Have a spare $9,000? Join Facebook for the rich

Want to talk about your Porsche or your new jet but uncomfortable doing it on Facebook? There's a new social network for you.

Want to talk about your Porsche, your takeover of a company or your new jet but uncomfortable doing it on Facebook?

There's a new social network for you.

Netropolitan.club is a new social network for the wealthy. Unlike social sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are free to join, to become a member of the Netropolitan Club, there's a $6,000 registration fee and annual dues of $3,000, for a total first year cost of $9,000. That membership fee means users won't see third-party or display advertising, according to Netropolitan.

The site describes itself as "the online country club for people with more money than time." It also bills itself as an exclusive online community.

Memberships to the Netropolitan Club went on sale Tuesday. Members must be 21 years old to join and must agree not to divulge the identities of other members to anyone outside of the network.

"Meet like-minded individuals from across the globe who share your lifestyle and interests," the company noted on its site. "The entire service is inaccessible from the public Internet, including search engines. All member transmissions to and from Netropolitan are encrypted."

Netropolitan's founder is James Touchi-Peters, an American composer and the former principal conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Traveling the world as an orchestra conductor and composer, I quickly realized my life is different," Touchi-Peters said in an email to Computerworld. "Many people cannot relate to my lifestyle or my interests. I was longing to connect on that level. That's how Netropolitan came to be."

A spokeswoman for the social network declined to say how many people have signed up for Netropolitan but said the site was launched with a "pre-qualified group of members" who had been testing the site.

The company noted that apps for Android and Apple devices are on the way.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said the site could catch on with people who are eager to connect with others in their own tax bracket.

"I the people that join would like the fact that it's exclusive -- the thesis being that wealthy people want to only interact with outer wealthy people," he said. "Instead of how can I make the monthly payment on my Toyota, I can talk about why my Porsche uses so much gas and other first-world problems."

Kerravala added that there's a market for everything, including being seen in the right social circles -- even if they're virtual circles.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, is more doubtful that the Netropolitan Club will find a footing in the social networking world.

"Nice try but I don't think it will work," he said. "What's the incentive for the first entrants to pony up the $9,000? It's not a desirable property until there's a built-up membership. Without any members, it's an empty shell."

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