Democracy is a great idea, sure whatever, but more money can be made if you have a velvet rope to cordon off your plebes from your patricians.
Social media is about the last place we have equal footing in the world. But a new app cooked up by a team in Fort Lauderdale is seizing on man's inherent urge to divide the world into business class and coach -- and if it takes off, it could shake up your social media experience, offering pay-to-play exclusivity in what's until now been a free-market exchange of info.
According to a news release, VIPwink is an app that will allow subscribers to see tweets from certain accounts before anyone else.
The concept is that consumers throw down 99 cents a month to get access to a brand or celeb's VIPwink feed, where they'll get early access to messages ("winks") before they are blasted out to the rest of the plebes in the Twitterverse. You pay for the jump-start and exclusivity. The app creators say that if Twitter is a nightclub, VIPwink is the VIP section.
Down here with norms, working stiffs, and other groundlings, this doesn't seem to make sense -- no one is interested in getting a sneak peak at that witty joke about "True Detective" that you spent all morning coming up with or hearing before anyone else about how good that burrito was at lunch. Sorry.
But this is a pitch to Big Ol' Business -- mainly brands and big-name celebrities, who would get a cut of the money people spend on VIPwink access, not to mention the data from all the VIPwink subscribers.
"Celebrities, what if you had contact information for your Twitter followers?," the company's CEO Steve Adelstein pitches in a news release. "What if you could give access to only your most devoted fans? And what if you could make money while doing it? Celebrities are getting nothing -- data or money-wise -- from Twitter, and they have so much to gain from VIPwink."
The example the founders use is Katy Perry. With 54.2 million Twitter followers, if 20 percent of the singer's followers signed up with the app, "she would gain over $30 million and over 10 million fan email addresses in one year," the news release says. Is 99 cents worth knowing before anyone else that Katy Perry is sad-faced about Robin Williams' death?
The app soft-launched in July, with a full launch coming this fall.