microblogging that you pay for.
London, United Kingdom
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Here's what I want to do. I want to make a micro-blogging platform that you have to pay for.
What do I mean by a micro-blogging platform? Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. Basically, I want to create a version of Twitter that you have to pay for.
But... Isn't that the stupidest idea in the world?
Right. It is. You already get Twitter for free. Why would you pay for it? More importantly, even if you do pay for it, how do you get other people to use it and also pay for it?
Here's what I think.
I rely on Twitter. I use it all the time. I message my friends, and I use it to watch what's going on in the world. It's there when I'm bored, and it's there when I want to reach out to companies about their terrible, terrible products. It's the news, but faster. It's text messaging.
But I don't own my messages. Twitter does. And Twitter sells those messages to companies who want to know about me, and who want to sell me things.
This is what I want to change. Here's the pitch. Here's a list of reasons why you should sign up for this service.
1) You own your own data. We'll never sell it to anyone. We'll never tell mobile phone companies when you're thinking of trading in your phone and we'll never tell 100 insurance companies to contact you every time you mention the word accident.
2) No Adverts. If you see something in your timeline, it's because one of your friends put it there. No dodgy tweets with easily missed "promoted" signs saying how good a movie is. You can trust your information.
3) No Spam. Well, that's a lie. Someone will always try and spam you. But it's going to cost them £5.00 to do it, and if they get caught, then they're thrown off the network, no questions asked.
4) You are the customer. API Access is yours. New functionality is for you.
5) No VC funding. We're not going to actualise our revenue streams and pivot our implementation methodologies then take instruction from someone who speaks nonsense business lingo and wants their money back in five years. Whatever the cost.
6) It'll be the next big thing. Hey - Imagine if this takes off, and you passed up the opportunity of being one of the first to sign up. Oh, the humiliation! Can you imagine?
Of course, it's not all roses and glowing shining things. Here's an equally valid list of reasons why this is a bad idea.
1) There's no way that this could be as good as Twitter is without millions of you signing up. Have you seen how much money they have. The chances of that happening here are close to zero. Even if it does take off, I can't see it generating the huge amounts of revenue Twitter has collected from foolhardy investors. If we aint got the money, the product isn't going to be as good.
2) You think that these websites are for ever? They aren't. MySpace may still be around, but there's very few people who go there any more. You want to invest actual money into one of these pre-doomed websites? No? Me neither.
3) At the moment there's just me. One person to make this into some kind of reality. That's a huge big £5 gamble you're taking there. If I ever see enough customers, I'll hire out some office space and hire some geeks. Until then, you're stuck with me, my stupid big plans and my average programming ability. Good luck suckers!
If you're interested, pledge some money. Please don't pledge more than £5. That £5 will get you your annual subscription with a 0% discount. Remember. You're not a founder, you're not an investor, you're a customer. That is it.
If I get enough of you showing interest, I'll start making the website, and I'll start making the Mobile Applications.
OK - That's it. Here's some questions I think you'll want to ask. (By which I mean - Here's some questions which you'd probably never ask, but which allow me to continue to sell you stuff.)
Why did you write so much? I'm tired.
Look - This isn't going to work with rounded corner MVP marketing or a flashy hand drawn video of a man exploring micro-blogging. It's going to work because people are willing to give it a chance. Because they're going to be willing to slog through three months of having nobody following them without giving up. In new age marketing speak, this big old block of text is just me preshinking my funnel. If that sounds painful, then it probably is because it is.
What are you going to call it?
I was thinking Chuntle.com But that's a stupid word.
How will you spend your money?
The money will be spent on computer hosting and software development. I'll probably outsource the creation of mobile applications. I'll pay myself a basic wage for the work I do on the project and the rest will go into a savings account. If I get a lot of signups, I'll hire someone.
It's my opinion that the money is less important than the intention that you have that you're willing to spend money for something as basic as micro-blogging. You'll be paying to use a sub-par twitter clone for one year, and you'll be doing it because you want something that works for you instead of working for nebulous others.
You're not really selling this, are you?
And that's not really a question is it? I'm a believer that businesses can be honest, and a little bit grumpy, and sometimes it's not how something is said, it's what is said. I want people to sign up for this because they honest to goodness believe that it's something they want. Plus, the whole "negative" spin thing sometimes works. Don't think I'm not selling to you. I am.
But, I do believe in honesty. And Chuntle will be all about the honesty. We'll always tell you how many customers we have, we'll always be up front about the things that go wrong. We'll try to listen.
You've got yourself into a situation now where you don't know how to stop talking, haven't you.
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One years subscription. Exactly what you'd pay if you just signed up for the service when it comes out. No discount and no special treatment. You're a customer, not an investor. Because customers > investors.
Two years subscription. To be honest, I'd rather you sign up for a single year. I don't want people signing up for something they may not want to use in a years time.
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