BUSINESS WEEK -- Sep 27 -- Wallop was unveiled Sept. 26. It was spun off from Microsoft a year ago and has been in the works a full four years. Wallop looks more like a desktop than a Web page, and it's entirely based on Flash. Instead of listing friends, the site has a radar-like graphic that plots your connections based on how frequently you interact with a person. Wallop doesn't make money by selling ads. It collects small payments for clever, animated applications called "mods." For a fee of, say, 10 cents, you can get a cartoon of an angry bunny created by an independent Flash designer to jump around your page. The key isn't simply amassing users, but getting "cool" people to come to Wallop. Everyone will want to be where the cool people are. The site is invitation-only now, and each person only gets a few invites to dole out. Wallop will be doing some grassroots promotions in cities including Los Angeles and New York to woo trendsetters.
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Mark Brooks: Brilliant! They were wise to ditch the Microsoft pedigree. It wouldn't quite work for viral activation amongst the student population. (Microsoft is still kinda evil, compared with the likes of do good Google). South Korea's Cyworld has made a mint of graphical charms and mods. Will this concept convert to a Western audience. I think so. I worked on all-flash Mooble earlier this year. They are looking for more money to execute the plan I laid out. Namely, chase down Facebook. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested)