App.net started as an attempt to build a social network that would make users a priority over advertisers. It's a cool idea, but the fact that you need to pay to join is something of a limiting factor—especially if all your friends are already on Facebook or Twitter. But starting today, you can get into App.net for free—provided you know somebody who already uses the social network.
In a blog post published Monday, App.net introduced a new free account level to augment its paid accounts. This new setup follows the "freemium" model where you can get a basic level of service for free, but if you pay a fee, you get access to additional features (if you use a service like Dropbox, you're probably already familiar with how this works).
A free App.net account gets you 500MB of file storage (with a maximum 10MB file upload size), and lets you follow a maximum of 40 people. If you want to follow more people or want more storage space, you can upgrade to a paid plan that features 10GB of storage space and costs $5 per month or $36 per year, depending on whether you choose to pay on a monthly or yearly basis.
But there is a catch: You can only get in on a free account if another App.net user sends you an invitation. If you have a 30-day trial account, your trial account will get automatically updated to a free account. Of course, if you pay for an account, you can get in on App.net right now.
The company didn't say whether or not it plans on opening up free accounts to everyone, but in the meantime, start bugging your friends for invitations!
This story, "App.net introduces invitation-only free accounts" was originally published by TechHive.