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Path Launches $14.99 Premium Subscriptions, But Will Anyone Pay?

The social network also unveiled features to share moments privately among specified friends.

Yesterday, Path's big news was integration on the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch. Today, the social network has unveiled a premium membership tier and finer privacy controls.

As Path explores new avenues of monetization, the company has ruled out advertising revenue, deciding instead to offer paid subscriptions. The three-year-old Path has built up a base of 20 million on the premise of offering a private social network that limits users to 150 friends. "We're excited to start making money on this," product manager Cynthia Samanian told Fast Company. Cofounder and CEO Dave Morin "has been very open about his sharing intentions for bringing a subscription model, and Path premium is the first step in that direction," she added.

The premium subscription will give users early access to items sold in the shop as well as unlimited access to sticker packs ($1.99 à la carte) and camera filters (some of which are free while others are sold for $0.99 apiece). An annual membership costs $14.99, but shorter terms are also available. Due to restrictions on iOS's and Android's app stores, users can elect for a month-to-month membership on iOS for $1.99 or for a three-month subscription for $4.99 on Android.

The latest update of Path also brings two new privacy features: private sharing and Inner Circle. The former allows users to share moments with specified friends and see who has viewed the post. "It's nice because everyone knows who's in this distribution in this privately shared moment, so they can comment and add emotions without worrying about who's seeing that feedback," Samanian said.

Users can also share to a designated group of friends called Inner Circle. This may sound vaguely like circles on Google Plus, but Samanian insists the search giant's social network didn't have an influence on Path's Inner Circle. "We really didn't look at Google Plus at all," she said. "A lot of what we did was from our users and feedback from them."

Unlike Plus, where users can create many circles, Path chose a single circle. "We think the combination of private sharing allows people to share on an ad hoc basis. We didn't want to overcomplicate things and believe in the simple design of having one Inner Circle among a group of 150."

[Image: Flickr user wonderlane]

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  • Michael Flores

    I love Path but not enough of my friends use it for me to actually buy the subscription. I buy all of the filters though, to have more unique photos to share out to other networks.

  • Path-Man

    I use Path with my group of friends daily. It is easily my favorite social network out there.  I'll definitely be paying the subscription fee, but the beauty of the set up is that there's no need to pay if you don't care to.  Path will continue to work every bit as well as before wether you pay the $14.99 or not.