ASmall World, the invite-only social network for rich wastrels, seemed destined to go the way of MySpace. After all, what's a socialite network good for besides Style Section stuffing? But like that other late aughts relic, the company is hoping to pivot toward relevancy, in this case transforming the virtual country club into a sort of Groupon: Eurotrash Vacation.
A few years ago, a tiny social network catering exclusively to rich wastrels called ASmallWorld became a momentary fascination of gossip sites like ours, because, hey—an "invitation only" snobby Facebook for rich people? Someone dial up the NYT Style section piece at once! At the peak of its hype, the company attracted Harvey Weinstein as an investor; but ASW's traffic remained flat, and the sheen of the "Myspace for Millionaires" wore off, and he offloaded his stake. Eventually, people who weren't members of ASW stopped hearing about it.
The Huffington Post has an "exclusive" interview with Patrick Liotard-Vogt, the 25-year-old heir/spoiled brat from Switzerland who just bought the also-ran social network ASmallWorld from Harvey Weinstein. Curiously, the interview was conducted by Sabine Heller, who actually
works worked for ASmallWorld, a fact she doesn't bother to mention. But that only makes it all the more amusing when Liotard-Vogt uses the discussion to mock the movie mogul who has fallen on hard times:
Struggling movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob are selling off their controlling stake in the struggling social network aSmallWorld, according to the LA Times. (The buyer is Patrick Liotard-Vogt, an heir to the family that founded Nestle.) Clearly the site and Weinstein boys have both seen better days, and with the Weinstein Co. now focused on getting out from under a mountain of debt, presumably even a hundred-dollar bill for a site that hasn't been relevant in half a decade is better than nothing. But the saddest footnote to the story? In the three years that Harv owned part of the social networking site, he never found time to set up a profile, it seems:
• Glenn Beck is Time magazine's cover boy this week, sadly. [Time, HuffPo]
• Spike Lee and Robert De Niro are teaming up with Showtime "to develop a drama series about Manhattan's Alphabet City." [THR]
• Twitter is now worth $1 billion, believe it or not. [TechCrunch]
• Nikki Finke hears that Variety is planning to start charging for access to its website and The Hollywood Reporter is dropping its daily print edition. [DHD]
• Jenna Bush made her debut on the Today show this morning. [BS]
• An update how Jay Leno's new show is faring three days in. [NYT]
• An update on the protracted legal battle between CBS and ex-anchor Dan Rather, a feud that only "seems to get pettier by the day." [TDB]
• Fox 5's Ernie Anastos managed to both embarrass himself and coin a delightful new catchphrase on the news last night. [Gawker, NYP, B&C]
Is Harvey Weinstein looking to unload his stake in the failed social network ASmallWorld to raise some much-needed cash? Guest of a Guest received a tip to that effect today, and Gawker reports that a conversation did take place, but no deal was reached: "They were approached by an interested party and were willing to hear what they had to say." Needless to say, feel free to reach out to Harvey if you have any interest in taking over the long-since-faded site. [Gawker, GoaG]
We're not sure what purpose ASmallWorld serves given the Euro-heavy social network was eclipsed by sites like Facebook years ago, but we finally understand the value of this ASW "magazine" that the faded site introduced a few months back: It's a fantastic vehicle for self promotion! The "mag" checked in with a handful of people to ask them what they'd recommend buying in honor of Valentine's Day. Any what do you know? Most of them proposed items that they produce themselves. A few examples appear below. In the meantime, we eagerly await the upcoming food issue and Mario Batali's humble suggestion that we eat at Babbo every night.
Here's some pleasantly surprising news: Publicist (and legendary hard-ass) Nadine Johnson is feeling "tremendous positive energy." It's all because Barack Obama was inaugurated this week, so don't expect it to last very long. Until then, though, you'll be happy to hear that Nadine is steering clear of "negative forces" and bringing "integrity, real value and compassion" into every "action, thought, and behavior." The full transcript of Nadine's surprisingly cheerful comments, which appeared in the newsletter of long-suffering social network ASmallWorld, after the jump!
