Yesterday app.net announced that it was to offer a free service, as well as its paid-for accounts. This allows people who have trial accounts, like me, to carry on using the service after the 30 day period is up, albeit with some limits.
Free account holders, as it stands, will only be able to follow a maximum of 40 other users. They will also be limited to 500 MB of storage space and can only upload files that are up to 10 MB in size. Paid users will still be able to follow as many users as they wish, and will have 10 GB of storage.
The other limit on free accounts is that they are not available for general sign-up. To join app.net without paying, you will need to be invited by a paid user who will have a limited number of invitations available. The only way to queue-jump, and join app.net without an invite, will be to sign up for a paid account. Presumably you could pay for one month and then downgrade if you were desperate to join.
The follow limit of 40 users sounds harsh, but this is a service in its infancy with only a few tens of thousands of users. In the almost four weeks that I’ve had an account, I’ve only found 24 people to follow. And this may be raised in time, as it’s clear from the blog post that app.net are making small steps. Similarly I expect the invite requirement to be dropped at some point.
I’m personally glad that app.net are willing to offer a ‘permanent’ free account like this. I said that I would make my mind up at the end of my trial month, as to whether I’d leave app.net or buy a paid-for account, and I was still torn. I want it to succeed but the small number of users means that there isn’t a lot of value to it. With a free account option, I hope more people will use it, making it more useful. I may even be persuaded to pay up then.