Behind the Internet’s velvet rope - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Behind the Internet’s velvet rope: Social networks of the rich and the famous

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By Molly McHugh
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Facebook is for poor people – or at least that's probably what the members of these elite social networks think. For these prestigious sites it's quality (usually in the form of power and money) over quantity. Check out these highly exclusive and invitation-only networks, where your net worth is guaranteed to outrank your number of friends. 

Island X

Island X is a social network for "international people," which by the site's standards means you have grown up traveling the world. These users often feel more at home with similar well-traveled people versus those who actually share their nationality.

Members: At the moment users are more or less limited to those who have attended or are attending an international school.

How to get in: For the time being you can join by invitation only.

Perks: According to Island X, citizens of the world who have experienced a truly diverse and global life see things differently, and the site brings them together based on this common experience.

Affluence.org

Aptly described as "Facebook for rich people," Affluence.org might have some financially astute members but it also has an emphasis on philanthropy. Its goal is not only to provide users with an elite community, but one with a moral compass.

Members: You have to have a net worth of at least $1 million or make $200K a year (and FYI, the average member has a net worth of $32.7 million).

How to get in: You must meet the above financial requirements or be invited by five other members who have qualified based on their finances.

Perks: The millionaires with hearts of gold lucky enough to join will be able to promote their charities of choice as well as gain access to events, city guides, and a user marketplace. Other benefits include a 24-hour concierge and assistance service, exclusive product discounts, party invites, and a complimentary subscription to Affluence print magazine.

aSmallworld

Members include Naomi Campbell, the Weinstein brothers, and Paris Hilton (it's rumored Quentin Tarantino's in there too). In addition to virtually connecting with some of the world's most elite, the site serves as an incredible resource for advertisers.

Members: ASmallWorld is trying to establish "the world's most valuable demographic," so it appears there are standards that include: Having a bachelor's degree–or better yet, a masters; being involved in the financial industry; and living in an international city. Users are generally on the younger side of 40 and the majority of them live in Europe.

How to get in: Invitation-only; the site says it's a network of people connected by three degrees of separation.

Perks: Posts advertising islands for rent and private jets for sale are common fare, as are invites to partying with models, actors, musicians, and other famous millionaires and billionaires the world over. Of course you'll also have access to exclusive content.

Angels' Circle

Angels' Circle doesn't want there to be any confusion about its membership qualifications: You must have money. Whether that's because you're a celebrity or a businessman (or married to one), finances count. Make no mistake, part of the benefit of being invited to Angels' Circle is that you get to say you're in Angels' Circle. From what we can see, the site isn't terribly impressive. Then again, we can't see much. 

Members: Angels' Circle is looking for people of "similar social and economic background." Read: Rich and powerful. Many are professional athletes, from powerful families, famous artists, rich entrepreneurs and CEOs, government officials, high profile fashion insiders, models, and the like. They make $500,000-$1 million a year and spend it well.

How to get in: Access is invitation only, but knowing someone in the network doesn't assure you membership. "Members are aware that invitations to join will be subject to evaluation and may not be granted if the individual does not have a similar social position." Unlike many other elite social networks however, you can try to get in by emailing Angels' Circle to, as the site puts it, "let us know of their successful existence."

Perks: Honestly, we don't know. The site's information section waxes poetically about how prestigious its user base is but doesn't give so much as a mention about what it provides them. We contacted them to find out but our gut tells us we won't be hearing back. 

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