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App.net proposes alternative to Twitter

Refocusses to realtime feed platform, 'what Twitter could have been'

Founder and CEO of App.net Dalton Caldwell is refocussing his product into a realtime feed API and service. Stating on the funding page that App.net is "building a better way to share your status", there are also clear digs at Twitter, in the notes about the ability to own your own data and the lack of advertising. On the second of those points, App.net stated: "We believe that advertising-supported social services are so consistently and inextricably at odds with the interests of users and developers that something must be done."

Caldwell further outlined his vision for App.net recently in a post on his blog, and he reaffirmed when speaking to .net that he strongly believes what he's doing with App.net is the direction in which Twitter should have gone – a realtime cloud API company: "The join.app.net proposal is exactly what I think Twitter could have been. When I wrote an earlier post about Twitter, a lot of people challenged me to define what the business model and company would have looked like, and join.app.net is my concrete answer."

According to Caldwell, Twitter's drift towards a more closed/locked model and also away from brevity "boils down to money and building the best product the company can for advertisers", and he told us 'More akin to Facebook' comments, as per Ben Popper's piece for The Verge, were "inevitable, given Twitter's ad-supported business model".

Caldwell added that he understood why Twitter is making such decisions – "I founded and ran a very large, ad-supported social network, and have been down the very same path before", but, like others, he said the service should be mindful that alternatives can rapidly take over: "Think of Digg and reddit, MySpace and Facebook, Yahoo! Answers and Quora…" As for his own alternative to Twitter, it's from an approach standpoint looking like Twitter's open twin: "We are exploring all this in a public dialogue. We have posted our API docs and are working with third-party developers to get feedback and see exactly what they are looking for."

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