Chicago’s new social network, Chicago.com, is focused on being exclusive, something that seems contradictory in social media. CEO Josh Metnick, claims that “maintaining exclusivity is important,” and that emphasis can be seen in how he runs the site. First off, Chicago.com isn’t free. Members are charged between $9 and $79 dollars for their username, and the price is based on how prominent the name is. A very common name will cost more than one that is unique. Whatever members choose will also double as their @chicago.com email address.
The big question is whether people will actually pay to join a social network. Unlike other networks, Chicago.com will not sell its user information, nor will it allow brands to advertise on the platform. Metnick thinks that this, along with the allure of belonging to an exclusive network, will be enough to attract members.
In a digital world that’s becoming saturated with public social networks, sites like Chicago.com create a certain appeal. It gives Chicago residents the chance to interact and connect in a private digital arena.
We are interested to see how many people it attracts, and if other cities start to create similar networks. If ad-free and private sites start to become a trend, it will create a challenging situation for digital marketers.