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Your status, for sale

February 20, 2008

Update: Iyomu closed it’s doors. Buying people doesn’t work.

Anyone remember Iwon.com? In the late 90’s, a search companies like Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, Alta Vista, Yahoo, Dogpile, and a little upstart called Google fought for your search eyes. One day, they all thought, search would be profitable. Thus, a little outfit called Iwon.com tried to buy you, one search at a time.

It was simple. Every time someone used Iwon.com to search for something on the Internet, they were entered into a contest to win millions. There were weekly draws, monthly draws and an annual million dollar draw. Iwon.com tried to buy their way into popularity.

Eventually, most of us turned our search over to the elegantly simple Google. Not because we hated the flashy light Vegas feel of Iwon.com, but because Google returned what we were looking for. Which is the whole idea of a product — delivering what we seek.

This little history lesson is necessary to tell you about Iyomu, the social network “For Grownups” that wants to buy your participation. The basic idea here is that you join, and your friends help to vote for you to win a million dollars in a Survivor-like elimination match.

Like Iwon, there are monthly and annual draws.

Apparently Iyomu stands for I, you, me and us. But don’t ask me how. Anyway, since I’m a ‘grownup’, I thought I’d have a look. It’s clunky, hard to invite friends and unsure what it will deliver me in terms of experience. I suspect from the questions it asks that it’s trying to utilize the social graph to connect me to other grownups who share my interests. It doesn’t do it well, which is likely why it promises me cash.

In the movie Can’t Buy Me Love Ronald Miller gives the most popular cheerleader in the school $1,000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month.

If you join Iyomu.com today, guess how much you might win this month?

You guessed it: $1,000.

Which begs the question, is your status for sale?

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