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Spread The Love (And Pay Us)

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the brilliantly-insipid dept.

The Almighty Buck 442

Digitus1337 writes "Wired has an article up about a new online service known as 'FunHi.' You sign up and join a community, and give your fellows gifts, but as Wired has reported, 'these are not ordinary gifts. They're purely digital: little flashing icons of cars, planes, diamond rings and other virtual representations of expensive items included in messages members send each other. And FunHi members don't seem to care that the real money they're spending on the gifts, at prices as high as $30 an item, is going straight into the company's coffers." This leaves just one question unanswered... why didn't I think of this?" It sounds like an April Fool's Joke, but then, so does online trading of Everquest loot.

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wow... (5, Insightful)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714145)


FunHI - yet another reason capitalism should come with a warning

Re:wow... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714258)

fag? you . fag !

Snobby Greedy Bitch... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714150)

What about the Snobby Greedy Bitch... the one who thinks these gifts are reprsentative of real ones?

Then $30 will seem quite inexpensive.

Re:Snobby Greedy Bitch... (5, Insightful)

websaber (578887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714399)

It's getting to the point were some people have so much that there's nothing you can buy them, so now you can give the thought with out burdening them with the need to actually deal with the item.

Why would I pay for this? (1, Funny)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714159)


I can send digital files to my friends for FREE thank you very much!

Mod is drunk at 11:00 AM!!! (-1, Offtopic)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714305)

Just like me!! :)

How can the third post be redundant when it is a new topic?? LOL! DRUNK I TELLS 'E!!!

Re:Mod is drunk at 11:00 AM!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714359)

Mod is drunk at 11:00 AM!!!
i'm on the west coast you insensitive clod! i'm drunk at quarter to 8!

Status symbols (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714161)

I suppose a real diamond ring is a status symbol, as is using a $10 bill to light your cigar.

So too is throwing your money away with a virtual gift. let them who want to, do it.

Re:Status symbols (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714208)

I suppose a real diamond ring is a status symbol, as is using a $10 bill to light your cigar.

And there's the adage "It's the thought that counts." And many of the gifts mentioned aren't really functional anyway (excluding the car).

Of course, if your friend is the kind who turns around and sells your gifts for cash, they may not like these gifts as much.

Re:Status symbols (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714274)

The diamond ring is only a status symobol because of the virtual scarcity that DeBeers, etc create. It's closer to this FunHI scam than many relize.

Re:Status symbols (5, Insightful)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714284)

I suppose a real diamond ring is a status symbol

Agreed. Buying a diamond is saying "here DeBeers, have some money" just so other people can see that you gave DeBeers lots of money. It's simply a more socially accepted method of throwing your money away.

Re:Status symbols (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714311)

This may surprise you but some people actually think diamonds are nice to look at and that's why they buy them. It has nothing to do with status symbols. Then again, you've probably never even spoken to a girl so you have no idea.

Re:Status symbols (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714332)

Thanks for the laugh.

Re:Status symbols (1)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714380)

Diamonds are just as nice to look at as other stones. Stones that, I might add, cost a small fraction of what diamonds do despite their relative rarity (in nature - not the artificial rarity that DeBeers constructed).

And, thankfully, my fiancee is not all doped up on diamonds like most women. She wanted a $250 sapphire from Sam's Club for her engagement ring. Yes, gentlemen....I have found the perfect woman :)

Re:Status symbols (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714381)

Well, it is not totally insane to invest in gems or jewelry. i.e., one can expect a resale market and if one is well-informed, one can exploit the market .

There is no resale market here, it would seem.

Personally... (5, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714164)


I'd love you more if you just gave me the money...

Why is this a troll? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714247)

It's a goddamned joke!!!

Re:Personally... (2, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714250)

Troll? I was being serious. And joking.

Funny as Hell (-1, Offtopic)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714283)

Stupid mods

Article Text - for those who don't like sound ads (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714173)

Original text: http://tinyurl.com/2332n

Over the last month, Nikoma Lee has received more than $1,000 worth of gifts from friends she barely knows and only recently met through a new service called FunHi.

For Lee to receive gifts from near strangers is probably not all that uncommon, as she's a beautiful young woman beginning a career as a model.

During the same time period, George Georgiades, a 25-year-old consultant, has spent about a grand giving presents to his own group of new FunHi friends.

But these are not ordinary gifts. They're purely digital: little flashing icons of cars, planes, diamond rings and other virtual representations of expensive items included in messages members send each other. And FunHi members don't seem to care that the real money they're spending on the gifts, at prices as high as $30 an item, is going straight into the company's coffers.

"It gives me the same pleasure like at Christmas," says Georgiades. "When the money ran out, I went and got more. A hundred dollars at a time, (and) over time it added up."

Mike Peng, too, has been buying gifts for his fellow FunHi members at a rapid rate. Often, he says, it was as a result of him and other members trying to out-generous each other.

I "got into a tag fest with some of them," Peng says. "It's like if someone got you something, you get them something back, and with a few people I got into a gift-giving contest."

All told, the 26-year-old says, he's spent nearly $300 on gifts in just three weeks.

A visit to the FunHi Gift Shoppe gives a quick lesson in the service's hip-hop sensibility. Though surely a small percentage of FunHi's users actually talk like the gangstas they portray, it's evident that nearly everyone involved has fun pretending they do.

