Facebook competitor pushes for paid social networking model

by Simon Benarroch

TheVerge.com recently reported that programmer and business owner Dalton Cladwell recently published an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.com. 

In it he describes what he sees as the failings of ad-supported platforms like Facebook and Twitter, platforms he believes have business interests "not in-line with users [and] developers."

He described what he called "platform risk," which is the problem faced by developers who use data made public by companies like Facebook as foundations for their apps. They may be encouraged to spend months producing only to have their features copied by the platforms themselves. TheVerge.com used the ShockTwits/Twitter scenario as an example. 

Cladwell has been working to raise $500,000 to fund a proposed paid social network, App.net. In his letter, he said he belives future social-networking platforms will "behave more like infrastructure and less like media companies." That is, they'll be more akin to current household utilities like "electricity, email, or the internet itself," TheVerge.com explained.

However the App.net project has only managed to raise $171,050, with its August 13th deadline fast approaching.