I saw a post about VSCO on Colin Devroe’s Blog and it got me thinking about how awesome it is that services like VSCO and MicroBlog are finally dropping chasing mainstream social networks and just going their way. They proudly proclaim that if you want better social networks, more support, and good features, please pay up.
It’s not just where innovation will happen, but also where users will be happier and developers more satisfied. There is always the threat of the whims of the developers taking over the wishes of the users, but it’s not as if Google, Facebook, and Twitter have helplines you can call to give suggestions and understand their policies. So it’s either the whims of large corporations with strange and often lopsided goals or the whims of people more closer to earth.
It’s also in line with the trends of newsletters and blogs going paid, and Patreon taking over the creative process. All of this shows these segments maturing.
It’s like with forums on the previous iteration of the Internet – first they started off with free and then became paid and closed and in many ways, that was great.
People often look at the iOS App Store as a success story when it went from free apps to paid, to freemium, to ad-based, to finally subscriptions. It’s not just that subscriptions are more sustainable, but that they mean that the people on the other end are more cognizant of your time and value.
Money changing hands somehow adds value to the relationship online. This is good. But it’s not just that. It’s also about these little players just giving up on the constantly changing aims of big players and signaling to users – “they don’t have their best interests in mind; we do. We care, they don’t. Who would you rather be with?”