A company offering a free service and never making any money will not be able to pay rent, employees and if online, hosting charges. A start up has to show some understanding of how they will make money for investors to get excited about. Otherwise, why would an investor hand over operating cash? Some services turn to advertising on their site or within their related app. Some services use the data collected by the way users interact with the service to profit from companies willing to pay for people’s habits.
Last year a group introduced a service to compete with Twitter where they charge a monthly fee to cover their bills. That way, there is no need for them to every sell users data or insert adds into the user’s conversations. The service, app.net, was successfully funded through Kickstarter and has gone on to be a nice spot to exchange posts with others of like mind. They do charge $36 for a year’s access, and a bit more for developers wanting to create apps that work with app.net. Both, a small fee in exchange for knowing how a person’s data will be used today and ongoing.
With all of the excitement around how services may use shared photos or user’s data going forward, Instafocus is pivoting their business away from being a outside Instagram connected free universal app to being a subscription model social share service. The future is still in motion as Instafocus has also gone to the public for funding via Kickstarter. Being an outsider to Instafocus, it is hard to say if the app will actually still move forward as a subscription service whether funding is successful or not. By jumping in via Kickstarter, the service charges are reduced as well ‘life time’ subscriptions are being offered.
The claim is that like app.net, there will never be ads amongst users photos, the photos and the data around the photos are always owned by the person that posted them, and photos wont be used for anything like ads by the service.
The reward options on the Instafocus Kickstarter page are for things like a discounted 3 and 6 month subscription, discounted 1 year and lifetime subscriptions, being involved in the beta and getting the first photo you post sent to you as a print signed by the developers.