Founder Dalton Caldwell:
The good news is that the renewal rate was high enough for App.net to be profitable and self-sustaining on a forward 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. … Additionally, as part of our efforts to ensure App.net is generating positive cash flow, we are winding down the Developer Incentive Program.
They’re putting on a good face, but it sure sounds like it’s over. It now has no full-time staff, very little money, and even less motivation for developers to write apps for it — and that’s just after the first major renewal period. Now that it’s pretty clear that the future is dim, it’s likely that even more people will abandon the service before the next renewal.
I would have loved to be proven wrong on my pessimistic predictions and criticism of their scattershot product direction. They’re good people. But I just don’t see a fundamentally social platform, even with a bunch of other features on top of it, getting a usefully large audience to succeed “on a forward basis” rather than “winding down” without being mostly free and having explosive growth from the start — especially when competing with similar, massive, free services.