June 4, 2011
With Facebook’s active user count at over 600 million people, creating a viable – and sustainable – alternative social network seems nothing short of a Herculean task. But former MySpace executive Dmitry Shapiro is looking to do just that with his new startup, Altly.
In a recent blog post, Shapiro stated that Altly will be a social networking site that puts control back into the hands of its users. Its selling points? Privacy and transparency. The lengthy anti-Facebook manifesto claimed that Altly will give users detailed and easy-to-understand privacy settings and complete ownership of data.
One line in particular really got to me:
For every Coke there is a Pepsi, for every Ford there is a Chevy, for every PC there is a Mac and for every Facebook there is…a void!
Those are true words if I’ve ever read them. When it comes to social networking sites, Facebook is the undeniable king of the castle. But as Facebook has seeped into every part of our online experience, the same privacy concerns are heard time and time again. Altly claims to be the solution to Facebook’s notorious spilling of personal information to marketers, potential employers, and complete strangers.
But what really sets Altly apart? Shapiro’s resume, for one. He is the ex-CTO of MySpace music and founder of the online video company Veoh. Altly has also recently secured over $1 million in funding, investors including DFJ and Tom Anderson (yes, that’s THE “Tom” from MySpace).
What remains at question is whether a startup like Altly will be able to successfully compete with Facebook, especially without the benefits of network effects that come with a more open approach. But with Shapiro’s extensive credentials, backing from big names and a steadfast commitment to its users’ privacy, Altly seems to be taking on the challenge with gusto.
Fun fact: Over 2,000 people already “Like” Altly on Facebook.
Altly is currently in pre-launch and details about the service have been kept very hush-hush, but if you’re curious about Altly and want to pre-reserve your Altly username, click here.
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