When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

App.net, Pheed, Diaspora: new names on the list of social networks
App.net, Pheed, Diaspora: new names on the list of social networks
Benjamin Ferran

GENEVA – To distinguish themselves from Facebook and Twitter, new social networks are trying to find a different economic model. A trend is emerging – the return to paid subscriptions. From App.net to Diaspora, here is a short review of these new actors.

App.net, the paying Twitter

"We are selling our product, not our users." This is the promise made by App.net when it launched its assault on Twitter in August. Its creator Dalton Caldwell considers the Web 2.0 and its ad-based free system as a "disappointment." According to him, the time has come to create a new social network solely financed by subscriptions, that will never use personal data for commercial purposes and whose developers will spend "100% of their time improving services for members, not advertisers."

This social networking site is similar to Twitter: same short message restrictions (256 character limit instead of 140), same profile page display. Unlike Twitter, you have to pay to enjoy this ad-free website. There are two price rates for the public ($5/month or $36/year), and one for the developers ($100).

The first numbers are encouraging: in two months App.net racked up 20,000 paying users. What’s most notable is that Twitter app developers unhappy with the site’s new policy are now starting to adapt their applications for App.net.

Pheed, reaching for the stars

This new social network became famous in October after a positive review in Forbes magazine. It’s based on a simple fact: the most followed accounts on Facebook and Twitter are celebrity accounts. Instead of posting and sharing statuses, videos or photos for free, Pheed wants them to make their fans pay – and then give them back half the profits. A paid subscription to Pheed is between $1,99 and $34,99 per month, but there’s also a free version where anyone can create a page.

For its launch, the site was able to convince about 200 celebrities to create a page, including musician David Guetta, actress Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton. The nine-person team that created the project is based in California. It has invested $2,5 million and is aiming for 10 million accounts, free or not.

Diaspora, the free project

What if anyone could create their own ad-free social network, with the guarantee that their data would never be sold to advertisers? When the nonprofit project was launched two years ago, it was presented as a Facebook killer, but Diaspora is actually a program that allows people to create small and independent social networks.

The project raised over $200,000 from Internet users including a not-so-subtle donation from Mark Zuckerberg. However, Diaspora has had many problems according to a fascinating article in the Motherboard blog. In August, its founders left the keys to “the community.” It continues to be developed thanks to the many defenders of free programs. There are several thousands of Diaspora servers ("pods") around the world, which is still very far behind Facebook. Diaspora’s story is a reminder of how difficult it is to offer an alternative to the big ad-based social networks.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Green

Bricks Of Weed! The House Of The Future Could Be Made Of Hemp

Hemp has long had more uses than getting high. The plant is now increasingly being used in the construction of houses, with huge benefits for the climate. The only issue is growing enough to meet surging demand.

Blocks of hemp used for house construction.

Jan Grossarth

OLDENBURG — To be clear: Nobody smoked weed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first semi-detached house made of hemp in Lower Saxony in northwest Germany. This rite-of-passage ceremony to celebrate the completion of the building served nothing more than cold beer.

Christian Eiskamp had spent decades building single-family houses in the sprawling housing complexes in the south of Oldenburg, a city of just over 100,000 people. Then he had the intuition that the heyday of concrete could be coming to an end because of its poor impact on the climate. Searching on Google, he found hemp as an alternative building material.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