Ever felt like there are too many poor people on Facebook? Don’t worry, because Netropolitan, dubbed “The Facebook for the Rich”, was launched a couple of days ago where users can discuss “everything from fine wines to classic cars to vacation destination recommendations”. Aimed at people who have more money than time, Dan Bilzerian might finally be able to join a social network that will appreciate him throwing porn-stars off of hotel roofs. Oh who am I kidding? We can all appreciate that!
The brainchild of James Touchi-Peters, former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, Netropolitan is aimed at the 1% that make up the world’s elite. Besides exclusivity, the website’s main attractions include privacy from outsiders, cloud-storage security, and a promise to remain ad-free.
So what does it take to join? A subscription fee of $9,000 and $3,000 for every year you wish to remain on, and use the social network. This may sound like a hefty price to us plebs, but according to Touchi-Peters in an interview with Vice, he said “It has [the response] exceeded our expectations. I mean, our business model is relatively unique, and because of that we knew we were going to get some attention, but we did not expect this. We really didn’t.” He went on to add “I’ve had several people tell me they don’t think the fee is high enough”. Damn – why hadn’t I thought of this?
Based on his interview, the service is meant to be more akin to Twitter, using the ‘follower’ method rather than the ‘friend’ method. He assumes most people are going to join the site to meet other people, adding “We’re assuming most people are going to join not to talk to their friends, but actually, to engage with people they do not know.” Sounds a bit like a digital ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ scenario to me.
However, if you dig deep and look into the back-end of the social network, things aren’t quite as you would expect. For one, the website is based on WordPress and uses its native content management system (CMS). It doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer), a protocol for encrypting information over the internet. They also claim not to be indexed by Google, which may be true, but if you search for “social network for wealthy people”, it brings up news results about the social network which ultimately link you to Netropolitan’s website. They are even using a standard WordPress theme for God’s sake.
What does all this tech-jargon mean? It means Touchi-Peters and his team is charging people $9,000 for membership to a website they have built for a few hundred dollars. Then again, what’s $9,000 to the ultra-rich?
I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg’s on it…