Founder Dalton Caldwell has confirmed the milestone with us, and coincidentally, it looks like a giveaway of 500 accounts via The Next Web’s Facebook page helped push it to 100,000.
Launched at a time when there was significant discontent amongst developers regarding Twitter’s treatment of its third-party ecosystem, App.net emerged with the intention of being developer-friendly, with the promise of not ‘selling out’ thanks to a subscription fee charged to each user.
By September 2012, the platform had hit 20,000 users, although just 250 of them accounted for half the posts published, indicating a high level of drop-off after users signed up. Since then, growth has slowed, although Caldwell and his team have continued to add features, including private messaging and 10GB of storage for each user. This month it launched the Passport iOS app, designed to introduce users to its many third-party apps.
Growth spurts have occured during App.net’s first nine months, such as when Tapbots, the company behind the much-loved Tweetbot Twitter client for iOS launched a version for App.net, demonstrating the power of a great mobile client. More recently, a limited, free tier was introduced, reigniting interest in the platform. Recently, promotions with publishers such as ZDNet and today’s with The Next Web have provided additional boosts.
While 100,000 is a definite milestone of note, the question remains of just how big App.net can grow when users beyond the developer and geek community seem content with Twitter, for all its flaws.