The Internet was once an ideal world. This is where you could see equality, freedom of expression and righteousness being real and not just yellow leaflets of a human rights book. There were no divisions of powerful or weak, beautiful or ugly, rich or poor from behind that screen. But then, like every other promising place in this universe, the rich and famous kids came along to change the game forever.
We all know about the most popular social media networks in the world. But just like the real world, the rich and cool kids don’t necessarily hang out at the most popular places ever. Any product or service made for the rich is based on one thing alone.
The rich don’t like to do things the commoners do or the way the commoners do it. You can offer them the most average service ever, but it’ll cost the bomb as long as it’s exclusive and the other rich fishes are swimming in it. All of it works on one simple premise “Money pulls money”.
I tried to analyze - what is so special about these social networks that makes them different?
It’s definitely not the design from the looks of it. Most of these look very average from whatever limited glimpses we could catch. Though the membership criteria definitely applies a big bad filter to the web. Most of these websites aren’t open to public viewing on the web. Some allow you access only till the login page. These pages are open to viewing only for the registered ip addresses or devices. Needless to say, all of them have mobile apps for use. A lot of them have invitation only memberships. While some of them charge a big yearly fee upfront for memberships. A few of these websites actually do a lot vetting before they let you join. This includes showing off the wealth accumulated in your bank accounts or proving that you have travelled a certain number of countries. In essence, you better be celebrity or a business magnate (or their child).
So let’s look at the social networks where the rich, powerful and famous are putting up pictures of the new gold LV bags for their exotic crossbreed cats.
1) A Small World
The most popular network amongst the elite currently is ASW. It has been functional since ’04 and some of their prime faces include the likes of Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell etc. This is arguably the best advertising platform the premium services industry has ever had.
What do you need to do to get in?
- You need an invitation from the website. You can try shooting an E-mail across but from what I gathered, a reference or two really helps.
In a rebranding move that caught much attention, ASW decided to cut down it’s size from 850,000 members to cap it at 250,000, last year. They simply terminated the memberships of these 600,000 people and renewed memberships of the chosen 250,000. All of this done over, hold your breath, an E-mailer. Some famous names that got the kick from ASW were Tiger Woods and Lindsay Lohan.
Another elitist operation, this social network works on a different model than ASW. They will make you sign a fat cheque of $9000 to register on the network followed by a $3000 renewal fee every year. So that’s impressive. But what do they offer in that money?
This website is completely private and secured. It’s not even indexed by the hungry worms of Google. All the messages are encrypted. This network is completely advertising free. For all the money they charge it’s only legit that one doesn’t see annoying ads around. Perfect recipe for the elite to start discussing the real details of their lifestyle, no?
Netropolitan has often been the center of a lot of negative attention. It’s a classic case of commoners vs the royalty and the commoners have taken to facebook and twitter to denounce their positioning. Netropolitan doesn’t even try to be subtle about it’s positioning though, which is very apparent in their taglines :
"Connect with people within your social status, but outside your social circle"
"Netropolitan: The online country club for people with more money than time."
For all the show wealth, there always comes along a chance for goodwill. This is a platform for the rich but with it’s heart in the right place. At least that’s what they claim. This community is all about philanthropy and there are a strict set of vetting filters despite your sheer will to do good.
Members can get in if they have a net worth of above $1 million or if they earn more than $200k a year. Alternatively you can have 5 of your already financially vetted member friends to invite you to the community. What’s in it? You get to ask for funds and promote your charity with the people having the right resources and power. In other perks you can avail a 24 hour concierge, exclusive discounts, attend parties and other socialite stuff. Fancy!
4) Angels’ Club
One for them and one for you, goes the saying. For one platform of philanthropy, there exists one for pure fun. Angels’ Club is exactly what it sounds like. This is what you get when you try to access it.
To get into this gig, one needs to have money and more importantly, social status. CEOs, actors, musicians, sports stars, models and the likes seem to be the target audience sweet spot. Invitations are not enough to get one registered and clearly glamour is a plus. Apparently one of the perks of being a part of this network is the bragging right of being a part of this network. Some marketing! Though we’re not really sure if this club is still active or not. Our guess is that it is.
It claims to be a social network for ‘international people’. That definitely sounded shady to me. And then I had a look at their design. This is a shade too shady to be premium. Don’t even bother with this.
In hindsight, I’ve done a lot of research and found these few networks. But the possibility of the existence of a highly encrypted network for the really rich and powerful both excites and scares me. It should scare you too. Imagine if the top 1000 most powerful and wealthy in the world are discussing their plans of further world domination over not satellite phones but a closed social network. But then how would that be social? Gah, I hate ending articles without contemplating over the Illuminati. I didn’t just say that.