What's With the Red Balloons? Military Offers $40k in Contest

Eighteen years ago he said he launched an online network for balloon artists in the Internet's earlier days. That network – balloonhq.com – is still thriving.

To celebrate the Internet's contribution to social networks, he's mobilizing his own, asking its more than 2,000 members to be on the lookout for the red balloons and spread the word about his project.

If his team wins, he said he will use the prize money to create a 30-foot-tall balloon cupcake, designed to fly with a pilot.

"You can do all the math and whatever tactics to play the game but when it comes down to it, I think people will respond to having fun," he said.

He also said that since the network will grow from an already established community, false information and distrust will likely not be significant issues.

"It's the birthday of the Internet – let's celebrate," he said. "What better way than with balloons and a cupcake."

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