For This Social-Media Net, It's Quality, Not Quantity, of Members

Media Morph:

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NEW YORK ( -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: is an invitation-only social networking Web site for the well-connected jet set. is an invitation-only social networking Web site for the well-connected jet set.

What it is: It may be a small world after all, but you're probably not invited to this one. is an invitation-only social networking Web site for the well-connected jet set. Founder Erik Wachtmeister identifies the audience as the "3 million people connected three degrees. ... Our mission is to aggregate the collective intelligence of the world's most valuable demographic."

Who's backing it: The Weinstein Co. recently made an undisclosed "significant" investment in the site, leading a group of "prominent" investors that includes former AOL chairman Bob Pittman. According to the deal's announcement, the Weinstein Co. will contribute "extraordinary content" as well as leadership.

Who's using it: The Weinstein brothers, obviously. But other celebrities and notables with profiles on the site include model Naomi Campbell and socialite Paris Hilton. Rumored members include director Quentin Tarantino and model Ivanka Trump. So far the site has 130,000 members from 100 countries, though Harvey Weinstein said in a news report, "I think we'll become very successful with one million people, but we have to find the right one million."

How to join: According to the home page, has "imposed certain criteria in order to keep the network private and exclusive." Potential members must be referred by a friend and if you have no member friends "you simply need to be patient."

Why it matters: Like the fabled Black American Express Card, membership has its privileges, in this case in the form of exclusive information, tips and ratings along with bragging rights. ASmallWorld calls its audience "the world's most valuable demographic." And the demographics are impressive: 85% have at least a bachelor's degree (40% have a master's); more than 30% are in banking or consulting (interestingly, 7% claim advertising as their main occupation); and 97% live in the world's major cities. For advertisers, it's a controlled and measured way to reach those luxury buyers. And the ad price tag reflects the site's tony membership: The CPM for a banner is 70 euro ($90 at today's exchange rate), while flat-rate monthly sponsorships are 10,000 and 30,000 euro ($12,900 and $39,000).
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