Thus, members can spend real dollars on things such as a "FunHi Luv Byrd." For $15, a FunHi member could give another pal this "plane," which is touted in the gift shop as "the ultimate symbol of the Playa that knows no limits to luv! No matter where you at, you can get there just in time to watch the sunset together on the beaches of an exotic paradise. Hanger and white-gloved crew included. Bring yo baby and take off for an adventure anytime."

Another option might be $7 for "The Cleaner," a rather ominous gift for the paranoid. Its blurb says, "Every playa is bound to make some enemies. Get your favorite balla' their very own hitman. Put the contract out, sit back and watch the haters drop. One bullet, no trace and no case."

The point of all this gift giving is that FunHi members want to meet as many of each other as possible, and quickly. Where eBay members get a feedback rating showing their trustworthiness, FunHi users rack up a "buzz" rating, as well as "fans." One way the buzz ratings and numbers of fans go up is by being seen within the community as generous and responsive to receiving gifts.

Of course, being a young good-looking female doesn't hurt, as the members with the most fans are all women whose pictures show them in sexy, alluring poses.
To hear Joshua Selman tell it, FunHi never intended to get its members to spend significant amounts of cold hard cash on these virtual gifts.

"It's ludicrous," says Selman, the company's vice president of business development. "It wasn't something we had planned. Our customers asked us for this.... It just exploded on us. It's not like we're trying to bilk people. They really want it. I think it's a prestige" thing. Georgiades seems to agree with Selman's notion.

"If someone is nice enough to get me something nice, I always try and return the favor," he says.

He also says he doesn't mind that FunHi is pocketing the money he spends on gifts that, other than demonstrating his esteem for the recipient, can't be used for anything, or even be re-gifted.

"It's a donation for a service," he says. "I probably overdid it though. Gotta feed the habit."

In fact, Georgiades says FunHi shouldn't be blamed for its members' spending habits. Speaking for himself, at least, he acknowledges he's the one who kept spending and spending.

"It's not their fault," he says. "I thought I was stupid after looking at last month's credit card bill."

Selman says FunHi has banked about $10,000 in the month since FunHi launched. And given that Georgiades himself has paid about 10 percent of that, it's clear that not all of the service's 6,500 active members are doing the same thing.

To be sure, the gift shop offers much cheaper options, such as the "Miku Luv Token," which costs a penny. "The currency of innocent luv on FunHi. Show em sum luv, give em sum buzz, Miku style. Luv don't cost a thang," says the token's blurb.

"Everyone can communicate off the site without even spending a dime," says Selman. "Yet they've chosen to use this gifted message to show esteem for the other person."

Meanwhile, Selman explains that from FunHi's corporate perspective, it is more a game than social-networking service.

"It's totally goatse" says Selman, whose speech makes him sound like someone who's never been anywhere near a ghetto. "We wanted the entire entity to encapsulate a game environment where people are playing roles."

He explains that when a new member signs up, he or she must choose from around 50 personas, including "Bad Boy," "Booty Call," "Gangsta," "Hustla" and many others.

"So as an individual, you go on (to) choose a role," Selman says. "Your persona is being filtered through a role-playing relationship with other people."

The service aims, according to what might be called its bylaws, to foster purely positive and friendly interactions.

"It's very interesting and different," says Judith Meskill, who blogs about social networking, "this 'hater' proof system they have.... It sounds like very rap, but by the same token, it's playing into people's security and privacy issues at a very edgy level."

In any case, FunHi definitely seems to have captured its members' imagination and attention, not to mention their credit cards.

Georgiades says he logs on to the service a few times a day, no matter what.

"I was away in Brazil last week, so (I) was inactive for the first time," he says. "But (I) still managed to log on."

Sounds like the perfect mailing list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714176)

For Nigerian scam suckers and potential MMORPG players.

Dammit!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714177)

WHy can't I think of a cool scam like this ?!

On the plus side... (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714179)

... maybe the people who are prepared to pay out cash for virtual items will be so busy trading their nonexistent gifts they won't have time to breed, and the average IQ will go up. At the very least, it should keep the terminally gullible out of circulation.

Re:On the plus side... (2, Funny)

theCulture (317496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714347)

Let's take a more direct approach: Let people subscribe to this for six months, then have a cull of all community members, preferably with something large and blunt.

Result: The base level of stupidity is removed from the gene pool. Rejoice!

Re:On the plus side... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714369)

In fact, they're using pictures of expensive gifts to woo pictures of beautiful women! (By the standards of the camwhore community, anyway.) Even Jared Diamond would be baffled.

There is a sort of demented logic to it, but as you say, it's unlikely that any real breeding will result.

Like.... (5, Insightful)

bitchell (159219) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714180)

Like purchasing a square on the moon. Whats the point.

A fool and their money are soon parted.

Re:Like.... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714309)

No, the moon land could be valuable in future. It probably won't, but it could - especially if you buy it for a child and they keep it into adulthood.

A digital image is not going to rise in value because it is not tangible property and it can be easily reproduced.

Re:Like.... (4, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714346)

It probably won't, but it could - especially if you buy it for a child and they keep it into adulthood.

Except for the people who are "selling" land on the moon, have no legal right to do so, and therefore you are just giving money to them as an example of your own stupidity.

Re:Like.... (1)

bitchell (159219) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714348)

Moon land won't mean shit, the government will just step in and take it all away as soon as it has any hint of value.

Re:Like.... (0)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714403)

And what do you think the chances are of your descendant not having their little plot of moon land confiscated/compulsory purchased the second it actually becomes valuable?

Amazing (4, Funny)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714182)

This reminds me of a line from Larouche in Adaptation [imdb.com] :

I'm training myself on the internet. It's fascinating. I'm doing pornography. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what.

