Dalten Caldwell’s Twitter wannabe social platform App.net has ventured into innovative territory with the launch of Backer, which offers software creators a crowdfunding platform for 1 or many features.
Put simply, developers & companies can use crowdfunding Site Backer to accurately gauge the level of interest in a new feature or service. Polls & market research are never conclusive & may even lead the company astray into unwanted features. However, asking customers to back their opinion with hard cash makes the whole process a lot more accurate.
Backer handles the whole campaign in much the same way as Kickstarter or any other reputed crowdfunding platform.
If the crowdfunding campaign hits its slated goal, the project owner is sent the funds & must then incorporate the feature or service involved. If not, the feature goes into the dustbin & any pledges that have been made will be refunded.
Failed projects & open source projects that are successful do not pay a fee. Proprietary projects that are successful will have to pay Backer a 5% fee. All successful projects will have to incur the credit charges, if any.
Crowdfunding Site Backer also accepts Bitcoin, & all Bitcoin transactions are processed free, which means the project owners get 100% of the pledged amounts.
Now, this is where the backstory behind Backer gets interesting, because they started it off as a project for themselves (as in for the app.net community). They were wondering whether to start accepting Bitcoin funds for subscription payments. Instead of putting out a poll or just starting to accept Bitcoin on a trial basis, they set up a crowdfunding campaign.
If enough users pledge Bitcoins to reach the goal of 10 BTC, app.net will start accepting Bitcoin payments. If not, the Bitcoins will be returned & app.net will not be accepting Bitcoins for subscription payments. The campaign ends on Feb 20, 2014.
Regardless of what happens to the Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign, app.net has already made lemonade out of the lemons they have. They decided to convert the platform they had developed for the Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign into a service open to everyone, & called it Backer (backer.app.net).
So now any software creator may use Backer to find out if there’s sufficient interest in a new feature, & no harm is done if a feature bombs because no one wants it. The kicker, of course, is that Backer is now accepting Bitcoin pledges.
Innovation is a wonderful thing, & this is one instance where a little bit of innovation has turned into a big deal that may very well have a lasting impact on the software industry. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that one day in the not-so-distant future, crowdfunding will filter out all the bad features in every software before it reaches the wider public.
Image Credit: App.net