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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Would you pay for an ad-free social network?

Check out app.net, created by Dalton Caldwell  in response to ad-funded social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Based on a simple, compelling proposition, App Net claims that it will put the interests of users and developers first and treat them as the customers rather than the product to be sold to advertisers. 

In exchange for the privacy and security of your information, you will have to pay app.net to become a member. The fee is $50 per year and currently this is a Kickstarter project. 

The project has been created to meet a need for  confidentiality and self ownership of our personal information, which is currently questionable on social networking sites. 

I do wonder how many people will actually put their money where their mouth is and join. Social networks need to scale fast to justify their existence.  Having to pay for something we take for granted as a free service today could pose a barrier to adoption of app.net.

The launch page shows a distinguished list of backers for the project including Marco Arment, John Gruber and Robert Scoble. Let's see how mass adoption of the site shapes up. 

Private social networking is somewhat of a contradiction in terms but there is clearly a demand for it, at least among a section of people.