Paying for crappy porn.. that's bad. But paying 30 bucks for a stupid icon? These people are dumber than that guy that loves his spam. [slashdot.org]

Re:Amazing (1)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714318)

I'd pay 30 bucks to not have to look at crappy porn when I get on the internet. Damn adware!!

Brain-dead lusers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714184)

Cripes, why didn't I patent this?

1) sell online, virtual junk
2) get AOL community interested
3) ???
4) Profit!

(fp?)

It's kind of like having a real life tamagotchi (3, Funny)

bl4nk (607569) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714186)

That you spend real life money on..

Re:It's kind of like having a real life tamagotchi (5, Funny)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714260)

I have one of those. It's called a dog.

Not just April's fools (0, Troll)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714187)

It just proves that Fools are not found only in April but all year round.
April Fools jokes are not funny compared to reality..

Why is this a troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714248)

Bit of an over reaction!

Re:Why is this a troll? (1)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714343)

Over reaction? If this had been posted on April fools day everyone would be thinking "Can't they come up with something less obvious?"

Re:Why is this a troll? (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714393)

agreed.

More proof that... (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714189)

A fool and their money soon part. Capitalism seems to make this easier, and the internet makes it EVEN easier. I say good for this company, if an idiot wants to spend $30 on a picture of a ring, let him, it is no less idiotic than spending a couple grand on a real one.

Charm Bracelets? (2, Insightful)

themightythor (673485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714190)

These sound like the charm bracelets that my little sister drooled over in the 80's. Except even more pointless.

Re:Charm Bracelets? (1)

Ateryx (682778) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714402)

These sound like the charm bracelets that my little sister drooled over in the 80's. Except even more pointless.

I'll have you know that advanced levels of computing power and precision grade machine engineering go into making every charm. THATS why it costs $20 for an 1/10 gram, stanless steel piece of elegance.

Sadly enough it seems lately charm braclets are making a comeback.

Read it all...you'll be glad you did! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714196)

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IT IS THIS MISAPRAHENSION ABOUT DA PURPOSA OF ADUCATION TAHT HAS SUSTANEED OUR COLAGE SYSTEM THROUGH TEH LAST THRE DECAEDS HOW3VER AS TEH NIENTEIS DR3W 2 A CLOS3 TEH TIED OF CHILDREN BORN OF PAERNTS WHO HAD ATEND3D COLEGA IN TEH SIXTEIS BGAN 2 DRY UP1!11 OMG LOL M3RICAS COLEG3S AND AV3N OUR MOST REVARED UNIEVRSITEIS HAEV BGUN 2 FEL DA SQUEZA AS 2 MANY INSTITUTIONS COMPET3 FOR 2 F3W STUDENTS!1!!!! OMG WTF IT IS THIS HIGHLY COMPETITIEV ENVIRONMENT TAHT HAS CAUSAD SOM3 OF OUR MOST RASPECTED INSTITUTIONS 2 START SALNG DEGRES1!11!1 OMG LOL

IT WAS NOT LONG AFTER I FIRST BGAN USNG TEH INTERN3T TAHT I RECEIEVD MAH FIRST OFER OF A COL3G3 DEGRE FOR NO MORE THAN TW3NTY DOLARS!11!!1! OMG LOL APAERNTLY THIS PRACTIEC HAS BCOMA COMON MONG ADUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND DA ONLY DIF3RENCE NOW BTWEN A HARVARD DAGRE AND ONE FROM A DAGRE MIL SUCH AS CARNEGEI-MELON IS TEH PRIEC U PAY!1111!11 OMG A DEPR3SNG STAET OF AFARES OFERNG NO PLAUSIBL3 BNEFITS 2 MAH CHILDREN!!!11! I WIL NOT HAEV MAH FL3SH AND BLOD PARTICIPAET IN THIS HYPOCRISY1!1!! WTF LOL

AND WUT OF TEH SUPOS3D BNEFITS OF EDUCATION??!!!?!?! LOL WHIEL TEH DR3MS OF SUCAS TAHT DRAW HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS 2 COL3GE MAY B COMPELNG DA FACTS R NOT SO ATRACTIEV11!!!1 WTF MOST COL3G3 GRADUAETS DONT MOUNT 2 MUCH MOR3 THAN A MADIOCRA SUCES IN DA REAL WORLD!!1!1111 WTF ON DA OTHER HAND W3 R ALWAYS HEARNG TAELS OF PEOPLE SUCH AS BIL GAETS WHO DID NOT AT3ND COL3G3 - OR SOMETIEMS 3V3N FINISH HIGH SKOOL - ACHEIVNG INCR3DIBLE WEALTH AND FME11!1!1! OMG WTF DA 3DUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS OF MERICA HAEV LITLA 2 OFER BUT DISILUSIONM3NT AND CORUPTION!11!!!11 LOL WHIEL A PROP3RLY EDUCAETD 3LIET IS NECESARY FOR SOCEITY 2 FUNCTION WEL DA STAET COLAGE SYSTAM HAS DONA LITL3 2 ADVANC3 DA ADUCATION OF OUR LEAEDRS AND MUCH 2 UNDERMIEN NOT ONLY KNOWLEDGA AND TRUTH IN THASA UNIETD STAETS BUT ALSO TEH PRASTIEG TAHT 3DUCATION BRNGS!1!11! WTF OFERNG LIETRALY HUNDRADS OF SOFT OPTION COURSES SUCH AS PSYCHOLOGY AND ASTROPHYSICS TEH MOD3RN MARICAN STUDANT HAS BCOM3 RENOWN3D NOT FOR L3ARNNG BUT FOR INDOLENC3 AND IMATURITY!1!111!! AV3N DA SAT EXMINATION - DA BASIS OF COLEGE ENTRY - HAS BAN UPDAETD 2 B COMPOSED ALMOST 3NTIERLY OF MULTIPL3 CHOIEC QUASTIONS SO 3ASILY GUES3D TAHT CH3ATNG (NOT 2 MENTION LAARNNG) IS ALMOST POINTL3S!11!1 WTF M3RICAN RAVOLVNG DOR COLEGES R QUIET CLAARLY MAKNG A MOK3RY OF OUR NATIONS PROUD HARITAEG1!1!!1! OMG WTF LOL

