Facebook — for rich people (for just $9,000)
By Doug Gross, CNN
Would you enjoy social media more without all those pesky 99-percenters complaining about their mortgage payments and high cable bills?
For a mere $9,000, Netropolitan is here to help.
Launched Tuesday, Netropolitan bills itself as “the online country club for people with more money than time.”
To join, users must pony up $9,000 for dues and a membership fee, then another $3,000 per year after that.
If it all seems like a joke — an elaborate ruse in an age when Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social networks are free — the man behind the idea assures you it is not.
“This is 100% real, and I believe there is a need and an audience for this service,” said James Touchi-Peters, Netropolitan’s founder.
Touchi-Peters, 48, a composer and former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, said he had trouble finding people to whom he could relate on other social sites.
“I saw a need for an environment where you could talk about the finer things in life without backlash — an environment where people could share similar likes and experiences,” he said.
The hefty initiation fee, he said, “ensures that our membership remains exclusive, but also private.”
Members must be at least 21 years old and must register using their real names. Once in, they may form groups around common interests, but will have access to posts and status updates by all other users.
There are no ads, the site is not indexed by search engines, and moderators are active at all times to police bad behavior (like spamming ads for your own business).
Clicking an ever-present button will call up a “Member Service Associate” to provide help with the site at any time. That’s a nicety that the folks at Netropolitan want to make sure isn’t abused by its anticipated clientele, though.
“Please understand that Netropolitan is NOT a concierge service,” the site’s FAQ section reads. “Our Member Service Associates will not book you a charter jet, or find you tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. They exist solely to help members technically navigate and find their way around the social club.”
Touchi-Peters declined to say how big he hopes the site’s user base will grow. It has been seeded with “a select group of pre-qualified members” and will always be exclusive, he said.
And if it all comes off as just so elitist, Touchi-Peters notes that it’s an online, and mobile, idea with plenty of real-word precedent.
“We view Netropolitan.club in the same light as any country club out there,” he said. “They have initiation fees and yearly dues for members. Netropolitan is an online country club, focused on connecting members around the world. We believe there is a need for a community like this, and we are filling the need.”