Is a paid social network absurd?

Social networks provide a valuable procrastinatory service that you can’t find anywhere else on the net. But would you pay $50 to join one that doesn’t even exist yet?

IHave50Dollars is hoping you will. Touted as “a real-time social feed for people who have $50,” the site is a parody of Silicon Valley celeb Dalton Caldwell’s, a Twitter-like site that with a sizeable entry fee.

The concept behind is that charging users $50 up front will keep out spammers and detractors who might not be fully dedicated to the community. But Max Spiker, the prankster behind IHave50Dollars, thinks that’s a bit steep.

“After I stepped back from the herd mentality that was making so popular I found it kind of absurd,” he told Betabeat. “I thought I’d have some fun and put a mirror up to it.”

Minus the snarky endorsements he’s put into prominent netizens’ mouths, IHave50Dollars is an exact visual parody of—with one notable Easter egg.

If you attempt to register a username for the joke site, you’re instead directed to a TED talk about ending modern slavery.

“If you can spare $50 for a social network I’m guessing you can spare $50 to help put an end to slavery,” Spiker wrote. “Yeah, it’s 2012 and it’s still a pretty big problem.”

“I thought I’d use the opportunity to point attention to something that I wish got more attention, resources, and brainpower than it currently does—from people who obviously have an extra $50 lying around,” he told Betabeat.

Is spending $50 on an upscale Twitter account a showy waste of money? Or is the pay model the next step in online socializing? In any case, Spiker’s parody represents the first of the resistance to come.

Photo via Quora

Petition urges Twitter to remain open, competitor hits funding goal
Dalton Caldwell’s hopes to create a social network that will "never sell your personal data, content, feed, interests, clicks, or anything else to advertisers.”
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