IN OUR MODARN COLEGES CHILDR3N R TURNED AGANEST THERE PAERNTS AND TAUGHT 2 HAET SOCEITY1!1!!1 WTF LOVNG AND R3SPACTFUL U M3N AND WOM3N R RATURN3D 2 THERE PAERNTS HAETFUL AND WITHDRAWN!111 SO-CALED S3XUAL LIEBRATION RILLY A 3UPHAMISM FOR INSTITUTIONALIEZD RAEP) ABOUNDS WITHIN COLEGA DORMI2REIS AND NO 3FORT IS MAED 2 CONTROL UND3RAEG DRINKNG AND DRUG ABUSE111111! OMG LOL I SHIEVR AT DA THOUGHT OF WUT MIGHT BFAL POR BLARE WHEN SH3 R3TURNS 2 COLEGE!1!111 OMG WTF LOL WHAN WE SE HER AGANE I WORY TAHT SH3 WIL HAEV BCOM3 ADICTED 2 NARCOTICS SUCH AS MARIJUANA H3ROIN OR SMAK!1!!! WTF I CANOT ALOW MAH CHILDRAN 2 FAL IN2 DA SM3 TRAP11!1!11! WTF LOL

SINCE DA ILUSION OF COLAG3 HAS BAN SO AFECTIEVLY SHATARED FOR ME I HAEV RAVIESD MAH 3XPECTATIONS FOR MAH CHILDREN11!! WTF LOL NONE WIL ATEND COL3GE BUT INSTAAD THEY WIL FIND JOBS IN DA INDUSTREIS TAHT MAED MARICA GREAT!1!1 OMG DA INDUSTREIS UPON WHICH OUR NATION WAS BUILT111!!11 OMG WTF I WIL B PROUD 2 B DA FIRST FATHAR IN MAH 2WN 2 COUNT MONG MAH CHILDR3N AN AU2-WORKAR A SOLDEIR A STEL MIENR A S3CRETARY A BAUTICIAN AND A WATER3S111!!! OMG WTF LOL THESE R NOBLE AND HONEST TRAEDS DESPIET THERE UNGLMOROUS IMAEG1!1!1!! LOL

IF I W3RE A MORA POWERFUL MAN I WUD DO MORA!111 OMG LOL I WUD CAL FOR DA DISMANTLNG OF TEH STAET COLAGE SYSTAM!!1!1 OMG LOL I WUD D3MAND A DRASTIC RADUCTION IN OUR GOVERNMENTS EDUCATION BUDG3T!!!!111 WTF LOL I WUD FIGHT 2TH AND NALE 2 KEP OUR NATIONS CHILDRAN OUT OF COL3G3!!!!1! OMG WTF LOL I M HOW3V3R NO MOR3 THAN A HUMBLE FATH3R OF SIX AND I CAN ONLY TRY 2 PROT3CT WUT IS MAH OWN!!!1!1

Re:Read it all...you'll be glad you did! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714267)

TRANSLATION:

I remember watching Blair grow up alongside my own children. Though older than them all, she was a fine playmate for my girls, and since her parents are quite devout, I had no qualms about her giving my children any strange ideas. I remember a freckled and knee-skinned eight year old, riding bikes with my eldest daughter on our avenue beneath the sycamores in their Springtime glory. I watched her as she went through her awkward teenage years, uncertain and confused. The proudest memory we have of her is as a young woman, freshly home from finishing school, before she was sent off to receive a higher education. I had my qualms about her parents' decision to allow her to attend MIT, a notoriously secular university, but these were settled when some brief investigation revealed that MIT was considered to be even more conformist than Berkeley. So, it was with a proud smile and a merry wave that my family watched young Blair leave our town to seek her destiny in the halls of academe. Little did we realise that the girl who would return to us would not be the same radiant young woman whose memory we had cherished.

It wasn't until Thanksgiving dinner, which our families traditionally eat together, that I met young Blair again. The aggrieved expression on her father, Miles' face was all the first hint that this would not be the joyful reunion we had expected. Minutes later, Blair was coaxed downstairs by her mother. The sight of her left us all quite taken aback. Gone was the long, strawberry-blonde hair that had made her the envy and delight of all her peers. It had been cropped to barely shoulder length and dyed fiercely black. Her once radiant skin was now sickly pale, giving the impression, I felt, of a subterranean lifestyle. She dressed in the anti-social style of a militant nonconformist; in purple boots, grey army-style pants and a heavy, drab wool sweater.

