Dmitry Shapiro has raised about $1 million in funding from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Myspace founder Tom Anderson to launch a privacy-conscious alternative to Facebook named “Altly.”
Shapiro said in a blog post that Altly will be a social network that gives users easy and detailed privacy controls, data ownership and portability–and an even footing with advertisers use their data: “There is clearly nothing wrong with Facebook making money, as all business have to do. What IS clearly wrong is when our privacy, our personal information, our digital lives are being subjugated for the sake of profit, without us having any meaningful capability to opt out, or even know the extent of such activity. Is there another option? What are our alternatives? If we don’t like what Facebook is doing, what can we do about it? Well, herein lies the problem. There are NO serious alternatives at this time. 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! Facebook has such overwhelming power that practically no one believes that trying to build an alternative is possible.”
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s kind of why there is no large competitor to eBay: Consumers want the benefits of reaching the largest possible community with some sites. The easy assumption is eBay will reach the largest number of bidders to sell your product; and Facebook has the largest number of members to connect with. It will take a while to get 567 friends with Altly—which will win users over with unique features Facebook does not have, but not with privacy. If privacy was a big concern, Facebook wouldn’t be here today, along with a lot of other internet sites.