According to a report from metro.co.uk, A network known as “Netropolitan” is offering social networking for the elite. The site will cost “£5,500 or $9000 to join plus nearly £2,000 or $3000 in annual membership fees.” The site is quoted to say that its purpose is for people to be able to discuss such topics as “fine wines, fancy cars, and lucrative business decisions without judgement.” The founder of Netropolitan, James Touchi-Peters likens the website to “real world social clubs or country clubs,” and points out that most of those “charge many multiples of what we’re charging.”
What Happens in Netropolitan, Stays in Netropolitan
Entrepreneur magazine answers the “whys” of joining such a site. “Once you’re part of the in crowd you can do things like post a status message, create groups, and join discussions on the site about everything from wine to vacation destinations. For the most part all the same things you can do on Facebook, except without the hassle of less affluent people cramming up your feed.” The reports shares that Netropolitan’s privacy rules are much stricter than those of Faceook. For example, Netropolitan is not indexed by any search engines. When non-members try to access the site, all they can see is the login screen. Any messages to the site or from the site are also encrypted, giving an added bonus of privacy. There are no ads on Netropolitan, although the site does include an “internal classified section.”
Not the First High-end Social Networking Site
A 2008 article in Forbes shares other networking sites which were aimed at the rich. In that article, Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute states, “It’s taken a while for wealthy consumers to start using networking sites, mostly due to privacy issues and concerns. But now they want to leverage all those social-networking advantages. Before, they had the opportunity to network at annual international meetings, but now they can connect to like-minded people in Dubai or anywhere in the world in an instant.” Luxury Institute is a “New York-based research company that focuses on high-net-worth individuals.”
Elite Social-networking; The Early Years
One of the earliest social-networking sites created for the elite was ASmallWorld, launched in March of 2004 by a banker from Lehmer Brothers known as Erik Wachmeister. He explained, “I realized there was an existing community of people who are connected by three degrees of separation: They stay at the same resorts when they travel, frequent the same restaurants and have similar lifestyles. They needed a platform to share and receive information–it was a huge untapped opportunity.”
Since the creation of AsmallWorld, there has been many others to follow. Diamondounge.com, LuxuryRatings.com, Squa.re, and Quintessentially have all launched as well. Some of these sites have very strict and expensive application processes, while other are more lenient. All are meant to cater to the rich while offering them the chance to “hang out” with people from their own class with more privacy than is offered from Facebook and LinkedIn.