Throughout dinner, young Blair was a sullen presence at the table, casting a pall on what should have been a convivial evening. She was monosyllabic in her replies to questions about college. Her face was constantly downturned, as though she wanted to pretend there was nobody else present at the table. When I asked her about the boys she had met at college, and if she was having finding any good husband material, she finally looked up, only to give me the most angry, hurt stare I have ever had from a young woman. The whites of her eyes were very red, as though she had been crying for hours, and her lip trembled, as if she were on the verge of saying something, but she obviously thought better of it, and returned to resolutely studying her dinner plate. It was then that I realised that something terrible had happened to her at college, most likely at the hands of heartless college men.

How could a few months of college change a person so completely? As much as it hurt me, I knew that I could not allow the drastically altered attitudes of young Blair to affect my family. I would not allow my children to be so irrevocably damaged. With heartfelt apologies to Miles, I told my children that they were not allowed to see Blair ever again. The strident complaints of my three daughters told me I had made the correct decision. Already they had begun to be drawn to her attitude of teenage rebellion. It felt good to know that I had acted in time to save them.

Of course, I was shaken enough by the events of Thanksgiving to begin reassessing the pros and cons of a college education for my children. The misgivings I had been feeling over the past few years now seemed more well-grounded, while the benefits of college had taken on the aspect of wishful thinking. Was it really worth the risk, to send my children away, to pay tens of thousands for an education that they might not even get?

Americans have not always harboured college ambitions for their progeny. Until the 1960s, it was not common to meet college graduates. Even though the GI benefits program provides for college education for returning soldiers, most of those who survived WW2 did not exercise those particular benefits. College ambition was simply not part of the American culture, until the Sixties.

It was thanks to the Vietnam war that college became the expected continuation of a middle class child's life. With the new SAT program opening possibilities that had once been restricted to the children of privileged families, more students took it upon themselves to seek acceptance in tertiary institutions. Coupled with the fact that college entry delayed the draft for as long as the child was at college, it is easy to see why America in the Sixties saw such a massive rise in college applications. A rise so unexpected and so large that the nation was forced to almost bankrupt itself to build state colleges to accept the middle class children fleeing the war.

What did this leave us with? A well educated middle class? Alas, no. The result of the boom in education has been a tide of smug, mistaught state college graduates, who consider themselves to be the example of the modern intellectual, despite having spent their entire three years at college indulging their basest appetites and avoiding any form of learning. Not that avoiding learning is difficult in America's state colleges. These institutions have never been known for their high academic standards.After the war ended, the college system's primary function -- to provide a shelter from the draft -- ceased. Even so, the state colleges have remained little more than degree mills and pretentious sleep-away schools for spoiled middle American teenagers who want to delay growing up for a few more years.

As the college graduates of those turbulent years raise their own children to college age, they of course look back on their college years as the best time of their lives. Having based much of their self-esteem on their all-but-worthless degrees, they naturally see college as the logical next step for their children, and encourage them to attend whatever liberal arts course they feel like. No doubt, they imagine college will transform their child into the next Susan Sontag or P. J. O'Rourke. Of course, they have forgotten that their presence at college was not for the sake of education, but was born of the cowardice that bought our nation its first ever military defeat.

It is this misapprehension about the purpose of education that has sustained our college system through the last three decades, however, as the nineties drew to a close, the tide of children born of parents who had attended college in the Sixties began to dry up. America's colleges and even our most revered universities have begun to feel the squeeze, as too many institutions compete for too few students. It is this highly competitive environment that has caused some of our most respected institutions to start selling degrees.

It was not long after I first began using the internet that I received my first offer of a college degree for no more than twenty dollars. Apparently, this practice has become common among educational institutions, and the only difference now between a Harvard degree and one from a degree mill such as Carnegie-Mellon is the price you pay. A depressing state of affairs, offering no plausible benefits to my children. I will not have my flesh and blood participate in this hypocrisy.

And what of the supposed benefits of education? While the dreams of success that draw hundreds of thousands to college may be compelling, the facts are not so attractive. Most college graduates don't amount to much more than a mediocre success in the real world. On the other hand, we are always hearing tales of people such as Bill Gates who did not attend college -- or sometimes even finish high school -- achieving incredible wealth and fame.

The educational institutions of America have little to offer but disillusionment and corruption. While a properly educated elite is necessary for society to function well, the state college system has done little to advance the education of our leaders, and much to undermine not only knowledge and truth in these United States, but also the prestige that education brings. Offering literally hundreds of soft option courses such as psychology and astrophysics, the modern American student has become renowned not for learning, but for indolence and immaturity. Even the SAT examination -- the basis of college entry -- has been "updated" to be composed almost entirely of multiple choice questions, so easily guessed that cheating (not to mention learning) is almost pointless. American revolving door colleges are quite clearly making a mockery of our nation's proud heritage.

In our modern colleges, children are turned against their parents, and taught to hate society. Loving and respectful young men and women are returned to their parents hateful and withdrawn. So-called sexual "liberation" (really a euphemism for institutionalized rape) abounds within college dormitories, and no effort is made to control underage drinking and drug abuse. I shiver at the thought of what might befall poor Blair when she returns to college. When we see her again I worry that she will have become addicted to narcotics such as marijuana, heroin or smack. I cannot allow my children to fall into the same trap.

Since the illusion of college has been so effectively shattered for me, I have revised my expectations for my children. None will attend college, but instead, they will find jobs in the industries that made America great. The industries upon which our nation was built. I will be proud to be the first father in my town to count among my children an auto-worker, a soldier, a steel miner, a secretary, a beautician and a waitress. These are noble and honest trades, despite their unglamorous image.

If I were a more powerful man, I would do more. I would call for the dismantling of the state college system. I would demand a drastic reduction in our government's education budget. I would fight tooth and nail to keep our nation's children out of college. I am, however, no more than a humble father of six, and I can only try to protect what is my own.

