the end of exclusive networks?

a small worldAs more and more people from all over the world join in the social networking hype, some networks look towards exclusivity. Examples are 'internations, an invitation-only international network for expatriates and the committee of 200, which dubs itself an membership organization of the world's most successful corporate women and female entrepreneurs.

Most known is a small world, a networking site for the world's elite, co-founded by female entrepreneur Louise Wachtmeister. But as trends go, the Guardian reported this week, the latter may be losing its exclusivity, having grown from 500 in 1994 to 325.000 users at present.

A small world was founded by Louise Wachtmeister, a former PR agent, and Erich Wachtmeister, an investment banker turned networker, born into a diplomatic family. They realised as early as 2004, when Facebook and Friendster were launching, that people liked to exchange information and tips with trusted friends. Hence, their network for the crème de la crème was born.

The result was a invitation-only network which has affluent, well-educated cosmopolitan members in over 200 countries. Its exclusivity is the result of a secret selection formula based on 15 variables, undoubtedly taking into account financial situation and social standing. Its forum is testimony of its exclusivity with members posting adds asking to rent yachts and buy Bentleys or gold bars.

But now the elite's playground is rumoured to be getting too crowded, with members complaining about PA's and journalists, and 'other nobody's' undermining its elitist character. But Wachtmeister denies this, claiming that the selection process is rigorous and the site should be able to grow to a million easily.

Time for a new exclusive- exclusive website?

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