Will people pay for social networking?
Before you say, “absolutely not,” take a look at Chicago Social Network
. The site launches today and costs, according to Crain’s Chicago Business
, between $9 and $79 per month, based on the @Chicago.com email address you choose to purchase.
What kind of social networking bang will you get for your bucks? Unlike Facebook, Chicago Social Network promises to be advertiser free and won’t sell your information.
Chicago.com CEO Josh Metnick believes his network will offer plenty that the bigger players can’t—namely its open-source Diaspora functionality.
In an email to PR Daily
, he explains:
“Diaspora is fundamentally different in that user information is treated with greater respect: ‘Your information is yours’ concept. Over time, we will build deeper Chicago area functionality than the broader-based networks. As well, you get a portable, lifetime Chicago.com email identity which even the biggest networks cannot provide.”
Crain’s reports that Metnick has owned the Chicago.com domain name since 2001, and recently decided to convert the site into a social network and exclusive email domain. Metnick purchased the Chicago.com domain name for $500,000, according to The New York Times
So why now? We asked Metnick that question:
“Social networking online has been around in one form or another since BBS's, Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL,” he says. “Technologies change quickly. We felt the timing was right as the Diaspora codebase allows us to provide a valuable social networking platform for people who don’t subscribe to Mark Zuckerberg's vision of cyberspace.
“As the blazing growth of Pinterest and now Zynga's new social network shows— there's plenty of room for innovation. We don't want to be the largest social network in the world, we just want to be the most ‘Chicago.’”