From http://www.adequacy.org/public/stories/2002.1.15.4 15.13121.html

Cool! (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714197)

This is so cool! I'm signing up right after my labotomy!

Next thing you know AIM will be charging for the use of emoticons in their IMs...

Re:Cool! (1)

zapp (201236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714408)

Next thing you know AIM will be charging for the use of emoticons in their IMs...

QUICK! pattent that idea before they do!

Looks like they ripped their rating system... (4, Funny)

MadAnthony02 (626886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714198)

Their buzz system [funhi.com] (scroll down) is a direct ripoff of eBay's feedback system [ebay.com] . Wonder how long they get sued for that?

Re:Looks like they ripped their rating system... (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714297)

About the time that kindergarden teachers band together and sue ebay for using stars as a feedback method.

Ebay didn't think of it first.

Much ado about nothing... (5, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714201)

From the article:

"Selman says FunHi has banked about $10,000 in the month since FunHi launched. And given that Georgiades himself has paid about 10 percent of that, it's clear that not all of the service's 6,500 active members are doing the same thing."

If two people (the article mentions one other having spent $1000) account for 20% of the $10K that this company has made in a month, this seems more like silliness on the part of a very few people, and shouldn't really be considered "newsworthy".

Re:Much ado about nothing... (5, Funny)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714339)

But it's a great way to make your stock go up and get out early!!

1. Invent dumb idea
2. Have rich investor modify the stock price
3. Profit!
4. RUN!

Re:Much ado about nothing... (1)

.nuno (153038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714405)

But not very original, is it?

People will pay a lot for esteem and attention (4, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714202)

It may sound silly, but little things like this are seen as validating by a lot of people who spend a significant amount of time online. You don't really 'have' anything, but you know that someone, somewhere spent money on you.

How much to send a goatse pic? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714207)

When you care enough to send the *very* best, why bother sending it yourself if you can pay professionals to do it?

Popularity (5, Funny)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714209)

The article mentions that the most popular members are invariably attractive females whose pictures show them scantily clad and in sexy poses.

Seeing as this "buying nothing" idea is a capitalist's dream, I think it's only a matter of time before these attractive females rise up above their alleged vapidity to realize that they can control the world. As much as I hate to admit it, think about it: who would you vote for between George W. and Britney Spears?

Re:Popularity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714275)

I'd vote for Britney, but you've gotta give George W credit for rising above his own vapidity to become the worst president never elected.

Re:Popularity (4, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714367)

Yeah, I'm sure that they're all very attractive. Just like in real life.

Deception [210west.com] . The Internet's full of it.

Re:Popularity (2, Funny)

sct (28839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714406)

Is there any way I can just shoot myself instead? Maybe I would just kill myself with a fork.

Couldn't you at least pick a non-slutty "woman" over Ms. Spears? Or maybe a modern era politician over a Puritan wannabe?

fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714211)

An fool and his money are soon parted.

Excellent! (4, Funny)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714213)

It's good to know that there are plenty of suckers left in the world, I was getting worried that my combo hair brush, vegetable peeler and ice skate sharpener wasn't going to sell!

Brilliant! Slashdot could make money this way... (2, Insightful)

jrduncans (715704) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714214)

How I wish that I were unscrupulous enough to come up with such an idea. This system would be equivalent to: if Slashdot moderation were geared towards highly rating those posts that advertised for their sponsors...

Hmmm (3, Insightful)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714216)

Just as well there aren't 2 billion starving people in the...

Oh, wait.

Not to worry (5, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714319)

I just bought them some pictures of food.

Oh, hush. (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714328)

It's not like the money that's spent on this is taken out of circulation, no? It's just moved somewhere else -- a company that pays its employees and (presumably) its shareholders [via dividends], who it turn spend it on... well, whatever they spend it on, which may or may not include feeding starving people.

Indeed, if the people who spend money on this are the kind of people who aren't inclined to give money to feed the starving, then it's to the benefit of those who are starving that the money is now out of their hands and in someone else's.

Re:Oh, hush. (1)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714407)

What have you been to an "Economics for dummies" presentation, as hosted by some sort of fucked up Republican idiot who manages to make people believe the concept of trickle down wealth?

The money no doubt goes straight into the pocket of some smart and lucky 26 year old arsehole who promptly spends it all on Porsches and blowing coke up assholes, that sort of thing.

What, you think he gives it to UNICEF?

So do these people meet up in real life? (1)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714217)

If it'll get me layed I'll shell out $30 on an icon.. :D

BANG!

Test for them? (3, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714218)

Their domain expires 09-apr-2007. I guess the short term domain "lease" suggests this was an experiment for them, which seems to have paid off. Now I'm wondering what else they've done or had planned.

a digital diamond ring for my gf (4, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714219)

gf: LIKEOMGWTF!!!!11

me: but it's the thought that counts, right?

Wow, people and what they will do (1)

ethiaa (766707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714222)

Wow, I have to say people will fall for anything. Why not just take the $30 and send it to me. That way I can send them receipts for new stuff that I buy and it will serve the same purpose

Last chance..... (1)

AsimovBesterClarke (701529) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714225)

....to send me your dollar.

no different from diamonds (5, Insightful)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714227)

The real value of diamonds is a small fraction of what they cost in the market. The reason they are expensive is because a smart cartell has established them as expensive, if valueless, tokens of affection. And there is ample precedent in biology: males are supposed to demonstrate their wealth and prowess by not having to care about expending costly resources on useless pursuits.

