So – you are super rich, well connected, and have no desire to mix with the riff-raff of common folk at Facebook or Twitter. Or maybe you are one of the “Beautiful People” and want to protect your gene pool. Quite the dilemma – where do the billionaires, the beautiful, the super elite and trend-setters of the world go to network online?
You get the nod to join one of a handful of exclusive social networks that are open strictly by invitation, like the ones on this list. Have a look at some of the top sites for this gated online community.
These social networking sites are for the elite of the society, and because these are invitation only sites, the criteria for elite is of course defined by the elite themselves. These spaces of the rich provide them with a platform where they can flirt, swap advice, plan parties and find new pals without mixing with the commoners.
aSmallWorld, founded in 1998, is an exclusive social networking site launched in 2004 by former Lehman Brothers banker Erik Wachtmeister. With 320,000 members globally, the site was termed `MySpace for millionaires’ by Wall Street Journal. But don’t rush to the site to sign up – membership is strictly by invitation only. Newcomers are considered on the basis of education, profession and most important, their network of personal contacts. If you don’t know a member, then you are quite simply out of the loop and relegated to observer status only.
Once invited to join the network, a member can browse the market guide, surf the luxury-travel guide and global-event guide, or participate in forum discussions — one of the site’s most active and popular features. Members can interact with like-minded individuals who share the same circle of friends, interests, and schedules. Members range from entrepreneurial and business opinion makers to leaders in media, entertainment, fashion, art and sports. Most of the websites content is produced by the members only who offer travel suggestions, feedback, lively forum discussions, and other topics of common interest.
Members include rich and famous “A-listers” such as Naomi Campbell, Marcus Schenkenberg, Ivanka Trump, Bruno Santos, Massimiliano Neri, Isabeli Fontana, Lisa Cant, James Blunt, and Josh Groban, Quentin Tarantino, Renny Harlin, Andrew Waller, Tiger Woods, Emanuele Filiberto Di Savoia, James Ferragamo and David Reuben, to name just a few.
Sugar Daddies and Sugar Mamas unite! This ultra-prestigious dating site connects attractive women, and successful established men. If you’re a rich playboy, or a beautiful girl seeking an older, financially secure man, this site cuts to the chase.
Created in 2007, Diamond Lounge claims to be a luxury online space aimed at those who want a sophisticated and classy alternative to the standard online dating and social networking websites. Or it could be for those rich men and women who want to make sure that they get the proper, pre-screened companions. This gene pool does have a lifeguard.
As for membership, the site says that its members are “eligible, professional individuals who appreciate the benefits of an exclusive and private environment where they can date and socialise with likeminded people.” According to owner Arya Marafie, DiamondLounge.com focuses mainly on dating and fun, just like an exclusive online club. However, being wealthy won’t automatically get you in the door. The person also needs to be interesting and bring something to the table. Of course, the very wealthy part goes without saying.
The average age of members is between 35 to 40, significantly older than MySpace or Facebook. Potential club members can apply online and will be accepted or declined based on what they do and whom they know. Members have to pay a $50 monthly fee.
The company claims that it spends a tremendous amount of time making sure that they select the right club members, because these are the people who will invite the next group.
Membership to this site is not defined by money, but by age and educational status. College students haven’t yet started to earn their fortunes, but they sure do see themselves as a unique group. And many want that to define the club to which they belong.
Facebook started out as a place for college kids to meet and greet, but the 500 million-member network has ballooned to include just about everyone on the internet, from marketers to Moms to middle schoolers. CollegeOnly, a new social network from the mind of Josh Weinstein, a New York-based entrepreneur who also created RandomDorm (Chatroulette for the college set) and GoodCrush (a university-centric dating site), has come to gate the college student community once again. CollegeOnly launched at around seven different schools in time for the 2010 school year, including Yale, in which over half of the student population has signed up.
Why? Quite simply – college students can upload photos or post what they are up to with parents and potential employers looking on – a virtual impossibility on Facebook.
As the name suggests – actually, quite clearly states - if you aren’t beautiful, this is not the place for you. In fact, this exclusive match-making site actually kicked out several thousand members who it decided were too fat or too ugly to be there. While this may have raised some loud complaints, there is also the argument that it is their business, their website, and they can do what they want.
Since its launch in October 2009, the “club” has rejected nearly 1.8 million unattractive people from 190 countries. From the total number of hopefuls, about 400,000 new members have been admitted. Sweden, Brazil and Norway are proving to be the most beautiful countries overall, with applicants from Germany and the UK among the least successful.
BeautifulPeople.com now has a global membership which exceeds 540,000. Up to 4 million unique visitors visit the site daily. Wherever the site has launched, it has sparked controversy and debate. It has even spawned rival websites catering to rejects and various attempts have been made to block the service in the Middle East. Robert Hintze, founder of BeautifulPeople.com, said: “Despite considerable backlash against us, the numbers don’t lie – we are catering to a very clear demand. BeautifulPeople.com may be morally ugly to our critics, but our growing success is a very beautiful truth.”
Reality: just deal with it. Maybe that is why it is called the “ugly truth”.
Quintessentially is a luxury-lifestyle concierge service started by Prince Charles’s nephew in 2000. This private members club with a 24-hour global concierge service has offices in highly moneyed cities around the world, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Jburg, Cannes, and, of course, Dubai.
The club sells its staff of luxury concierges who help its upscale clients by “accessing the inaccessible”. And really, who doesn’t need access to these essential services, such as getting last minute front row seats at fashion shows, finding luxury gifts in a hurry (with someone else doing the legwork and actual shopping), attending VIP after-parties, getting dinner reservations at the exclusive hot spots, attending film premieres around the world, chartering yachts and getting on the guest list for elite charity galas.
Membership to Quintessentially is accepted on a tiered basis, with some open and some invitation only:
General Membership – $1,500 (plus $300 joining fee) per year. This offers 24-hour access to the world’s finest lifestyle management service.
Dedicated Membership – $5,000 (plus $500 joining fee) per year. A dedicated relationship manager will deliver personalized attention to your every need.
Elite Membership – Price available upon application. The invitation-only service for the world’s top movers and shakers.