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Favd Could be App.net’s Gateway Drug

Favd app UI - Explore page

Favd is an Instagram clone launched just over two weeks ago, but unlike Instagram, Favd has no advertising and doesn’t assume control of your photos. Instead, Favd is monetized by in-app purchases, and it runs on App.net, a “freemium” style network paid for by its power users.

App.net was founded when Twitter declared war on third-party developers so they could better monetize their content, but it faces the same affliction that plagues every new social network–namely, people go where their friends are, and their friends aren’t on App.net. Their friends are on Twitter or Facebook.


Favd has the potential to change that dynamic.

Embrace and exploit Instagram users’ angst.

When Instagram updated its terms of service, there was outrage. Granted, there is almost always outrage when a social network updates it terms of service, but in this case, users were genuinely creeped-out at the idea that Instagram could use their photos, photos that may include their children and family, in targeted advertising without prior consent.

Instagram later backed off from its “we can do whatever we want with your data” stance, but it still needs to monetize which means harvesting your data and injecting ads into your photo stream.

Users don’t want their “private” data being monetized without their consent. Users aren’t thrilled about ads, even if they believe ads are necessary to fund the service. Both Favd and App.net feature ad-free business models and claim no right to your content. This is their strength, and they should tout it.

Embrace Twitter and don’t shun Facebook.

On Twitter, Favd already has an advantage over Instagram. After Facebook’s billion-dollar buyout, Instagram shut off support for Twitter Cardsto drive more traffic to the web experience for Instagram.” This means Instagram photos no longer show up in Twitter users’ timelines. Favd photos do.

Favd should take this one step further by making Twitter cross-posting automatic. (Currently, it must be selected each time a photo is uploaded). While I understand Favd wants to promote App.net, they already do so by using it to power their backend. Anyone who downloads Favd has to create an App.net account. Favd should encourage users to share their posts on Twitter and Facebook because that’s where users already are.

Favd should also engage the Twitter community directly. Sure, they have an account, but it has tweeted a whopping 1 time and has a mere 4 followers. Instagram’s Twitter account has more than 28 million followers and tweets several times per day.

As long as App.net is viewed as just a Twitter clone, it will struggle to grow. People don’t need a Twitter clone–at least, not yet. They’ll consider a photo-sharing app that isn’t trying to monetize them.

iPhone users can download Favd for free in the App Store.