App.net Free Account
At first I was surprised that you can already register an App.net free account when its goal from the beginning is to offer an ad-free service. It was made possible by offering premium paid-only service, at least initially.
Freemium model usually offset the cost of operations by displaying ads to non-paying users or by selling the data generated from the service to other business. There are many ways to carry out a freemium model so it does not mean App.net will start doing one of those things I mentioned.
So how does an ad-free network where users already pay $36 yearly or $5 monthly to use the service benefit with the new App.net freemium model?
Freemium is the way to go
You only pay the service because either it is so good and important or you need more features not available in the free plan.
To understand the switch from premium to freemium model you have to go back and read this article from The Verge where it details how App.net expanded its current paid offerings by offering cloud storage on top of its social network. All paid packages now offers 10 Gb of cloud storage since late January this year.
Even when you look back at the first project announcement App.net is heavily inspired by services with freemium model namely Github and Evernote.
How to register free App.net account?
In order to get the App.net free tier account you must have an invite first. Free tier account users are similar to paid accounts but limited to following 40 users, file storage is much smaller – 500 MB, and the max upload file size is only 10 MB.
While some paid user may think of downgrading to free account this could make App.net more popular because now even paid users can lure more of their friends and family inside the social network without any obligation.
This will also benefit the community because only the trusted people will be invited greatly reducing the risk of spam. Also with the limitation of free account, spamming or nonsense rambling seems futile. As free users hit the limitation there is a likelihood someone will upgrade just like how Evernote and Dropbox users upgrade to paid plans.
I am not an App.net user yet but I am interested on the service since last year. This might be the best time to try it out. Who knows, I might get an invitation sooner or later. If you are in App.net already and have a free invite to spare, please contact me directly here.