Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Can't Join My SECRET Site

"Refer a friend" button: okay. Bigger "refer a friend" button: I can take it. Forcing me to give my gmail password so that you can invite everybody I've ever emailed: NOT cool.

Over the last couple of years I've seen many sites use increasingly more aggressive tactics to get you to invite your friends to join the site. My favorite are the ones that innocently ask you for your gmail password (to save you time, of course), and don't quite tell you they're gonna email EVERYBODY you know saying "Luis is PERSONALLY inviting YOU to join!" I understand the desire to become viral, but at some point you have to wonder whether this actually works. From a psychological standpoint, I would assume it's not great to seem so...desperate?

So I'd like to try an experiment using the opposite tactic: making everybody want to join my highly exclusive, SECRET, site. If you join the site, the first rule is that you cannot tell ANYBODY about this site (like Fight Club). The only way to join is if somebody who is a member tells you the secret AND if all the current members vote you in once you know the secret. But that's the kicker: it's against the site rules for a member to tell anybody the secret, and if we find that a member told somebody the secret, we throw them out. So the only way for the site to grow is if the members secretively tell the secret and then lie about it. Let's see if we can make this grow faster than PushyWeb2.0SiteX.com.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Luis. I just heard about your not-secret blog. I think you're on to something with the secret site, too. Have you ever heard of a music sharing site called OiNK? I've heard that it was quite successful with a similar strategy, for a while.

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  2. Luis,

    A meeting has been held regarding the contents of your post. A decision has been reached. Your account has been deleted.

    Please erase all data from your computers and return the sacred Fez, or else.

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  3. What you're describing is a tried-and-true marketing tactic of making yourself seem exclusive. Facebook did this early on by only allowing users from ivy league schools which made them stand out from Friendster, Classmates, ... The Gilt Group (www.gilt.com) made their consumer buying service invite-only to make it seem like it's a privilege to be one of their customers.

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  4. Not the secret Fez! (and: Hi Abie!)

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  5. What You Ought to Know has one of these, they call themselves "the 23" and you can't even get to the secret website until you prove to them that you deserve in.

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  6. rules one and two... rules one and two >;-(


    and rule 34 :-)

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. It worked for Madoff, to the tune of $50 billion...

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  9. madoof is doing 150 years. The web and internet are public media. Prisoner's Dilemma is negotiable. $10,000 was once offered to crack an encrypted file. Thus, secrecy is an invitation to disclosure, and locks only keep honest people out. Who pays you your salary?

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