The idea behind Backer is that when a company wants to add a new feature to its software, it should be able to test just how much users desire a hypothetical feature by asking them to commit money to the functionality being built before development even begins.
App.net believes that this method works better than traditional methods of gauging user interest because “running a poll or doing informal research can easily lead to false positives” whereas asking users to commit money leads to more reliable results.
Backer comes after App.net launched a trial run that asked its users to commit Bitcoins before the service would add subscriptions to be paid with Bitcoin. Backer is now a platform of its own and App.net fully hosts the service for anyone who wants to use it. As with other crowdfunding services, if funding isn’t reached for any campaign on Backer before the end date, all money is refunded.
Applications are now open for those who want to use Backer to crowdfund a new feature they have in mind.