Spark.ly describes itself as the "definitive social and economic ecosystem that empowers people around the world to communicate, engage in commerce and have fun in a culturally aware and profitable virtual environment." With a BETA launch date of June 16, 2009, nobody knows yet whether that description is an illusion, bravado, grand self-promotion or truly the next big shiny thing. To date there are no blogs written, no product announcements, and no press releases to alert the media. One would think with a June 16th launch date, Spark.ly should be 'sparking' a few conversations out there? Or is this part of their master marketing plan to create buzz about their emerging online kingdom?
In a recent zMogo article about the "Attention Economy." Twitter was compared to a medieval society:
- Twitter with its medieval-like armies of “followers and followed” is a fitting example of how the Attention Economy works. The value of one’s fiefdom on Twitter is based on how many followers we have and thus how many people read our words. In essence we grow our power base as digital feudal lords by winning the attention of a huge army of followers. In place of food and shelter provided in the days of feudalism, we exchange information for one’s loyalty.
So I dug deeper to see if Spark.ly was working off of the same premise. Upon further research I was able to surface a single post issued by Shane S. Murray with the curious title of "Chief Evangelist." On May 30, he invited folks to the Spark.ly web site to sign up for a Beta launch of their "economic ecosystem." Presently no one is allowed past the home page (assumingly until June 16).
With their logo stating "spark a revolution," Murray hails Spark.ly as a space that allows global voices to function in "three realms."(hm-mm "realms"... another reference to feudalism economics?)
- 1- Social Networking - enabling members to organize and communicate with their social networking universe from one location.
- 2- Commerce - every member is given a free storefront to sell their items or other members’ items to the world. We connect people with ideas to people with distribution channels via their intelligent marketplace.
- 3- Social Media - they educate and inform their members via self organizing knowledge sharing communities. Think of it as a newspaper in 35 languages with content provided by their members and edited by community managers and editors held to the highest ethical standards.
According to Murray, "by combining Social Networking, Commerce, and Social Media we give our members a powerful voice that allows them to collaborate, exchange, and compete globally."
Spark.ly’s founders, Glen Starchman and Murray have been friends for over 20 years. They describe themselves as "expats used to getting things done globally from remote locations, Glen is based in Edmonds, Washington and Shane in Malmo, Sweden."
Pushing further into this announcement page, it appears that Spark.ly will allow direct messaging with other existing social networks.
Here, Spark.ly allows its feifdom members to send messages to their contacts via the native messaging API of the underlying service. In this screenshot the user is sending a Facebook message to a connection within his Facebook sphere of influence. For Twitter accounts, digital lords and their followers will have the option of sending either a direct (private message) or a reply (an ‘@’ message) to the connection.
Should this blog have sparked some interest, you might want to contact the Chief Evangelist for more insights as to how the Spark.ly kingdom will become the "definitive social and economic ecosystem," because all I see here (so far) is a "castle in the sky."
Shane S. Murray
+ 46 76 18 39 577
Skype : Spark.ly