Directly.me’s Rocky Mirza: We’re more of an “anti-social network”

This week I got to speak with Rocky Mirza, the co-founder of an ambitious search engine called “Directly.me” which can allow you to get your message to anyone – yes, anyone.

Occasionally you come across projects which could potentially revolutionise how we get in touch with people, and this is exactly one of these types of startups.

The core idea is to place a “Bounty” on someone you’d like to get in touch with, and how much you’re willing to pay. This can then either be fulfilled directly, or through someone who knows the person getting them to join and receive your message (for which they get a cut as an incentive).

As its core theology - Directly.me wants to tap into more detailed information from actual people. After all, not even Google’s “Knowledge Graph” can supply as much as a specialist.

Whilst a different concept from LinkedIn; its core use will still be to connect individuals with professionals.  For this reason, I wanted to know how the service differs.

Mirza explains: “LinkedIn is more of a social network, and we are more of an anti-social network. The only time you are alerted from anyone is when there’s money to be made; whether someone contacts you, or contacts someone you know.”

Part of the incentive to use Directly.me, and especially to become an early adopter, is to “protect” your contacts, which means you can essentially earn money off the connections you’ve built.

I asked Mirza to explain the system: “We feel it took you time and money to build your contacts and feel you should benefit from it.

“So long as you’re the first to ‘protect’ your friends list on Facebook, LinkedIn .etc then when anyone contacts them, part of that money will go to you.”

He continues: “You can get about five percent for ongoing messages with that person.”

It’s very clear the service could potentially be extremely disruptive; innovative new ways to reach out to people previously unreachable, and make money from the network of contacts you build.

Mirza talks about the process of reaching out to someone: “When someone puts a ‘bounty’ on you, say they want to contact you, we’ll alert everyone who knows you. Then 80% of the bounty goes to you, and then 20% goes to us and the person who alerted you.”

This is a great way of getting more users to invite their contacts to Directly.me, and share the benefits as a result. After all, the success of these networks is based on user-base, for which you only have to look at MySpace for a less than stellar example!

But what about growth rate? Mirza says: “We had more than 815,000 direct connections today alone. I think the timing is right, and what we are doing; making someone’s life easier, that’s right.”

Part of Mirza past experience was in launching virtual real-estate on multiplayer life simulator ‘Second Life’ which, although virtual, makes very real money. As a keen watcher of this space, I wanted to know if this was our future, moving reality into the virtual reality.

He responds: “Any of the virtual world stuff is just as real as the real world. What we’re doing with Directly.me is we’re taking the very effective model of introduction; one of the best ways to meet anyone is to be introduced, we’re taking that and ‘technifying’ it.”

To sum it up: “Virtual worlds, or real worlds – it’s life.”

Sign up and ‘protect’ your contacts on Directly.me for free. What do you think about Directly.me’s interesting new model of getting introduced to people?

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