October 18, 2008

OpenMicroblogger Monetizes With Introduction of OpenAppStore

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

One thing that seems to have been ignored a lot lately is the presence of Open Source microblogging tools which corporations and organizations can adopt to build community for their brand. The most popular of those is Laconi.ca, the code behind the once-popular Identi.ca. The "other" Open Source Microblogging tool, OpenMicroblogger, which I have covered here before, is making strides however, and just the other day launched its' own "App Store" for installing applications on OpenMicroblogger-powered sites.

OpenMicroblogger may have just pioneered a new space, termed, "micro-apps", in which very small apps can easily enhance the capabilities of a user's microblogging experience right on top of the microblogging service itself. OpenMicroblogger's app store has started with its own photo wall application which users can add to their profiles, along with a "post-to-identi.ca" application example, and "post-to-twitter" application example. The magical thing about it all however is that because OpenMicroblogger supports Wordpress plugins, any Wordpress developer can ideally write an app easily, and make money off of it in the store. In fact, the "post-to-twitter" application was written as simply a wrapper around Alex King's own Twitter Tools Wordpress plugin.

In a time of economic uncertainty, it would appear that at least one Microblogging tool has come up with an ideal way to monetize microblogging. Build a platform, already familiar to developers, that makes those developers money. Developers then come to your platform, build apps for it, and encourage others to use it as well. OpenMicroblogger is quickly proving itself to be one of the easiest to adopt platforms out there. And in its infancy having recently hit 1,000 downloads, it would appear that I am not alone in that opinion.

It's important to note that while there is a proof-of-concept platform out there at openmicroblogger.com, OpenMicroblogger is open source software, not a service. Any site that implements OpenMicroblogger for themselves can utilize these applications for their users. Therefore, if a developer writes an application for the OpenAppStore, it becomes available to all OpenMicroblogger implementations. Developers can sign up at OpenAppStore.com to add their app to the store and set a price.

This is just the beginning of a very interesting future for open source microblogging. While it may never be a competitor to Twitter, open source, as it always has, will always pose a threat, and perhaps, ironically, Open Source may have beat Twitter to the punch at monetization.

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.