Feeds

App.net: 'Good news, we've made money; bad news, we're all fired'

Subscription renewals will sustain site, but not employees

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Ad-free social network App.net has clawed enough cash from subscription revenues to let it be "profitable and self-sustaining," – albeit without any employees.

The surprising news was disclosed by App.net chief Dalton Caldwell in a blog post on Tuesday. Though the post indicates App.net is in rude health, it is not quite strong enough to bear the weight of having any full-time employees anymore.

"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 App.net API/service operates. To repeat, App.net will continue to operate normally on an indefinite basis," Caldwell wrote.

"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."

App.net will employ contractors for support and operations, plus some new development projects, he said.

Along with getting rid of its full-time employees, App.net is also having to shut down its Developer Incentive Programme, which paid developers based on the popularity of their apps on the service.

When the service was announced two years ago, it was originally a pay-to-post social network, but in February 2013 Caldwell softened his stance and introduced free accounts in an attempt to bring more people into the site.

The hope was that the "freemium" model combined with robust developer community would let it became far more than a Twitter also-ran, and develop into something of genuine merit. That may still be possible, but it's going to have fewer resources, and as mentioned, can no longer pay developers cash for popular apps on the platform.

"If revenue rates start to tilt upward we would be excited to budget additional development resources," Caldwell wrote. "In any event, our intention is to have the App.net service continue to operate for as long as there are customers willing to support it."

Translation: if we get more money we might be able to have staff. Please stick around in the meanwhile.

"The market conditions that were the driving force behind App.net's creation have not changed," Caldwell wrote. Something that he appears to find reassuring but, given the news, we would find discouraging. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – on PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP and Microsoft prove it again: Big Business Doesn't Create Jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.