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BW Businessworld

For Only The Select Lot

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Free for all? No way. There is something about exclusivity that makes everything, including websites, a lot more appealing. Facebook started out as an exclusive portal for Harvard students, Google Plus started out on an invite-only basis. If you’re trying to get away from the Internet hoi polloi, we bring to you a list of websites that overturn the idea of Internet democracy. Be it the rich, the famous or the intellectually elite, these websites have them all. Check if you make the cut, and if you don’t fall into these categories — no thoroughfare, please. 
 
Are You Being Served?
Services have never looked more grand. JustLuxe is a website that provides information and analyses of luxury goods, services and travel. So whether you need help buying a private jet, a luxury villa or even spending your summer break in style at the Galapagos Islands, JustLuxe will provide you all the necessary information.
 
The-sphere is another such site meant for the Internet aristocrat. Not only does it connect the social upper crust, it also provides personalised concierge services. And how do you know if you make the cut? You need to apply with details like your salary (we’re pretty sure anything less than a 7-8 figure salary doesn’t qualify), the cars you, or your chauffeur, drive(s) (Audi, BMW, at least a Merc), the watches you wear (Rolex is passé, say it’s a Breguet for a better shot), etc. Your application will be vetted by their extremely discerning membership board. And if you finally do qualify, there’s a monthly membership fee of €150 as well.

Playing Cupid
If you’re looking for a prince for your princess, then they may just get one for you (or so the TV ad claims). EliteMatrimony provides matchmaking services to Indian high networth individuals. As expected, there is a team that scrutinises each application or reference before accepting 
members and assigning individual relationship managers to them. 
 
MillionaireMatch is another such website that has played cupid for the uber-rich for 12 years now. The applicant is expected to disclose his net worth when looking for a match, although you can choose not to. But if you don’t, we suggest, you shouldn’t expect too many responses.
 
Privileged Professionals
As if your workplace hierarchy was not enough, there are now social networks to make the division clear. Elixio is a network connecting executive-level professionals and providing social network services, such as forums, geo-specific events, classifieds and photo sharing. It is invitation-only and one needs a corporate or academic email address to join. Another website for professionals is Pingsta — also an invitation-only network of Internet experts. The current membership includes innovators, professors, engineers and technical leaders. 
 
Quibb, another professional exclusive website, allows you to share what you’re reading and post articles relevant to your industry. The website brags of its 42 per cent acceptance rate with an aim to get the cream of the crop. If rejected, the applicant is prompted to ask colleagues or co-workers to send letters of recommendation to help with the process.
 
Social Luxury Networks
What Facebook and Twitter are to the masses, Eleqt is to the affluent and powerful. On Eleqt, members have access to invitation-only events and engage with other high networth peers over a social media interface. Previously a normal membership could be obtained by accepting an invitation of one of the existing members or by making a one-time payment of $5,000. However, now, there is a trial membership offered on application-basis, after which the member is judged on his contribution to the network. 
 
ASmallWorld, another invitation-only social network, connects a sophisticated few. Among other services, it provides detailed city guides listing the posh hangout areas across the globe. For instance, last March, its CEO Sabine Heller took 30 members to the Ahilya Fort in Madhya Pradesh. 

ankitaramgopal(at)abp(dot)in
ankitaramgopal(at)gmail(dot)com
(at)ankitaramgopal

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 29-07-2013)