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App.net will begin paying out $20K monthly to app developers

Alternative social network plans to reward developers who build apps using its APIs based on user feedback.

App.net's app feedback system. App.net

App.net, an alternative social network, today rolled out a financial incentive plan to persuade developers to build on apps on its APIs.

Next month, the program will begin distributing $20,000 a month to eligible App.net developers, with payouts to individual developers varying based on user satisfaction with the apps, App.net founder Dalton Caldwell said in a company blog post detailing the program.

"The goal of this program is to financially reward the development of great App.net applications," Caldwell said.

Deciding on a metric to determine which developers deserved the greatest reward for creating "innovative, imaginative, and useful apps" posed a great challenge for Caldwell and his team.

"For example, we can't simply count the number of posts generated by an application because that wouldn't accurately reflect how much value an App.net member feels they receive from the app," he said.

The system App.net arrived at is a monthly poll e-mailed to App.net members requesting feedback on the apps they used during the previous month. Using basic algorithms and sliders, members indicate their level of satisfaction with apps. Once submitted, the ratings will be used to generate a score for each app, which will be used to determine the level of monthly financial allocation developers receive.

The program is optional, and developers should feel no pressure to participate, Caldwell said. Developers are still welcome to monetize their apps through sales or advertising, he said.

However, he stressed that app users should not feel pressure of any kind to provide feedback; developers found to be soliciting votes for their apps will be suspended from the incentive program.

"Rather than having a large number of 'one-size-fits all' apps, we want to encourage developers to think about new and customized experiences across a wide variety of categories," Caldwell said. "We've already seen a number of apps developed for the platform that are very impressive, and we look forward to seeing many more."

The program should attract a lot of developer attention to the platform, which succeeded in raising $803,000 last month from more than 12,000 contributors interested in an ad-free social network that might give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money.