it harder to create even the appearance of popularity to hook people in. Note that it doesn't have to be the service itself doing this, it just has to happen. And of course being a subscription service it's not going to be attractive to the money that doesn't care about the service so much as access to all the data about the end-users. Ad-supported services it's easy to justify misuse of private data, but a subscription service where there's an explicit agreement with the end users opens up too many liability issues for their comfort.

So yeah, App.net may be a good idea but I think it's going to end up just kind of fading away.

The value is ! Twitter, ! Facebook, own data (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41210763)

Bluntly put, there's just not enough value in it for the end-users.

The value is that Facebook is someone we do not want to stream all our data through, nor Google.

The value is that it is not Twitter, which is attempting a rapid self-implosion by rapidly killing any desire for outside use of the Twitter API for anything except voyeurism. Twitter forgot all the value THEY had was in people generate content within Twitter, that was the stupidest aspect to mess with.

The value is in having something like twitter for informal thought-following between friends and other relationships, only with a guarantee that any client can add new content into the network and any client can read it - along with the concept that you really are the master of the data you present there.

There's a small core willing to pony up, but the value of something like this comes from having large numbers of people signed up and many of the people each potential user knows are on the network or are thinking about getting on.

All there needs to be is a kernel of enough size that within that group there are people willing to follow other people.

If enough really popular people blip out of twitter with the announcement they are headed to app.net, then there could be a sizable initial expansion beyond those mere initial 10k users.

Being subscription, the other path to size isn't open to it. On Twitter it's feasible to buy yourself a large audience

And that's a NEGATIVE for App.net? On Twitter I do not follow anyone who would care about audience size. Those people exist, sure, but they are sycophants that would tag along to any system that people are watching because they go where the viewers go to seek popularity. More on that in a bit.

That makes it harder to create even the appearance of popularity to hook people in. Note that it doesn't have to be the service itself doing this, it just has to happen.

I submit that's not right, that the reason Twitter grew is not because people went there to be popular, but went there to have a back-channel to issue thoughts they really didn't care if anyone read, but thought at least friends would.

Some found popularity there and later yes, people went there to "be popular". But since it was not the reason for Twitter's success it need not be a requirement for app.net to succeed.

So yeah, App.net may be a good idea but I think it's going to end up just kind of fading away.

I don't think so. The core group seems to have a very high will to make this work; the initial backers equally determined. The only way I see it failing is epic levels of failure to build out a platform.

While that is not impossible, it's a far cry from the idea being so unsound the thing will fold in on itself.

One last thing you overlook is... you only have to buy in to add content. Right now Twitter counts are all raw, but LOTS of people sign up to Twitter only to follow, never to post... there is no cost for those people to also follow interesting App.net people (although admittedly here I am guessing at how the system will function, but you can see twitter traffic without logging in so I do not see why the same would not be true of app.net).

Re:Taken yes, but not unknowingly (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41213511)

I suspect App.net's going to crash and take all the money with it.

Oh no, I'm sure they'll pay everyone their $50 back if that happens.

* collapes on floor laughing hysterically *

They're consenting adults (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | about 2 years ago | (#41210283)

People just like spending money on worthless crap like this. It gives them a warm glow. I doubt $50 is going to break anyone so just let them learn the hard way.

ta3o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210529)

won't vOte i"n

so... (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#41211179)

It's crowdsourcing the seed capital for a new venture, crowdsourcing the design, crowdsourcing the testing, and crowdsourcing most of the software that interacts with the venture, all without actually giving anyone but the founder a true stake in the outcome.'"

So, in other words, it's brilliant.

We are witnesses to a retro dot-com boom, doesn't anyone notice? For the second time, Internet geeks are taking the business world for a ride. Ticket price: A couple billion bucks. There's a number of startups out there with completely insane ideas that get millions in VC funding. The Facebook IPO took heaps of money from the dumb "investors" who jump on every hype, it's not as wild as the early 2000s, but it's the same recipe.

Now if only I were ruthless enough to pitch a bullshit business plan to a room full of idiots with money. :-(

Re:so... (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41213783)

We are witnesses to a retro dot-com boom, doesn't anyone notice?

It is like patents. Just because it has the word Internet does mean it is something new or something we have not seen before.
Even the dot-com boom is a variations on Tulip Mania [wikipedia.org] which happened in 1637.
Happened before, it will happen again.

Crowd Funding Freedom (1)

zotz (3951) | about 2 years ago | (#41212309)

Crowd Funding Freedom
http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2012/08/crowdfundingfreedom.html [blogspot.com]

Perhaps the funding folk need to read and think.

all the best,

drew
with a little blatant self promotion.
on topic though.

Kickstarter with dividends? (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | about 2 years ago | (#41213127)

Does anyone know, is there a Kickstarter like service that provides you a percentile return on your investment depending on the success of the project, instead of just a t-shirt? If there is not I might have to start such a service of course using Kickstarter to source funds.

Re:Kickstarter with dividends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41213585)

That isn't legal yet or perhaps only in the past few week has become so, I haven't done the research myself.
ref: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/crowdfunding-isnt-legal-y_n_1634060.html

Re:Kickstarter with dividends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41213621)

HR2930, part of the JOBS Act changes the legality of this: http://majorityleader.gov/uploadedfiles/JOBSACTOnePager.pdf

Re:Kickstarter with dividends? (1)

EuNao (1653733) | about 2 years ago | (#41214867)

The problem with this is the SEC rules in the United States. There was a law recently (Startup Act 2.0) that when implemented has a chance to allow Crowdfunding with equity, but such a thing is illegal at this moment in time.

Also, FYI, Kickstarter itself does not allow this kind of business to be funded. You can't explicitly start a business or a service with ongoing maintenance like a web startup on Kickstarter. You have to use something like Rockethub or Indie-go-go instead. That is actually why app.net used a self hosting approach for their funding drive. They didn't use Kickstarter.

Paying for twitter (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | about 2 years ago | (#41216985)

I don't mind Twitter being an ad-funded free-to-the-user experience.

I just want to be able to pay Twitter some money to opt out of the ads.

I don't see why Twitter can't remain free for the users who don't mid ads and at the same time offer an ad-free timeline to those who want to pay.

10,000 people just paid $50 for an ad-free experience on an as-yet unproven twitter-clone. Imagine how many people would pay for the already-established Twitter.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>