Dalton Caldwell, the mastermind behind App.net, took to his blog yesterday to announce that the team had reached its funding goal for the project. The App.net alpha project managed to hit its $500,000 goal with two days left to go, and has amassed over $644,000 from around 9,700 backers as of the time of writing. Payment tiers include a $50 option that allows regular users to either reserve a custom username or register their existing Twitter handles, while the $100 option is aimed at developers, providing access to various API tools as well as documentation.
App.net was created as an alternative to Twitter, with Dalton Caldwell believing that the social network was moving in the wrong direction with regards to its API access as well as monetization of users. Caldwell asserts that advertising isn’t the only business model that a social network can be funded by, with App.net created on the premise that users will pay for access to a service with real time feeds and open APIs.
The project was slow to gather momentum at first, but a burst of publicity over the past week helped push the project to its $500,000 goal. Backers of the project have paid for a year of access upfront, but the ultimate goal when the service launches is to have users pay a small fee on a monthly basis. It’s a risky strategy, as most users seem to be content with ad-based serices, but the fact the app.net has managed to reach its goal indicates that there are those out there who are willing to pay for a cleaner experience.
The project still has about a day left to go, so there’s still time to put forward your $50 and secure a username. If you don’t feel like parting with a lump sum of cash upfront, then you’ll be able to register with the service normally when the alpha test is over, but there’s no indication just yet when that will be. An iOS app has been planned for the social network, however, and Caldwell mentions that several third-party applications are already in development thanks to the available API.