In marketing terms, this story is an extreme example of price skimming in a market.
The Netropolitan Club is a social network that caters to rich people, according to its founder James Touchi-Peters. Mr Peters, a music composer, a performer, and the former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, recently told the the L.A. Times that he realizes that his lifestyle is far different than most people and that he wanted to create an environment where he and like-minded individuals could gather and talk about their shared interests, hobbies, and affairs without being criticized by others members for doing so.
The new social network for the rich began signing up members this past Tuesday. Unlike the most social networks, there is a fee to become a member of this one. There is a $6,000 initiation fee plus a $3,000 annual membership fee. While the founder compares it to Facebook, it is actually more akin to Google +. Members can login to the site and begin following members instead of reaching out and becoming their friends. Discussing their latest experiential vacation, the newest yacht by Azimut, or when Bugatti is going to create its next million-dollar or more automobile could not be simpler. Members also will be in advertising-free network, as no soliciting is permitted.
Personally, I would rather buy a new water toy, take a really cool vacation, or just donate the money to charity rather than spending it to be part of an elite social network. But that is me, and people are entitled to spend their money their way. However, I do wonder if these wealthy individuals that want this type of social-network experience know that they already can have it on Facebook for free. All they need to do is set their security settings so that “friends only” could read their posts. It is the same thing … but it is $9,000 cheaper. I guess I really don’t get it.
Kudos to the PR behind the Netropolitan Club, as this lighthearted story is making the rounds globally. It appeared on a segment ABC News in August and has been written about in both the L.A. Times and Entrepreneur magazine just this week.