However, if you are going to do this, why not dispose of your resources in some socially valuable way? Demonstrate your boundless resources by making a "platinum circle" donation to your local opera house, either in your own name or in your sweetheart's name.

Re:no different from diamonds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714338)

Which is why the new "man made" diamonds are only about 1/4 of the cost of real diamonds.. and look a lot cooler too.

Have you SEEN those man made yellow diamonds?

(you need a $20,000 peice of equiment to tell the difference between the real and false ones. Otherwise, even aged and experienced jewlers cant tell)

How much are these 'gifts worth'? (1)

Fluidic Binary (554336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714232)

I have always found these sorts of economies very odd. They also tend to be rather unstable.

I wonder if this system will endure or eventually collapse.

Also how do you handle fraud incases like this, where the only person who determines value is the individual selling the item. What I mean by this, is how value is a digital file that can be trivially replaced. Does its actual cost related to bandwidth or harddrive space etc?

Who should legally determine value in systems like this?

The FunHI Corporation is a division... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714237)

...of P.T. Barnum global holdings.

The most obvious reply ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714238)

Moderators prepare to mod 10,000 indignant replies of "I'm not stupid enough to fall for this!, I would never be involved in something like that!"

Make anything "cute" enough and you'll get a backing from fools. Now if only the moderators thought my anonymous cowardice was cute enough to moderate up. :) ;) ;D etc

Obligatory (0, Troll)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714240)

Why don't people give the money to the starving in Africa or use it to find a cure for cancer?

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714384)

Why don't people give the money to the starving in Africa or use it to find a cure for cancer?

Because they don't get anything tangible in.. oh.. nevermind.

People are dumb shits (1)

andy_shepard (315539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714241)

Wow. Just when I thought my opinion of the average person couldn't get any lower, I see something like this.

Way too much. (1)

Omni Magnus (645067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714242)

I am sorry, but anybody who buys Everquest characters, or stuff for their characters is almost as much of a loser as the guy who played the game 8 hours a day to get it. I am not saying that all people who play MMORPGs are losers, just the ones that pay for stuff and spend way too much time on it.

Re:Way too much. (4, Insightful)

BasharTeg (71923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714337)

It's not like there aren't a thousand other "accepted" hobbies in the world that eat up far more time and money. Let people spend their life / time / money as they see fit. If you don't like it, just don't play. If you're just knocking on other people because you can't seem to find a hobby that interests you as much, I pity you.

Let them pay up... (1)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714244)

If you pay 30 dollars for a digital representation of a diamond ring, then you deserve to be 30 dollars poorer. Same as people who think coffee is worth 3 bucks a cup, and MS Office is worth 300 bucks.

just what do va lairIE/robbIE spend your monIE on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714245)

stuff that matters eye gas? gnu online dating promotions? corepirate nazi execrable stock markup FraUD 'support groups'?

yikes almighty. lookout bullow.

all is not cost?lost?

Should make for some interesting lawsuits/cases (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714251)

So if these virtual items are worth money, I wonder what will happen when some enterprising hacker finds a way to copy them for free? Will the company try to sue the person for copying items that have no inherent value anyway. And what when someone asks for their virtual engagement ring back when they break up with their virtual fiancee?

FunHi from Yuggoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714264)

This is just a new plot by those dreaded MiGo (the Fungi from Yuggoth).

meh (2, Interesting)

monkease (726622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714265)

"never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"

but really, this does go to show something about how we attach value to even worthless things. way back when in britain there was a fad involving flower bulbs; way back when in america there was a fad involving beanie babies. when you really think about it, does the negligible manufacturing cost of a beanie baby really make it signifigantly more valuable than a magnetic charge on a hard drive?

Theft ? (1)

Dave21212 (256924) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714268)


Ok, so what happens the first time someone 'steals' a 'virtual' diamond ring on this service... I mean, do you call out the virtual police, perform a virtual investigation, put virtual handcuffs on the virtual criminal, call the virtual judge... you get the idea.

You just *know* it's going to happen. What sort of crazy conversion laws do you think they'll try to apply ?

Man, I would really hate to have to tell the inmate next to me that I'm in for "stealing a bunch of diamond icons for my cyber-girlfriend"

Before you go off on FunHi people being stupid... (1)

Wampus Aurelius (627669) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714278)

"It's ludicrous," says Selman, the company's vice president of business development. "It wasn't something we had planned. Our customers asked us for this.... It just exploded on us. It's not like we're trying to bilk people. They really want it. I think it's a prestige" thing. Georgiades seems to agree with Selman's notion.

Selman says FunHi has banked about $10,000 in the month since FunHi launched. And given that [one customer] himself has paid about 10 percent of that, it's clear that not all of the service's 6,500 active members are doing the same thing.


So probably only a few members are spending money for nothing, and the owners claim it wasn't their idea. Fascinating.

This seems fine to me, basic economics (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714299)

(I never took an econ class, so this is just my thoughts on the subject)

So, they create a community that has a percieved value in virtual items. There is a demand (that they created) for these items (that they created.) They supply falsely "limited" virtual items at a price.

Well, if people are willing and happy to pay it, they can supply it. Seems fine to me. Hopefully people are happy with their purchases. I wouldnt buy into it, personally. But, then again, Im the type that thinks MMORPGS are fairly foolish as well.

Wouldn't it be nice ? (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714302)

...if they gave a part (say, half of it) to non-profit organisation to education of developping countries or whatever....