Hearty congrats to Deborah Trachtenberg, the fame-obsessed partygoer better known as Devorah Rose: According to the social networking site aSmallWorld (which is still in business, by the way), she's the 34th most notable social in New York! (All that money she's been handing over to Columbia seems to be paying off nicely, doesn't it?) The "Top 100" list appears in the debut issue of "aSmallMagazine," which promises to cover the "cultural return to sincerity," an era defined by "the end of flash and a return to substance." How does placing socialites on a list constitute "substance"? Did we mention the issue also has "a peak behind the walls of one of the world's last totalitarian regimes, North Korea." It does! They've covered all the bases! aSmallWorld's announcement to site members is below.
The party for ASmallWorld—the one that featured protests by a group opposed to Lev Leviev's business practices—didn't bring too many socialites out in the rain last night. "The likes of Annie Churchill, Dalia Oberlander, Jennifer Creel, and Gillian Hearst Simonds stayed away—until the private post-event dinner at Serafina, that is," reports Fashion Week Daily's Ashley Baker. Judging by photos Adalah-NY directed us to this morning, it seems the protesters had a bit of trouble generating a turnout, too. [The Daily]
It looks like there will be some additional drama at tonight's splashy "Champagne & Diamonds" party for the faded social networking site ASmallWorld and Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. (ASmallWorld informed us this morning, by the way, that Harvey Weinstein will not be attending personally.) A protest is planned by a group that objects to Leviev's record on human rights. Says a rep for Adalah-NY: "It's truly a small world for Leviev, as his companies are simultaneously involved in destroying communities in Palestine, Africa, and New York City. We will protest this outrageous celebration of worldwide human rights abuses and economic catastrophe by Leviev and New York's elites, because it ridicules the losses of homes, jobs and security being inflicted on working people worldwide." Sounds like Annie Churchill, Jennifer Creel, Amanda Hearst, and Annelise Peterson are in for a treat! The full press release is after the jump.
Harvey Weinstein is the co-founder of the Weinstein Company, the struggling studio that has produced very few hits over the past year, has seen a handful of senior of execs flee for the exits in recent weeks, and has been immersed in a nasty legal spat with NBC over the fate of his one big hit, Project Runway, over the past few months. (Further evidence of his financial woes: He owes Cindy Adams $10,000 and has refused to pay up.) Lev Leviev might be a less familiar name to you. He's the Ubekistan-born, Orthodox Jewish diamond and real estate billionaire who lives in Israel and controls the Africa-Israel Group, which dominates the diamond mining industry in Angola and owns a good deal of real estate, too, including the former headquarters of the New York Times.
The managers of A Small World, an invite-only social network backed by movie producer Harvey Weinstein and billed as "MySpace for millionaires," is worried — and not just because the company's financial footing is less than secure. Relying on luxury advertising, the site's revenue mainstay, is looking dicey. Meanwhile, the site has become a haven for wealthy men looking to spend some time with beautiful women while jetting in and out of ritzy destinations. Most of the young women on the site aren't powerful business figures. But they're not exactly "sex workers": After all, it ruins the illusion for a man if he feels he's paying for moments of shared intimacy. "Party girl" is probably a more apt description (think Audrey Tatou in Priceless or San Francisco's first lady Jennifer Siebel in Mad Men). The proliferation of wealthy playboys and those chasing them puts the startup social network in a bind.A Small World can start charging for introductions, as some dating sites do. But if it helps arrange the wrong kind of hookup, it could potentially run afoul of pimping and pandering laws. Or it could prudishly kick socioeconomically unqualified women off the site and risk losing the male users who love them (for at least as long as their money holds out). Valleywag's solution? Far from shooing women without their own trust funds off the site, A Small World should let them stay. Better yet, have them invite suitable friends, and let them join A Small World for free. Meanwhile, charge the men healthy fees for membership, and let users continue to make discreet arrangements between consenting adults. Everyone wins!
Is A Small World, the Harvey Weinstein-backed social networking site for the rich, having money problems? A tipster tells us that on one recent Friday, employees at the "Myspace for Millionaires" didn't get their checks as scheduled. We hear they were told that the company was waiting for a money transfer from Weinstein himself so they could pay the bills. Hey Harvey, pay up! This would be terribly awkward PR for such an exclusive enterprise. If you are—or have heard anything from—a disgruntled staffer at ASW, email us. (And if you have a membership on the site, we'd like an invitation to join, too!).