Thanks to Josh Spear, I have been checking out the new social site I’m In Like With You for the past few week. Aesthetically pleasing (no custom coded pages with embedded slideshows, music, and videos here *ahem* MySpace) and strangely addictive, I think they have a winner on their hands. With a core focus on privacy and security (you can never be too careful), the site revolves around games and a point system. I’ll address the latter first. You get points for nearly every activity you do. When you sign up, you get points. You can also increase your point balance by answering quick yes or no questions, such as “Do you prefer coffee over tea?” You can also lose points by spending them on things like winning a game (this will become more clear later), watching someone which means the system tells you when they start a new game, and sending someone a wink which is basically a way of saying you’re interested.
The games are a little confusing at first. They are not games in the traditional sense but more like auctions. You use your points to “bid” on a game. Each game is basically a question that the host wants answered, supposedly to help them choose who the winner is. They last anywhere from an hour to three days. Most are pretty typical questions such as “Can you teach me to surf” and some are weird like, my favorite, “What do you do with avocados?” At the end of the game, the host chooses the winner among the top 5 bidders. There is a minimum and maximum range so a person can’t just go in and bid 500 points. The games are actually doubly exciting because if you end up in the top 5, you are not sure if you’ll be chosen. Bidding on games also attracts the hosts to bid on yours and if you strategize correctly, you can pick someone else as the winner if you think the host you are bidding on will pick you. Once a winner is picked, that person is opened up as a contact. Iilwy provides various ways to contact each other including site messaging, SMS, and even voice calls which are routed through their systems so your ID and number are kept secret.
Not surprisingly, the site is not immune to the popularity (read: hot girls) factor. I’ve started out with being in the top 5 with a 30 point bid only to return the next day to find out it’s up to 500 points. What this means is that these people saved up their points until the end of the game and bid big. Of course it’s only a/(the same) handful of girls who get this much action.
The game is currently invite only and they claim that will remain the case. This sounds great from the perspective of a person on the inside and I do think it keeps a level of maturity that you won’t get with a free for all system. The idea is that the founders are pretty smart people and they only invited their smart friends who in turn invite theirs. Looking at the profiles, there’s a large amount of artsy liberal types (indie music, granola folk), designers, and a few techies.
I do think that like all invite products (Gmail, Joost, Orkut, etc), the exclusivity factor will wear out. In the meantime, I still think the product is something worth checking out for it’s innovative approach at networking and it’s clean design.
With that said, I have a few invites to give out so leave a comment and I’ll choose some lucky winners.