Are you seeing invites to join the new community owned social media platform ZURKER?

On the surface it looks like a good idea – rather than a big corporation owning the platform – it is designed as a cooperative – where the initial membership own virtal shares (vshares).   According to the Australian website “Zurker is the only social network owned by its members. Not only do you own your content on Zurker, you own part of the actual social network itself! Members get vShares (a stake of ownership, or equity) in Zurker for referring their friends (without which a social network doesn’t function anyway).”  It sure is an interesting concept.     As a lover of Social Media I had to join in order to be able to truely examine the platform –  how could I not!  But whether I stay will depend how it grows and the content it offers.

The appeal I can see will be massive – who wouldn’t want to be part of something that could potentitally be a multi billion dollar enterprise – and for free!

There are different versions for different countries and the way I understand it you can only earn from shares you obtained from members signing up under your link in the same country.   Be aware that these vshares are not transferrable and have no value – the value will come when they reach their target and become a public company, when the vshares will be converted to real shares.

At the moment it is clunky as it is in BETA and membership is through invitation only (hence the number of invites appearing).  Zurker was released by stealth last November/December and has been in BETA testing since January 2012.    Post BETA stage, decisions on the platform will be via vote from membership.

According to their FAQs they aim to be the “biggest and bestest” social media site within 10 years.  Its point of difference is that it’s shareholders are also its users.     You don’t like.. you ZURK

What I do sense is that there will be a stack of spammy “follow my blogs” with people pushing to  get people to sign up because of the potential to earn money.     You earn vshares by inviting others to join or by buying additional vshares.   I’ m not sure how they would prevent a corporation purchasing shares though and buying a big share of the vote, but in all honesty I have only just browsed around the site.    What they do say however is that they will provide open books – transparent financial accounts so that membership can see what has been invested.  They do encourage investment – and as a start up with a very different approach there will be risks – but is the opportunity worth it?      It is not multi level marketing as the invitation links are one level only.

As a online reputation management specialist my BIGGEST concern will be what protection there is for children joining the site – what kind of content will be allowed on the site if the rules are decided by a vote of members – it could go either way.    As it currently states in the terms of service, Zurker is only open to people who are 18 or older, which makes me wonder about how much adult content will be available.  You don’t enter your age, just tick a box that says you are over 18 so  I don’t have a lot of faith it that.

Duplicate profiles are not allowed, but Facebook says that too and we know people still do it.  Also unlike facebook, nicknames and pseudonyms seem to be allowed.    They do state that all accounts will be closed if there are duplicates, but policing this will be difficult.     They also state that spamming, fraud, trolling etc will not be tolerated which all sounds good.      When you sign up you will be informed that this is the only account you are permitted to own, you cannot change the email although you can also have up to 30 email addresses associated with the account .   If you create business pages they must be linked to your main profile.

They do have a sense of humour and offer options for multiple personality disorder!  Tongue in cheek I am sure!

Not so good is their liability clause which basicially says that the owners are not liable for any loss of information or misuse of it – lets hope they are keeping our information safe.

Will we be suckers for Zurker?    If you want to check it out heres  the link – (and yes this is my membership link – its the only way to join – via invite).

Want a quick look – Introducing Zurker

I hope to get lots of feedback on what the rest of you think about this new platform and whether you think the concept will unseat Facebook and Google+?