Weblo.com, founded by Rocky Mirza, has raised $3,300,000 in a second round of funding from Vantage Point Ventures.
Based in Montreal, Weblo is some kind of horrible cross between MySpace, Second Life, and Monopoly. You can spend real money to purchase profile pages of property (e.g. California), non-trademark domain names (e.g. Cars.com), and celebrities (e.g. William Shatner). Then as the owner of these virtual assets you get a revenue share of advertising on the profile page (usually less than a dollar). You can also sell these profile page assets to the next fool (don’t count on it).
Interested? Me neither… Weblo has all the appeal of a ponzi scheme. Listening to Sean Morrow, Weblo’s Director of Marketing, describe Weblo as a business opportunity for users makes my stomach churn. This is not to say someone isn’t making money. The first time an asset is sold all the proceeds go in Weblo’s pocket (e.g. someone purchased California according to Weblo for $53,000). Weblo hopes each of the profile pages move up in the search engine rankings to collect some SEO advertising dough. And of course members are encouraged to upgrade to a monthly paid membership to earn a larger cut of the advertising revenue. Yeah…
I am not the first one to call the site a modern version of the Brooklyn Bridge ruse, where a con man sells the Brooklyn Bridge to a sap. Yes, someone purchased the Brooklyn Bridge from Weblo.
It is not just that proclaiming oneself the virtual owner of Toronto, Madonna, or thebestpageintheuniverse.net is delusional. Weblo, essentially a collection of empty profiles pages, lacks the adventure of a 3D MMOG like Second Life. Will Weblo profile pages move up the search engine rankings and prove as indispensible as Wikipedia articles? Doubtful. Wikipedia works because everyone can contribute to a page. On Weblo each profile page is controlled by one unmotivated individual looking for easy money.
“There’s a sucker born every minute…and two to take ’em.” Prior investors in Weblo include: Richard Rosenblatt, former chairman of MySpace.com; Fred Harman, managing partner of Oak Investment; Matt Hill, founder of eForce Media; and William Woodward, managing director of Anthem Venture Partners.
Way to sell ’em Rocky.