Wired News: Playas Pay to Spread the Luv

Wired has an article about a new networking site called FunHi, Wired News: Playas Pay to Spread the Luv. People join, pick a ganster personality type, post a picture and then give each other electronic gifts. These electronic gifts (like virtual airplanes or diamonds) cost less than a quarter on average and you can give them to anyone, but they can’t be regifted. You can also rate people on how cool or sexy they are.

FunHi has pulled in more than $10,000 in their first month. Talk about social networking and web based businesses!

Virtual Reality

The MIT Tech Review article My Avatar, My Self talks about virtual reality sites. You logon, define your character and wander around meeting with people, playing games, shopping, etc. It’s like the online games such as Everquest but you’re not playing a game. You’re talking to real people about whatever you want. It’s the first version of the “cyberspace” concept prevalent in science fiction books by authors like Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.

John Kerry, John Edwards & Friendster

Both John Kerry and John Edwards have Friendster accounts. If you belong to Friendster (signing up is free), you can invite them to be your friend and (if they accept your invitation) check out their profile.

Note, there are several John Kerry’s. The one with the picture of himself windsurfing is the one that is running for president. John Edwards is the one in the suit and a tie.

I read this in BusinessWeek.

Social Networking and Online Personality Tests

Tickle.com is an online personality test and social networking site discussed in Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know All About Me: Web Personality Tests. While the article is mostly about social networking and dating sites and how some of them like Tickle.com are adding personality tests to generate conversation and to aid in match making, it was really the second page of the article that caught my attention. They mention which company has bought or sold which social network. The whole idea that social networks can be bought or sold is either intriguing or disturbing depending on your mood. Each site has its own privacy policy but regardless of what privacy they’ve promised, the company still holds the data – the who knows who. Who thinks like who. Who’s emailed who. Who has the same interests. The applications are enormous and so is the potencial for abuse. Although in one sense they are self policing, any site that abuses its users is going to lose its users.

By the way, Tickle.com will let you take lots of tests, but unless you’re willing to pay for the detailed results (per test!), you won’t find out much.

Blog Epidemic Analyzer

Researchers at HP Labs created the Blog Epidemic Analyzer to track how ideas spread through blogs. They’ve found that the most popular blogs just pick up on ideas from lesser known blogs, often without giving credit. This is another perfect example of Malcolm Galdwell’s idea of social epidemics from The Tipping Point. (See my original
of the The Tipping Point.) Ideas spread through society, or through the web, from experts (who find the info) to networkers (who distribute them widely).

Speaking of giving credit, I
read about this on Wired. I was orginally pointed to Wired from Slashdot, another blog.

The Latest in Social Networking: Dogster.com

I laughed when I read this article, Internet goes to the dogs. Dogster is a social networking site, like Friendster, but for dogs. Before you laugh … the site has been extremely successful! You can create a web page for your dog with his/her nickname, likes, traits, interests, pictures of course and to complete the picture you can have links to all of your dog’s doggie friends’ pages! Since January more than 8,000 dogs have signed up. Holy Cow. That’s 8,000 people that maintain a web site for their dog … I guess I’d better get with the picture!

Note that the site is really slow today … they were featured on Slashdot and they are getting even more traffic than normal.

So that brings up one of my favorite topics … what different web applications can you think of? I know there’s money in dogs, and I’ve though of specialty dog foods, toys, services, etc, but I never dreamed of a dog networking site!


There’s an interesting article in the New York Times magazine about blogging. The article focuses on teenagers with blogs but I’ve found one of the subtopics, how public or private weblogs should be, is a common question among weblog creating or reading people of all ages.

I found both the link to the article and a list of online weblog hosting sites, Weblogs Compendium, on the Ramblintronics blog.

Online Networking

Speaking of Friendster and Orkut … a friend I haven’t seen since 1992 just sent me a Friendster invite! I haven’t heard yet how he found me. And on Orkut I found a high school classmate who I haven’t seen or heard of since 10th grade!

Online Dating and Criminal Checks

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about criminal check services for online dating, “Online-Dating Sites Unveil Self Background Checks.” They listed a couple of sites (like VerifiedPerson.com) that already provide the service. While definitely a great service, I don’t imagine many people will want to think that their potential date might NEED to be background checked. It’s a scary thought. The sites offer everything from height and weight verfication to criminal backgound checks. I was wondering if you could have some sort of “certify” button, so if you go out with someone, even if it doesn’t work out, you can click that you certify that they looked like their picture. My boyfriend said it wouldn’t work because people are too vindictive. I think people are too worried about what might come back at them to be mean.

I’ve used Match.com, but I like the sites like Friendster and Google’s new Orkut that allow you to meet people through your friends. You set up your profile and then you identify everybody else on the network that you know. Then when someone is looking at your profile (say one of your buddies who wants a date), they can see all of your friends. You can always see how a person traces back to you (so-and-so knows so-and-so who knows …), and you can see how their friends rated them in different categories. I had great fun seeing who all I knew and how the spider web spread out from there. You can also specify whether you are looking for dates, business contacts, friends, etc.