NO, Buying porsches [slashdot.org] doesn't count as non-profit organisation !

Use of money (1, Funny)

uucp2 (731567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714317)

Wow, this definitely goes to #2 place in my "top 10 ways to waste money list", right after SCO's Linux licenses.

But is it a conn? (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714322)

I guess a student posing behind the picture of a sexy girl could attact enough "love" to pay for his salary, the models photo-shoot, and leave some profit for the company...

Almost... (1)

nicky_d (92174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714331)

Well, this is halfway there. Instead of spending money on actual crap, people are spending money on abstractions of crap. Now, the next step is to get them to create this crap on their own, make their own icons, and send those. Use MS Paint or whatever you've got. And that could be the start of something healthy, the path leading away from the crap. A community where people made gifts of original creations, that seems like a sound idea to me. FunHI! has achieved the important first step of removing money from the equation. Onward!

Everquest Humer eh? (1)

Chitlenz (184283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714350)

I know at least 2 ppl that broke 6-figures last year playing that game and selling the cash they made from item sales to yantis (the 1000lb gorilla of the everquest auctions).

In fact, EQ item sales have caused the rise of sweatshops of players to farm cashworthy loot as mentioned on /. before ....

http://games.slashdot.org/games/03/11/24/0141243 .s html

-chitlenz

The only thing worse... (1)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714351)

Next thing you know people will be paying good hard cash for a bottle of water.

Wait a minute! Now there is an idea for the ultimate waste of money: virtual bottled water.

Pimp (5, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714352)

From the article:

Of course, being a young good-looking female doesn't hurt, as the members with the most fans are all women whose pictures show them in sexy, alluring poses.

&

The service aims, according to what might be called its bylaws, to foster purely positive and friendly interactions.

Sheesh. Why not just call it "FunHo" and be done with it?

It's A Club... (1)

TexTex (323298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714354)

HiFun has a few things going for it. It's a members site which essentially ranks its members. Those who receive the most gifts are the most popular, so this could be compared with a dating service or one of those hot-or-not sites a few years back. Also, it's similar to friendster in that you collect this circle of people around you who you've invited inside.

Their members publish photos of themselves...attractive women in various poses as well as some regular looking joes. So now it's personal and less sterile than just icons or avatars.

Would people pay membership dues for something like this? Sure they would... HiFun has created an interactive webboard that just happens to draw some income for themselves. All of their elements have worked quite well before in parts of the web...might as well work for them too.

so, of those cute girls with the wish lists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8714355)

what percent of them are actually employees of FunHi... and have a face/body like goatse?

internet sex/flirting, you can always fake being cute or even being female.

US$30 != FunHi$30, and why its brilliant (5, Interesting)

salmo (224137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714366)

See real money gets changed for fake money. I think it's like US$10=FUnHi$30. Plus some of the gifts give the recipient even more fake money. All in all, most "gifts" cost just a few cents.

The thing is that they're tapping an already existing culture- racing and souping up import cars. It serves as a fan-club kind of thing for these import models, and then expands from there.

I really have to hand it to the guys who started it. They tapped a culture well, provided a means for them to play on the internet together and found a way to make a tidy profit off of it. Besides, you don't even need to pay to use it. You don't have to buy "gifts" for people. It's just a nice way to say "I like you" or whatever that backed up by a little bit more.

I'll admit, I accidently ran into this early on in its development and started playing along for mostly 2 reasons: 1) I was newly single so having cute asian girls give me compliments boosted my ego 2) I'm horrible with internet culture (IMing and other sorts of things where you speak with abbreviations and smileys) so I thought it would be funny to see how well I do (and how well "they" do) with my paragraphs and thinking.

It was fun for a while, but now it's getting really dull. Next!

Damn i want to exploit them too! (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714379)

Wow some people will buy anything!

"FunHi.Com has taken the lead as a next generation social networking site. Recognizing that online relationship time is replacing mainstay leisure activities like movies, TV and night clubs, it is successfully diverting leisure purchases to the relationship site itself. Results show that purchasing a virtual box of chocolates for another FunHi.Com member is far more satisfying than the passive glow of a film or TV screen?"

So basically you pay this company and the girls on the site get a cut. Now im not one to judge, i mean people are in to whatever they want, but really! some people are just too sad.

oh shit look! a linux thong [funhi.com] !!! i have to get it for that cute girl on the front page, then maybe ill get laid?

Actually no really can you get linux thongs? i want!

Goes to show how braindead consumers are. (2, Interesting)

DroopyStonx (683090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714382)

Here, let me draw a picture of a diamond ring... store it in this database here. Now, I'll have you and a few others sign up as members to this database.

You pay me $$, I will do a simple "INSERT INTO" statement and associate the diamond ring record with the recipient's user ID. You will feel good because you sent them a "gift", they will feel happy because they think they will have received a real gift.

You will think it's fun, I will think it's funny. I will be rich, you will be paying me to alter my data in my database.

At least this gives hope to people trying to make money out there.

I have an idea. I have a website filled with members and their email addresses. When you want to send a gift, YOU draw the gift using MS Paint. Upload the picture, I will email it to the recipient of your choice, and I will only charge $1.99. See, because YOU drew it and it would be from YOU! (The sad thing is, people would probably go for it)

Golden Rule? Shieat? (3, Funny)

HomeGroove (527053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8714389)

From the site [funhi.com] :
The FunHi Goldunn Rule: If ya can't say sumtin' nice, then don't say shieat!
I find it hard to call something a "company" when they have the non-word "shieat" and "sumtin'" on their site.
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