Much has been written about Valley celeb Dalton Caldwell and his rather notorious new social network, App.net. The Twitter-like site charges $50 to join, in an effort to weed out spammers and people who aren’t really dedicated to the integrity of the community.
BuzzFeed wondered if the walled garden of App.net signaled the beginning of “white flight” from more inclusive sites. Venturebeat called Mr. Caldwell a “betrayed entrepreneur” crusading against Facebook and Twitter. But perhaps the most scathing critique comes from Ihave50dollars.com, a site built to look exactly like App.net that satirizes the fact that App.net is basically a social network for people with an extra $50 laying around.
“We’re building a real-time social service where users who have $50 and developers who have $100 come get to tell people that they have $50 or $100, respectively,” reads the site. For the “I have $50” member tier, you get a full year of telling people you have $50. For $100, you get the developer tier, which comes with a widget to embed on your blog that tells people you have $50.
The satirical site even mirrors the testimonials of the real App.net. “Like all of the other smart people (who have $50), I backed IHave50Dollars.com,” it quotes Instapaper creator Marco Arment as saying. “I’d like to see IHave50Dollars.com succeed. A realtime social feed for telling people I have $50 is worth real earth dollars to me,” says a Firefox engineer.
If you attempt to sign up, you’re directed to a page with a TED talk about slavery, and asked the pointed (but vaguely preachy) question, “You know who really needs $50?” Touche.
According to WhoIs records, Ihave50dollars.com was registered two days ago by Max Spiker of Superhuman Ventures, LLC, a Sarasota, Florida-based company, and a writer of the blog DMAD.com. We’ve reached out to Mr. Spiker to confirm it’s his site.
In the meantime, we’ll just be sitting here wishing we had $50.
Update: Mr. Spiker confirmed to Betabeat that he’s the mastermind behind the site. “After I stepped back from the herd mentality that was making app.net so popular I found it kind of absurd,” he wrote in an email. “I thought I’d have some fun and put a mirror up to it. I’m glad others got the joke. Then I thought I’d use the opportunity to point attention to something that I wish got more attention, resources, and brainpower than it currently does – from people who obviously have an extra $50 lying around.”