Next-Generation Zuckerbergs Use Privacy To Sell the Next Facebook

Privacy, privacy, privacy.  And a little social networking too.  That’s the pitch being made by the newest generation of Mark Zuckerbergs as they try to crack into the social networking industry the Facebook co-founder so famously created in his Harvard dorm room.

Take, a new social network site begun at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), for example.

With the slogan, “Connect differently with everyone you know,” Ayloo is being marketed as an easier, more private social network, an alternative for those looking for a simpler Facebook experience.

Like Facebook, Ayloo was started on a college campus, founded by Mark Johnson, a SCAD graduate, and two of his high school friends, Mark Cicoria and Christian McCarran.

We want to give people control of their life online,” Johnson told District, SCAD’s student newspaper. “We’re different than Facebook in our core values, and our ideology. [Facebook’s] position is for a more open social life, which is exactly what they are doing right now.”

If you can’t beat them, do the same but slightly opposite could be Ayloo’s motto.

While Facebook requires members to jump through hoops and take extra steps to secure their privacy, Ayloo lets users filter which categories and contactscan access what levels of information. Users can create and join interest groups, but only accepted members of a user’s group can see the information provided by that user.

The site is currently in private beta so an invitation is required to start using the site.  It’s also open to all those with SCAD email addresses, including alumni.

Once on the site, only users’ name, location, and occupation are visible to all users so that potential contacts can be identified.  Your activity can only be viewed by contacts and you can block content from a user by removing them from your contacts, according to the website.

Ayloo’s three founders explain on the site that, “We created Ayloo because we thought that the web needed a pull in the direction of choice, accountability and simplicity when it comes to online communication… We grew to love and appreciate the idea of having a private network online, knowing that you can be yourself while staying off the record in the eyes of the world wide web.”

While Johnson does not envision Ayloo as the next Facebook, per se, he is taking a page out of the Zuckerberg playbook with plans of expanding Ayloo through other college networks.

What do you think?  Will sites like Ayloo be able to break into the Facebook bubble with the promise of privacy alone?



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