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ASMALLWORLD (ASW) is an invitation-only social network, which relaunched in the spring of 2013 as a by invitation, clique members only travel and lifestyle club, with a capped membership at 250,000 members. ASW portrays itself as being extremely exclusive compared to Facebook. The site was founded in 2004 by Erik Wachtmeister and was one of the first social networks at that time.

To join, one must receive an invitation from an existing member. Only a portion of ASW users has the ability to invite new members.


Company history

In May 2006, Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Company acquired the majority share.[3] In October 2009, Weinstein sold the controlling stake in the company, citing a need to focus his company's resources on its struggling movie operations.[citation needed]

Swiss entrepreneur and investor Patrick Liotard-Vogt purchased the controlling stake and became the company’s Chairman.[4]

In February 2013, ASMALLWORLD announced that as of March 1, 2013, it would not be accepting new members, citing an initiative to ensure the integrity of the community.[5] The company mapped a new strategy with a smaller network and more perks for its members. After shutting down, ASW relaunched in May 2013.[6]

Member-vetting process

[7] The site relies on its members to determine who receives access to the community. To join, one must be invited by an existing member. According to founder Erik Wachtmeister, "members are people with large personal networks, frequent travel and highly active personality".

Of the existing membership, only certain members have the ability to invite new people to the community. ASW grants invite privilege to members on the basis of a number of variables, including geographic location, the member's activity and reputation, the composition and balance of the member's network, and completeness of the member's profile. These criteria are aimed at ensuring that the network is balanced in terms of geography, interests, tastes, and perspectives.[8]

ASW users must obey a code of behavior, which mandates that they may only post pictures of themselves in their profile pictures and may not use aliases. The site is monitored for profanity, racism, slander, explicit promotion and commercialism, and suspicious behavior.[9]

Features

ASMALLWORLD is part communication platform, part service platform.[10] The website is tailored to facilitate both online interaction and offline meetups between members.[11]

The site shares some features with other social network services, such as user profiles, an online calendar and private messaging. The site also offers over 100 "city guides" written by its members detailing and rating restaurants, bars and clubs. To facilitate meetups, ASW’s site has a “Geolocator” tool, which allows users to post travel plans as well as browse and comment on the travel plans of other members. Members can also view upcoming ASW-hosted events in different cities.

In 2012, ASW released a mobile application for iOS that allows members to indicate whether they are willing to meet up with fellow members nearby or during upcoming travels.

The site also allows members to buy and sell items, find potential employees and business partners, find investors or ventures to invest in, rent property, and find flatmates. Using the site’s discussion boards, members can exchange advice on travel and business, or simply engage in conversation.[12]

ASMALLWORLD allows users to list multiple cities for their locations of residence.

Offline offerings

ASMALLWORLD hosts about 300 events per year worldwide for members to get together. Each year over 200 members attend the Winter Weekend in Gstaad, Switzerland, where members can join in wine tastings, fondue parties, and a dinner event.[13]

In 2011, members donated €40,000 to a sex trafficking prevention charity run by Somaly Mam. At the 2012 Winter Weekend in Gstaad, members raised $95,000 for the Alzheimer's Society. Carey Mulligan, an Ambassador for the Society's Alzheimer’s Society, was present.[14]

The company also offers invitations to events hosted by its partners.[15] For example, users might preview new collections from fashion designers. Members also have access to a privileges program. Here they can choose between over 500 partners offering reductions and VIP service among other things for hotels, car services, designer brands, and other lifestyle brands.[16]

The company has stated through its mobile iPhone app that they “will be extending members-only perks and benefits exclusively to ASW members” with selected partners.[17]

Controversies

When ASMALLWORLD relaunched as a pay site in 2013 they promised members a week long free vacation in St. Kitts and free car service from various airports around the world.[18] ASMALLWORLD has thus far failed to deliver on either of these promises, leading many members to be upset that they paid a high fee and did not receive the valuable services promised. Furthermore, the hotel in St. Kitts, which members were promised access to in 2013, is not open as of spring 2014, and will not be full open until 2015.[19] Members who have been critical of this failure to deliver on the goods and services promised when the members were asked to pay the membership fee have had their comments deleted on ASMALLWORLD, have been removed from the site without warning, and have not received a refund.

See also

References

  1. Asmallworld.net Site Info. Alexa Internet. Retrieved on 2013-11-01.
  2. Q&A With A Small World CEO Sabine Heller | On the Road. Online.wsj.com (2013-04-26). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  3. Cieply, Michael (April 12, 2007). "Films From the Weinsteins Falter, but the Brothers Stay Focused". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/movies/12movie.html. 
  4. Tiger Woods ist schon weg: "Facebook für Reiche" mistet aus – Wirtschaft – Blick (de). Blick.ch (2013-05-13). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  5. Spielplatz für die globalisierte High Society: "A Small World" wird noch kleiner - Panorama Nachrichten (de). NZZ.ch. Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  6. May 10, 2013 (2013-05-10). A Small World Maps New Strategy - Digital - Media. WWD.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  7. Comment le site haut de gamme Asmallworld compte se relancer (fr). Challenges.fr (2013-05-13). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  8. "Asmallworld, le Facebook de l'élite, revoit son modèle pour se relancer" (in fr). Le Parisien (Leparisien.fr). 2013-05-13. http://www.leparisien.fr/high-tech/asmallworld-le-facebook-de-l-elite-revoit-son-modele-pour-se-relancer-13-05-2013-2799105.php. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  9. Myspace for millionaires: The secret social network for the elite. Yahoo News UK (2013-05-14). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  10. Motilo - Solve your fashion dilemma - Baby, Baby It's A Small World (2013-05-15). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  11. Is Social Media the New Travel Guide?: Video. Bloomberg (2013-04-24). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  12. "Myspace For Millionaires" ASMALLWORLD Pivots Into A $105-A-Year VIP Travel Club. TechCrunch (2013-05-13). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  13. Perks of Living in 'ASmallWorld' - CNBC. Video.cnbc.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  14. Carey Mulligan raises $95,000 for Alzheimer's Society at Swiss gala dinner - Alzheimer's Society. Alzheimers.org.uk (2012-12-18). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  15. "Party animals | Page Six". New York Post (Nypost.com). 2013-05-14. http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/party_animals_hG7ItPcy3FKF0OywVbbc5N. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  16. Gross, Daniel (2013-05-15). ASMALLWORLD Relaunches as a Travel Club for Premier Globetrotters. The Daily Beast. Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  17. Sabine Heller: The world in her hands. GulfNews.com (2013-05-11). Retrieved on 2013-10-03.
  18. http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000172362&__source=yahoo%7Cheadline%7Cquote%7Cvideo%7C&par=yahoo
  19. http://www.cuopm.com/?p=6583

External links

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