Instagram Threads is far from the only app hoping to attract people away from Twitter in 2023. Bluesky started life as a project within Twitter to create technology to power decentralised social networking, and was later spun out as an independent entity. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is on its board of directors.

Yesterday, Bluesky announced an $8m seed funding round to continue its growth. “With this funding, we can expand our team, manage increasing operation and infrastructure costs, and grow the AT Protocol ecosystem as well as the Bluesky app,” it explained in a blog post, while also giving more details of its first attempt to make money: selling users custom domain names to use as their handles.

The company is steering clear of advertising for now. “In the business of advertising, where social media companies exchange user data to serve ads to specific audiences, users become the product,” it noted.

“Bluesky’s business model must be fundamentally different — we are a public social network and our code is all open source, so we have no “moat” when it comes to data. We set out to build a protocol where users can own their data and always have the freedom to leave, and this approach means that advertising couldn’t be our dominant business model.”

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