App.net (ADN), an alternative to Twitter that seeks to better balance the needs of the platform owners with developers and users, saw substantial growth in the last couple of weeks. This is partly due to the arrival of popular clients -- for end users the interface is the app, after all, and familiarity is a huge feature. In addition to attracting attention, these clients reduced the learning curve and the stress level often associated with platform change. ADN also lowered the cost of their service. Initially ADN cost $50 a year for a non-developer account, which was a substantial barrier to entry for anyone but the geekiest of geek users (#227, at your service). While $50 is less than some people spend on fancy caffeinated beverages each month, it still feels like a big up-front expense for something that may or may not provide a significant return. ADN dropped the yearly price to $36, but what's more, they introduced a new $5 monthly option. $5 a month is actually $60 a year, which is more expensive than it was previously, but far more people will be willing to give ADN a chance at $5 than $50, as any substantial period of time beyond a few days blurs towards the amorphous. It's a lower up-front cost, and hence, lower up-front risk.
It's objection handling at the product level, and it's smart business. It's something Apple has been doing going on a decade, and something they're doing especially well with iOS devices right now.