Silicon Valley Star Starts Up New Kind of Social Network

Pinups vs. Porn

Enderle points out that, from a content perspective, the photos on Zivity seem more like a throwback to the pinup girls from the 1950s and 60s than the more graphic, very profitable porn underbelly of the 21st century Internet.

The challenge for Zivity will be to convince people to pay for tamer entertainment than the hardcore pornography they can find elsewhere on the Web, often for free.

"Will people pay for something that isn't really pornography? If this was something that was going on in the 50s, I would say absolutely," Enderle said. "There's a possibility that there's a market here, but it's not following any model that people would be willing to pay for in the current time period. ... It has a niche, but if you're really going to establish the pay side of the Internet, it needs to have a broader audience."

David Card, the vice president and research director at Jupiter Research, agreed.

"I'm a little skeptical that people will pay a whole lot for soft core or nudity," Card said. "People are going to have to want to pay for this whole voting experience. … It doesn't feel like Facebook and MySpace."

Card says that, more than a social network, Zivity feels like another voting Web site, HotorNot.com, which sold for a reported $20 million earlier this year.

But no matter what anyone says, Banister remains hopeful and is focused on getting eyeballs to the site.

"Our job is to go out and get 2 million [users]," he said. "We think those 2 million are definitely there for the taking and could grow far, far beyond that."

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