I've been pretty consistent that I view the monies I've paid to App.Net (ADN) as an investment. However, like every investment, you have to evaluate what you've put into it compared to what you think going to get out of it. Eventually, you come to a decision: do you continue to invest or not?
I know ADN is a whole lot more than Alpha, the thing everyone compares to Twitter. I know ADN as a social platform is superior in many ways to other things out there. It is, unfortunately, lacking in one very critical thing that becomes apparent more and more with each passing day: people who actually use the platform as it was intended.
Plenty of people that used to be on ADN have already made the decision to retreat back to Twitter. I never left Twitter and, as my Alpha stream is showing contributions by fewer and fewer unique voices every day, I am spending more and more time on Twitter and Facebook.
Further, I really don't have any idea what, if anything, the ADN guys are doing beyond keeping the service running. Given the number of people I've seen not renew, I have no idea if the money coming in covers the costs, much less the time it takes to keep things running.
And the other things that ADN is good for that aren't Alpha? Most of the devs that were building apps gave up, mostly because the people just weren't there to justify the effort.
The investment I made in ADN did pay off. I met some great people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I got exposed to some new technology, and I learned a great deal about myself in the process.
Unfortunately, with the trajectory things are on, and the likelihood that trajectory will change for the better anytime soon, it really doesn't make sense for me to continue to pay for ADN. Sure, $36 a year is not much in the grand scheme of things, but the continued returns on that investment just aren't there.
So, yes, I'm planning to drop to the free tier, but unlike a lot of people who have come to a similar conclusion, I am manually pruning my follow list now to get below the 40 user limit so I know who I'll be following when the time comes. I intend to remain active to the bitter end.