Facebook Foe And Twitter Tweaker Dalton Caldwell Gives A Sneak Peek At His Own Social Service, App.net

August 3, 2012

Dalton Caldwell App.net


Dalton Caldwell

The San Francisco developer who caused a stir by proposing an alternative to Twitter has released an alpha version of his own social service.

After blasting Twitter on his blog, Dalton Caldwell started work on a competitor that would never take ads and would always love app developers.

Two days ago, he revealed another motivation for the project:  In June, he claimed Facebook executives he met with threatened to put him out of business if he didn’t sell his company to them.

The site is even named App.net, in the hopes that one day it will be chock full of add-on apps, much like Facebook and Twitter are today.

Caldwell launched his own crowdsourced fund for App.net with a goal of raising $500,000. App.net is nowhere near that goal—it hit about $155,000. Even so, Caldwell today tweeted that he was going to open the gates to select folks who backed the project.

The service won’t be ad-supported. It will cost $50 a year, at least for now—that’s the minimum donation.

As a paid social media site, App.net may never fly. But Caldwell’s ruckus got tongues wagging in the Valley. The Google exec responsible for Google+, Vic Gundotra, weighed in with his own swipe at Facebook. 

Even Marc Andreessen got caught up in the tumult. He’s on the board of Facebook. And his venture-capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, had invested $5 million in Caldwell’s company when it was known as Mixed Media Labs and working on a photo-sharing service. 

So he ended up quitting Caldwell’s board. Another Andreessen Horowitz partner, Scott Weiss, took the seat instead.


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