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Twitter Competitor ADN Now Allowing Anyone To Join For Free

Twitter competitor App.net (ADN) has progressed from a paid members-only platform to a freemium model (a few months ago), with free accounts available only to those invited by paying members.

And now it announced it is allowing anyone to join with an App.net Passport account.

Is the next step a free toaster with every sign up?

ADN seems like a great place for developers, honestly – they love it. The rest of us? Not so much going on there, really. (If you thought Google+ was a waste of “regular folks” time, ADN would likely cause an aggravation seizure.)

But it has a pretty robust developer audience and ADNers seem pretty pleased with the platform (and a little cultish). If you’re looking for a place to interact with like-minded folks bitter about Twitter’s new API, then you’ll feel right at home.

Granted, this new “anyone can enter” offering is a by-product of a larger offering for core users:

Our mission has always been to support developers and to give members more choice. At its core, Passport is our directory app: an easy way for iPhone users to find and install other App.net iPhone apps, and for iOS developers to connect more directly with new users.

Here’s what you can do with Passport:

  • Create an App.net account
  • Find and follow other App.net members
  • Download and discover App.net iPhone apps
  • Update your bio, profile photo, and cover image

Notably (and quite intentionally), the Passport app does not have posting or messaging features. As always, we encourage App.net members to use 3rd-party apps. An additional benefit of the Passport app for 3rd-party developers is a new Authentication SDK which makes it easy to seamlessly integrate App.net login/signup functionality into any app.

But even though this has happened gradually, it’s STILL a marked departure from the platform’s initial “paid membership” model. Could they be struggling to attract users?

This new ability to create a free account, sans paid-ADNer invitation, comes across (weirdly) as an afterthought (partly because it’s listed last and qualified with “it’s worth noting” as if it’s really not an important point of business when it SO is).

It’s also worth noting that anyone who downloads Passport will be able to create a free-tier App.net account. Like everything we do, this is an experiment, and we will be watching the data closely to see what we learn and its impact on the community. To set expectations: we may decide to turn off open signup via the app at any point.

We wonder what other “experiments” they’ll try out in the coming months. Could there be (dreaded) advertisements or other sponsorship-style items on the horizon?

(Image from Shutterstock)

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