App.net hopes it will pay to develop on its API

Those musing on the business machinations of Dalton Caldwell’s paid-for, developer-friendly social network will have their curiosity satisfied with the “App.net Developer Incentive Program”.

A process which “actually incents the creation of innovative, imaginative and useful apps”, App.net is paying out $20,000 (£12,300) a month to developers whose apps developed on the API received the best user feedback.

Each month, beginning on 1 October, App.net members will get an email detailing the feedback they want to give to each app – with App.net already putting in some presets through an algorithm to give users an idea of how useful each app may have been.

But any worry of fixing money for certain developers is out of the question.

“It is important that users do not feel pressured, bullied, or guilted into providing feedback,” the blog post notes, adding: “Therefore, developers who attempt to influence the Incentive Program by directly soliciting votes from their users will be suspended from the program”.

The entire process is designed to assist App.net in determining what the exact value of a user’s app experience is. As the official blog post notes – just looking at the post count generated by an application isn’t going to give the whole answer.

App.net is at pains to point out that the program is completely optional, that developers are in no way forced into it, and that devs are free to monetise their apps through their own channels.

“This program should be thought of as a ‘bonus’ for building software that App.net members use and love,” notes the blog post.

Developers will have to sign up independently to the Developer Incentive Program, in a manner not dissimilar to RIM’s ‘10k Developer Commitment’ as detailed last month.

Elsewhere, last month App.net announced it had steamed past 250,000 posts on the social network, with plenty of developers getting on board.

So this is another part of App.net’s business plan. But is this enough to entice devs on board?

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