Raises $600K to Build an Ad-Free Alternative to Twitter

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Twitter is planning to restrict access to its API, and developers are worried. Some are publicly protesting via their blogs and group petitions. One bold group is seeking to build a full-featured social network to compete against Twitter and other ad-supported social networks.

After having raised $600,000 (and counting) through crowdfunding, the team behind is ready to build a “real-time social service where users and developers come first, not advertisers.” The solution? An open, ad-free network funded by users (who pay $50 per year for basic access) and developers (who pay $100 year for API access and support).

The campaign was inspired by a widely circulated entry that co-founder Dalton Caldwell (who is also a co-founder of picplz) posted on his personal blog. In the post, Caldwell argues that Twitter has failed to reach its potential because it has sold out to advertisers. “Twitter could [have been] one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet via their powerful API,” he recalls. Instead, “the advertising group [at Twitter] won,” and now Twitter’s next step will be to “kill all third-party clients… [in order] to control the ‘content,'” he writes.

Caldwell’s vision and ambition is commendable, but can it work? The web, after all, has a history of championing its rights to “free” — free music and access to information among them. Just think of the protests surrounding Napster’s shutdown, or The New York Times‘s paywall.

But it’s clear that some — that is, the more than 9,000 people who backed the project — think it very well can.

Update: This story originally said that was funded through Kickstarter. However, this is not true. The project was funded through’s crowdfunding platform.

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