Would you pay to contact someone on a social network who is currently outside your social circle? London-based startup Directly.me, which launched its services to customers around the world, including Pakistan, on July 5, thinks you would.
The service claims it allows its users to “directly contact any individual in the world.”
Directly.me achieves this ambitious goal by doing away with the social prerequisite of knowing a person before interacting with them. Instead, members who sign up for Directly.me are allowed to pay and access the information of other members.
Similarly, members can, in turn, earn money for letting people access their information. Users can set the amount they want to charge people for contacting them through messages, or they can use a “PayWhatULike” option.
The website also has a “Bounties” section, which aggregates the money offered by different people to contact the same person. It works like this: for example, consider that a person wants to pay Rs1,000 to contact Shahid Afridi, and another person is willing to pay Rs5,000. Now, if Afridi joins Directly.me and reads the messages from these two people, he can claim the Rs6,000 they collectively offered.
Directly.me claims its users will have access to information otherwise not available through search engines and blogs. Currently, Directly.me users are paying others for help with health issues, studying and travelling abroad, job referrals and career advice, says a press release issued by Directly.me.
In a sense, Directly.me’s services are similar to LinkedIn, with the difference being that LinkedIn charges its users a monthly or annual fee for premium services to contact anyone using its mail service.
The “pay-to-message” concept is also reminiscent of a Facebook trial of an optional service where users were charged a fee to send direct messages to people outside their networks.
“We have created a medium that provides our users with a much simpler way of connecting to anyone without any barriers,” Directly.me’s Regional Head of Marketing and Public Relations Uneeb Janjua said in a press release issued by the startup. “Exorbitant options such as, ‘Follow’, ‘Friend Request’ and ‘Circles’ have been removed to unlock avenues for one-to-one open communication,” he said.
After its private beta launch, Directly.me already has over 2.5 million direct connections. According to private estimates, over eight million Pakistanis use Facebook, around two million are on Twitter and there are nearly 1.5 million LinkedIn users in the country.
A 2012 survey of 800 Facebook users in Pakistan by B Solutions found that more than 53% of users lived in households with a monthly income of Rs70,000 or more, putting them among the top 10% of all Pakistani households by income.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.
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@Rocky Mirza: Buahahahaha....i guess no points for sucking up no more
@Hunain Naseer: You really had no idea about this? I've been telling all of you to keep an eye open for Directly.me and spread the news among your family, friends, etc. I wonder what have you been doing for so long in Allainet. Disgrace. @Ali Shirazi: Never mind. I'll start another project even if this one fails. But I'll make sure I fire the remaining incompetent staff in Islamabad too before I move on.
@babar: I checked out the website after reading this article and I think its an interesting idea. I came back here to comment because the launch of any new idea in Pakistan should be supported. While I am not really big on paying others to contact them, I think their experience selling model has potential. If I really want to contact anyone, I will probably use connections and people I personally know. On the other hand, the concept of selling life experiences is pretty cool.
They have a billboard option, where you can create your own selling page, showing the world what you have to offer. As for it being a waste of time, I don't see it as a social utility, it has no facebook or twitter like features and seems to be solely focused on making contacts and monetizing experiences. I don't know about others, but I am excited about this, because there are so many things and life experiences which I can share with others and help them with different stuff. It would be very cool to find out what others are willing to pay for what you know.
Neat concept, after joining I think there are two distinct things at play here. Making money when someone pays to contact people on your friends list and making money from selling information. I think the first concept not lot of Pakistani people are going to take advantage of, I live abroad and I know people will pay to contact my friends but those who live in Pakistan, don’t really believe in their network. Expiry date is a good idea, if I paid to contact someone and they don’t read my message before it expires I get my money back. It is risk free offering but what I don’t like is the fact that, expiry date can only be in days, it should also be in hours.
What I see really taking off in Pakistan is the Sell information part (which they call it sell your life experiences). We all have information we can sell, data, designs, how to do stuff and since adsense destroyed Pakistan, all those who can write, can really use this site to make money.
very interesting idea.....guys think logical.. Google is dumb.. if u are looking for a good mechanic of automatic cars in izloo... google won't tell u but some one who has experience of fixing his auto car from izloo can tell you... and u'll obviously won't mind in paying him a little for a good advice.... All the best Directly.Me....
Such PR pieces are a waste of time and space