Do you have a Facebook? Who doesn’t. Facebook is the dominant social network of our time, with one billion users, more than one billion USD in revenue (that’s 41 billion pesos!) and a company worth of about $90 billion.
Facebook is one of the most powerful corporations on the planet, and not just in the tech sector. So I was someone skeptical when I was recently invited to check out a new social networking site by a friend of mine who hates Facebook.
The latest alternative to Facebook is a tiny, unknown upstart called Zurker. It’s still in private beta, so you need an invitation to sign up (here).
Unlike Facebook’s most recent challenger, Google+, Zurker is not backed by a cash-rich and powerful corporation. It’s not backed by anyone, in fact. So how do they plan to go up against the Facebook juggernaught?
It’s actually quite clever. Zurker is owned by the members who use it. One of the first sites to deploy crowdfunding strategically, Zurker rewards members with credits when they refer other members. These credits can be used to reserve a stake in Zurker. The reasoning is that if the site owned by its members, who actively contribute to its evolution and development, Zurker can develop a superior application to Facebook. Zurker’s motto is that democracy will always triumph autocracy; a site managed for the benefit of the members, as opposed to a site milked for the benefit of corporate investors, will be more user-fiendly and feature-rich.
That’s the theory. The day Zurker beats Facebook is clearly a long way away. So far, Zurker has raised more than $100,000 (4 million pesos) from its members, which may sound a lot but is a far cry from the millions of dollars raised by typical Silicon Valley startups (Pinterest recently raised $34 million). The interface design is nothing remarkable, and the application is still somewhat clunky. But the members assure me that Zurker has evolved by leaps and bounds since it was first released in December, 2011. Still, they have a long way to go. On the site, I noticed many complaints about the lack of live chat, search, and mobile apps.
If you are expecting a Facebook clone, prepare to be surprised. Zurker have done their own thing. The lead developer, who goes by the name of “Berzurker,” asserts that Zurker can never beat Facebook by being a second-rate copy. One interesting thing I noticed is that Zurker have experimented with different ways of bringing social news to their members. For example, you can see your network’s top activity, both by date and by hashtag (Zurker call these “zones”). If you are plagued by information overload, but are worried about missing important posts, this is a useful feature to have.
For the entrepreneur, one big drawback is that pages for businesses (called “entities” on Zurker) aren’t ready yet. Consequently, though you can build personal connections, Zurker isn’t much use for corporate marketing yet. There is no set date for the release of entities, either: they say entities will be ready once “we exit from private beta testing.”
For the meantime, it’s probably a good thing to sign up and gain a presence early on. Here’s the invitation link again. Zurker Philippines (Zurker is divided by region) is still small compared to Zurker US, Zurker Europe, and Zurker India, so you’ll be one of the first Pinoys to join.
Will Zurker one day overtake Facebook? What’s your opinion? Post it in the comments!
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How To Start a Catering Business (Kindle Edition) tagged "business" 76 times
18 May 2011 at 7:12pm
How To Start a Catering Business (Kindle Edition)
By Lyn Beck
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