Zurker takes on Zuckerberg with “Social” Social Networking

Many have tried (and many have failed) to take on the epic superpower that is Facebook. It’s a task of David and Goliath proportions. So why would anyone even try to go head to head with the social networking site that has so many members that if it were a country, it would be the third most populated in the world.

It’s exactly because it has so many members that people feel the need to ‘take it on’, headfirst, with the vain hope that they can chip off a few of the weaker herd members from the edges. We all know that Facebook is flawed, and with the recent IPO there’s a chance it could continue to get worse for members as their personal information is sold on for advertising purposes, and branded content is forced upon users.

And that’s where Zurker comes in. It’s not exactly the ‘hottest’ new social network, but the idea behind it is very interesting. Once you become a member (and it’s currently beta testing, so invite only) you’ll have the opportunity to invite your friends, for every referral you’ll get a vShare in the social network. That’s right, you’ll actually own a chunk of it.

“One vShare is equivalent to ownership of 1/1,000,000 of Zurker. When 1,000,000 vShares have been allocated, Zurker will be restructured as a public corporation and vShares will become real shares.”

The success of the site will depend entirely on hype, and with real shares at stake, current members are doing everything in their power to push those shares up to 1,000,000. This means that the accounts you’ll see on Facebook, Twitter and Blogs are almost entirely over-hyped and inaccurate as members are desperately vying for vShares.

Here’s where Zurker falls short:

  • Appearance; call me shallow, but Zurker sure is a sore sight. While it may be harking back to Facebook’s roots, did they really have to follow the original awkward design? Zurker is relying on its passionate members to become the developers, which is a nice idea in theory, but have you ever been on a design committee which has more than 10 contributors? Now multiply that chaos by 100,000 and you’ll see the problem with this.
  • Functionality, or lack thereof. To compete with the big guns Zurker is going to have to buck up and offer similar, but better, functionality for members. At the moment there’s a rudimentary ‘update’ function, ‘finds’, which is a long-winded social bookmarking tool, and the usual photo uploading option.
  • Lack of members, it doesn’t yet feel like a social network, it’s more like an awkward mass mixer. No one knows anyone, and people are just milling around or desperately trying to make friends. With no way of finding people you know, other than by inviting them to the site, it’s difficult to see how this could replace Facebook.
  • No business accounts; you can create a business page from a personal account, but businesses cannot have their own account. So at this stage there is very little opportunity for social media marketing, which may be the whole point of the site. I personally have no problem interacting with brands I love on Facebook and Twitter, so I fail to see how removing them from the loop will improve the user experience.

It’s a wonderful idea, but sadly, it’s also poorly executed. I won’t be writing it off yet though, as it’s still only beta testing. No doubt there will be vast improvements to the site once it goes public. The numbers are meagre, but rising:

Only time will tell if this can ever match up to its creators dreams. If you’re curious, leave a comment and we’ll send you an invite.