On Aug 12th, I received an email from a friend asking me to join I joined and checked to see whom else I knew that had joined already. There were three or so other people and I linked up to them. On the 16th, I used their tool to invite people from Orkut, and sent out quite a few invitations. About a dozen and a half more people joined my network there.

One of the first messages I received from Multiply was from Rayne Today:
Friendster: The same card being played?. She had an interesting link to Online Personals Watch about Friendster hiring former NBC Entertainment president, Scott Sassa, as CEO.

She asked, “Hmm. In either case, Friendster or Multiply, what would a user enjoy so much that they'd pay to stay and play? Are either of these companies or Orkut providing whatever that is?”. Her question was echoed by Mike Stocker’s comment, “I think what is happening in this space is that these companies are worried about losing critical mass if they start charging. I think a fee on the friendster service would start the death toll.”

This echoes an interesting discussion going on over at The Tribe, in the Ecademy Watch tribe. I’ve been at Ecademy for ages, and Ecademy, like Ryze, tries to get people to pay up for premium membership. So far, I haven’t found a good reason to pay up for a premium membership for any SNS.

As will be noted by my post about My Social Networks, I generally join any network that comes along, kick the tires a few times, generally become bored and move on. I still hope that a SNS will come along that will have some compelling reason to be active in it, but I haven’t found it yet.

Nonetheless, I was struck when I received an email from Jock Gill questioning why Jon and I had invited him to Multiply. It seems like just another SNS worth trying. However, Jock pointed out a few interesting things about

Try to find out something about the people behind Unless I am missing something, it isn’t on the website. ‘About Multiply’ doesn’t tell you anything about the folks behind it. The ‘Contact Us’ page has email addresses that are all nondescript. As Jock notes, so much of the social network game is about trust, and if you want to build trust, you need to be transparent.

By searching on Google, you can find a little more about Their Press Release refers to Michael Gersh as co-founder.

A search of Google provides a lot of information about Michael Gersh. It points to a blog with a tag, “I Blog For G.W.Bush!”. It has such notable lines as, “the Washington Post, one of the three sisters of the axis of journalistic evil”. Other links turn up gems like this, referring to Ron Reagan as, “This little prick, this know nothing, no-talent zero, who couldn't even make a living in television when his father was at the top of his powers, is now shamelessly hawking his ass to anyone who will pay, like the cheap Times Square hustler that he is”

While we don’t know if the Michael Gersh of is the same Michael Gersh of the press release, a few of us have tried to get in touch and gotten no response.

In addition, as a believer in free speech, I don’t feel comfortable stopping doing business with someone because they have political beliefs different than my own. Nonetheless, I do believe, as Jock noted, that social network systems, in particular, are based on trust, and an important part of trust is transparency. Perhaps by bringing some of these issues everyone can be more informed and decided if they want to play with

Already, the person who first invited me to has deleted all of his information, and people are starting to gripe about, (,, to list a few.)

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political beliefs