What's the short version?
In short, Waterfall is a microblogging site, similar to those you might have used before, with a particular focus on providing tools for artists.
When and why did Waterfall start?
Waterfall started in late 2018. While there were seeds of discontentment before then, a certain site we're all familiar with banning a lot of content was the straw that broke the camels back.
The core considerations when starting the site were as follows:
- The only viable alternative was pay-for-signup and lacked major features,
- Social media sites constantly sell user data and build profiles on you,
- All social media sites were based in the USA,
- The main site of this type is buggy as hell and there was a point to prove about that,
- Platforms become increasingly hostile to artists over time in favour of maximising profits, and
- There were none that were truly indepedent.
Additionally, a frustration with how overly corporate the sites are - both the big social media sites and the sole alternative at that point - led to wanting to create something that stayed away from that. Development of Waterfall started on December 7th 2018, with the first public build made available three days later.
Initially, it was expected the site would get maybe a hundred users or so and just be a fun portfolio piece. A combination of the poor quality of other alternatives that showed up at the same time, and the fact that it exceeded this expectation almost immediately, means that Waterfall is now a serious project in its own right.
Who makes Waterfall?
Waterfall is made and run by one guy. See above for why I'm putting myself through this.
With that said, Waterfall does run under the umbrella of a corporate entity, with myself as the sole staff member and shareholder. This is because, simply put, the system is rigged in favour of corporations, and it was worth doing for the legal protections so if the site gets sued my life isn't over. It also makes paying taxes a bit simpler. It sucks, but when the deck is stacked how it is, you should take whatever protections you can get.
Where is Waterfall based?
Waterfall is based in the UK, and so follows UK laws on things. This also means users benefit from stronger security and privacy protections than they would on US-based sites. While the UK isn't part of the EU anymore, it still follows GDPR, and the privacy protections will be upgraded to meet the minimum standard of whatever the strongest rules are globally at the time where possible.
How does Waterfall make money?
Waterfall is extremely unlikely to ever be profitable on its own, or really even pay a living wage, and that's okay. It's funded primarily through the developer's Patreon, with savings and occasional freelance work as a backup.
The site in no way keeps profiles on users or sells any of their data, and never will. The site also doesn't run ads. No features are locked behind a paywall.
If you'd like to support the site and help it keep its independence, feel free to support the Patreon, if you're financially able. Note that the Patreon funds multiple projects, of which Waterfall is the main one, so you'll get early access to a bunch of other stuff too.
How can I help the site?
The best way to help the site is simply to bring more people in. You can also let me know about bugs, or request features to improve the site over in the GitHub repository.
Why use Waterfall over similar sites?
There's no real reason you couldn't use multiple sites, and it's up to you how much effort you want to expend on doing so. However...
- Waterfall doesn't sell data on you
- Waterfall is 100% user funded
- Waterfall has a system dedicated to protecting art and artists from art theft
- There's a community Discord server that serves direct line to the developer to suggest features, get help, and ask for reasoning on decisions (accountability!)
- Waterfall is completely independent from any large corporate entity
- Waterfall doesn't lock "premium" features behind a subscription - if it's on the site, everyone can use it
... are all reasons you might want to consider the site.