Will You Pay A Membership Fee For Access To An Exclusive Social Network?

At the heart of social networks from Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare is the idea that you can reach out and connect with anyone – from your long lost high school love to a stranger in China. So what if a new breed of social networks came along that offered exclusivity instead? Membership fees and membership caps included, but also a promise of privacy. Would they succeed?

At the heart of social networks from Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare is the idea that you can reach out and connect with anyone – from your long lost high school love to a stranger in China.  So what if a new breed of social networks came along that offered exclusivity instead?  Membership fees and membership caps included, but also a promise of privacy.  Would they succeed?

That question may soon be answered with this summer’s launch of ContactVine, a new and “highly exclusive” social network designed for the social networker who “values their privacy as much as the finer things in life.”

Just like a high-end shopper would want a Gucci bag, ContactVine is betting its fortune on the premise that the high-end Web user turned off by the privacy practices and ad sharing of a Facebook or Twitter will only join a social network that guarantees one thing:  privacy.

As such, the site promises not to share any member data with apps or third party advertisers, bombard users with ads, or make the member list searchable or publicly available.  It will also use SSL and encryption technology to protect users’ personal and financial information.

Privacy and ad-free socializing on ContactVine will come at a premium.  Users wanting an “exclusive” social networking experience on ContactVine will have to pay the site’s $149 quarterly or $499 annually fee to maintain their exclusive membership status.

And privacy promises also come with the reality that ContactVine is still, yes, a social network in a 21st century, connected, consumer-driven world.

Below the vow in the site’s privacy policy to not release members’ personally identifiable information, is the fine print that, “this does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential.”

The site also will use cookies, the small files that capture and retain user information, and may, “release your information when we believe release is appropriate…”

While ContactVine is open to anyone, registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, membership will be capped at 5,000.

The official membership drive will not open until the site officially launches in May, but interested users can pre-register now as a “charter member” receive a 50 percent discount off membership fees for as long as their members.

The question is if 4,999 other users will be willing to join you.

Tell us what you think. Do you value exclusivity, privacy and security enough in a social network to pay a premium?