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(Rumored) Winklevii's Social Network "Zurker" For The People & Of The People (Models too!)

Not content to sit on their laurels, nor the $65 million they pocketed from their lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their Facebook idea - the Winklevoss twins have launched their own network, named Zurker. Part investment opportunity, part chic-magnet, part-democratic social community, their innovative new wrinkle is to convince members they can become joint owners of their company.

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UPDATE (July 6):
After using the Khaleej Times and correspondent Prashant Vadgaonkar's report titled, "Zuckerberg Zurked," as my source for this post, I've researched further to learn that the Winklevoss twins may not have been involved with this start-up at all. In a Wired post, it appears that a serial entrepreneur by the name of Nick Oba may be the actual founder. However, Oba's past dealings are suspect as well, according to Lea Simpson, strategy director at digital agency TH_NK.

In her article, "Be Wary of the Cooperative Social Network Zurker," it appears that a magazine Oba founded titled Fortitude was owned by its users as well. Unfortunately, that go-around, Simpson intimates that a lot of those contributors were allegedly left out of pocket, and there are many forum threads containing emails allegedly written by Oba, in which he offers shares in Zurker by way of compensation.

At this juncture, the jury is still out. It's hard to say if Oba was acting on his own when he allegedly created this new social network, or indeed if he received some outside funding from the Winklevii, to kick-start Zurker. 

So, I leave the rest of this article in tact, as if the Winklevii acted as puppet-master - and will continue to research further to either prove or dispel this rumor. Readers, please let me know what you learn as well?

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In the graphic novel satire, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," the Winklevii twins (aka Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum) respond in an interview that Z-Man (aka Mark Zuckerberg) stole their idea, and they are parodied throughout the book as self-important rich kids constantly grumbling about their misfortune.

Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelPage from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
Fellow Harvard student collaborator Divya Narenda and the Winklevii initiated their suit against Facebook all the way back in 2004, accusing fellow class-mate Mark Zuckerberg of taking their idea for CONNECTU and transforming it into what we know today as Facebook.

Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelPage from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
The operative word in the above graphic is "dating" website. The Winklevii's initial raison d'être for their version of Facebook was to attract college co-eds. Ironically, almost a decade later, their arrested development mindset seems to be stuck on the idea of using a social network to attract eligible females.

Otherwise, why the focus on using only attractive young ladies in their Zucker ads and on the website? And why are the membership categories broken down as such: "colleagues," "family," "friends," and "models?"


However, chic-magnet aside, it looks like the Winklevii have come up with a sound new business model that pushes the envelope on a "Social Stock Market" site like Empire Avenue. Instead of using virtual currency (such as EA's eaves) to expand one's social media audience, Zurker is built on the premise of assimilating every member into actually becoming an investor in the company. The WinkleviiThe Winklevii

Here are some of the key components. Members become owners for free. After they register at Zurker.com (which is presently in Beta and may still require an invitation), members become "owners" in the company, entitling them to one vShare. Thereafter, once these new owners invite their friends to the site, they will be awarded one new vShare for every new referral.

On the "real" versus "virtual" side of the equation, one can also invest their own money to buy additional vShares to obtain more of an investment in the network. In total, Zurker is offering the sale of 1,000,000 vShares which translates to 1 vShare being equivalent to one millionth ownership in Zurker. The Winklevii are lauding the merits of a company built by its members, versus the Venture Capitalists that are responsible for the majority of the Silicon Valley's other social networks.

Post allocation of the million shares, Zurker will be incorporated as a public company and these vShares will be upgraded to public stock shares.

Zurker is using "open book accounting" methods, which ensures complete transparency in all of their dealings, and as an owner you are entitled to see how the site has gained financially and how much it's spent. According to reporter Prashant Vadgaonkar, "Zurker seems like a great novel project created by a few 'enthusiasts' against corporate greed and failed social networking offered by the competition that controls user’s data, accounts, and privacy."

However, it's that immature hint of "hound doggedness" that might cloud the judgment of new signups as to the legitimacy of this network. Are the Winklevii still stuck in their youth, similar to the original intentions of their nemesis, Mark Zuckerberg when he created "Facemash" which compared the looks of co-eds and asked visitors to identify who was "hotter?" Might the "v" in vShares not mean "virtual," but used subtly as a female body-part reference? If not, then why not call them rShares (or real shares)?

Time will tell on this one. Weigh in readers, and let us know if you'll be signing up for Zurker as an investment or for some other ulterior motive? And for those of the female persuasion, how does this sit with you?

Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelPage from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel

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Ron Callari
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Comments
Jul 5, 2012
by WebNode

Yeah. Whatever is happened

Yeah. Whatever is happened in the past in the establishments of these social networking sites, nobody knows the real truth unless a hard proof is available. Some claims to be their idea and others might have stolen it. But no one knows.

Zurker is going to be a new concept as it is providing public shareholders in the form of vshares. And as i concern, now people are after Zurker to be a part of the ownership in future if they open to public. 

It seems to be they are criticising the fb owner by using the site name as Zurker.

Jul 5, 2012
by Anonymous

Zucker, one of many initiatives

i think this initiative will not last long! It is hard to compete with the large social Networks as Facebook etc. Ruud Reijmerink

Jul 5, 2012
by Anonymous

bad deal

I think the entire thing is a bad deal. I guess the free vShares is cool, except it makes it seem like a pyramid scheme. The paying of money to own more shares seems like a scam though. I'm not interested in risking my money on something like that.

Jul 8, 2012
by Anonymous

blog topic

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further posts.

Jul 8, 2012
by Anonymous

It's not impossible...

...just the winklevii are retards...

Poor design, lack of ability to flood the market with only invites allowed. It's an old business strategy and the public know how it's played.

Reasons of failure

  1. - poor choice of colours. Not inviting and too corporate
  2. - poor name choice. Very cold and uninviting. They should just grow up, bow gracefully. Afterall 65mil is a lot of dosh to spend.
  3. - bad interface
  4. - Nothing groundbreaking
  5. - It's a bit of a short term solution. Giving vshares to me feels like they'll do it for a year or two. It might gain some business, then they'll run.
  6. - There are far too many social networks out there and this does not do anything different...apart from advertise to perves that the winklevii know models...Twitter is different to Facebook because the concept is different. That is why it works.
Jul 9, 2012
by Anonymous

blog topic

My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I should check things
out. I like what I see so i am just following
you. Look forward to looking at your web page repeatedly.

Jul 11, 2012
by Anonymous

blog topic

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Jul 12, 2012
by Anonymous

blog topic

Highly energetic blog, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

Jul 18, 2012
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

blog topic

No, Part 2 is not scheduled --- until I learn definitively that the Winklevii were indeed the "silent partners" behind this start-up? Any new information surfacting folks? 

Jul 27, 2012
by Anonymous

Sources ?

I may have already asked (and my comment not published), but where do you get your sources of information ? Without sources you can't affirm anything other than an opinion.

Jul 27, 2012
by Anonymous

Source

I found this other article you might find interesting: http://manurevah.com/blah/en/blog/Zurker---Making-Pyramids-Appear-Flat

Jul 27, 2012
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Sources ?

This article only speculates; i.e. "RUMORED" in the title. However in the disclaimer and the body of the article there are two links to the source of my story --> http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/expressi...

While, I've written to the reporter who first published his findings, I have not received a response as to his sources.

Therefore the remainder of my article is speculation and opinion- but I thought that was clearly stated.