Zurker - Making Pyramids Appear Flat

Today I heard about Zurker, it's a social networking site that aims to be better because.. Because that's what Nick Oba told Wired:

How is it better than Facebook?

Zurker is better because of its DNA: Zurker would never implement something purely for the purposes of monetising the user base, such as Open Graph. Zurker is better because it is the future. A good way to think of it is this: Facebook is the 10-tonne dinosaur, while we are the little shrew-like mammal. We may look small and insignificant, but the future belongs to us, because we are better adapted for the new environment of openness, transparency, and people power.

Most people will have read "Zurker is better because I said so", I hope you did too.

This lead me to another article on Zurker titled Be wary of cooperative social network Zurker by Lea Simpson, I went through the post and then did what I often do, read the comments. It is incredible to see so many evangelical replies, it's as if Jesus Christ came back to earth and gave them Zurker. This looks like an orchestrated response, normal comments wouldn't be so outrageously praising.

BTW, reading this could help understand who Nick Oba (or should I say Naoki Oba) is.

Zurkerscam.com

So I now go to Google, and just type "zurker", nothing else. On the first page is zurkerscam.com, I am so glad to find a website that might have some critique I can read to at least get the other side of the story.

I am honestly surprised when I see zero critic, tl;dr: Is Zurker Scam?
No, it's not.
There is zero doubt to me that this site was created by a person heavily invested in Zurker. Zurkerscam.com is a website designed to catch Zurker skeptics and to explain how great it is.

Domain Owners

I of course did a 'whois' so see who own's what domain. Both domains use anonymous cloaks (hide the domain owner's identity). On zurkerscam I get it, but on zurker.com ?

Interesting and funny thing, zurker.com and zurkerscam.com were both created in september 2011, strange.. . : Domain Name: ZURKER.COM Registrar: ENOM, INC. [...] Creation Date: 03-sep-2011 Domain Name: ZURKERSCAM.COM Registrar: NAME.COM LLC [...] Creation Date: 25-sep-2011

Looks like someone at least made the effort of not using the same registrar.. .

Oh but wait, they also have zurker.eu and EU domains aren't cloaked but the whois info must be obtained from eurid.eu : Name: Naoki Oba [...] Organisation Name.com LLC

Same registrar as zurkerscam.com, of course that could just be a coincidence.. . I must be true to myself and give them the benefit of the doubt.

WT-HTML !

I know this may seem unheard of to speak of a website's HTML, but seriously, I can't trust a website that wants to be the next Facebook when their HTML code is so bad. Not just bad, really really bad. Zurker is selling a web based application, not organic cheese directly from the farm. I expect at least a DocType and I don't expect to see the layout done using tables. 2012 and tables ?

I am not even exaggerating in saying that even a beginner would not make so many mistakes. On a purely technical level I wouldn't trust the product itself solely based on this. All I can say is WT-HTML !

Throw in Keywords to Make People Wet

Open Source, Cooperative, anti-corporate, anti venture capitalist, driven by democracy, are a few of the words thrown in to get people excited, make them feel like rebels taking back the power (and the code is not open source).

That's all crap, because in the end you do not have any power on a social networking website if you are not root on the server that runs it.

You do not have any decisive power when you own 0.000001: You can buy additional vShares for $1 (£0.62) and one vShare is the equivalent to ownership of 1/1,000,000th of the Zurker in your territory You can buy more shares ! What happens if you buy many many of them ? I am going to guess that there is no maximum limit to how much you can own, nothing about this on their FAQ. (update) I have been told that the maximum is 500 vshares per user, I can't confirm this but let's say that's true.

I wonder if owning more shares gives you more voice, it would seem logical that it would be like that. If so it's not really a democracy, and by the way, from the FAQ: Can I sell my vShares?
A vShare is an agreement between the co-founding developers and yourself that you will own a stake in the venture to be established. An agreement between two parties can't be sold so our understanding is that it would be odd, and potentially illegal, to allow the trading of vShares.
If only the answer was a clear as the answer to "Is Zurker Scam?"

As per my various jobs and occupations I have read much spam, from reading it I have learned a lot. Quality Spam (never thought I would write those 2 words together) consists of phrases and various words chosen to make people want them to be true. Reading Zurker's websites, interviews and fan's comments feels like reading spam.

The Revolution is.. Not Here.

There are no new features mentioned, the only thing they say is that there are new features that the others don't have. In fact this tool does not seem to want to federate with other social networks, like Friendica, Diaspora, StatusNet, and so on, Zurker does not mention any of them.

Zurker is not part of any social networking revolution, it is simply trying to profit from a trend already in motion.

The biggest problem with Facebook and Google+ is that they are centralised social networks. The solution to a centralised social network is not a centralised social network. Duh.

Conclusion: Can I Trust Zurker ?

No.

Update: Friends (comments here, on Friendica and IRC) have pointed out that, except from Lea Simpson's post for Wired and now this post, there is almost nothing online that even remotely questions Zurker. I've searched deep into Google, 40 pages deep, and found that almost every result is a blog post that contains a unique invite link to Zurker.

Because Zurker promises to reward users that recruit other users, this naturally creates a wave of excessively positive posts with these invite links, each trying to recruit as many users as possible. It's like with those chain letters.

Update 2: I am being told that the maximum is 500 vshares, I updated the article.

Update 3: I did find a few of other pages with negative reviews on Zurker, there are some buried under the link spam:

And a sad video that should convince even the hardest Zurker that this looks very wrong

Update 4: added another link to a Zurker review.

comments:
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tony - https://free-haven.org

The "English" on zurkerscam.com is very, very poorly written, most likely by a non-native speaker.
Such sloppiness, also, imho, does not exactly breed confidence.
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rike

"Quality spam" :)

Interesting, there really is not ONE critical voice about Zurker on a Google search except of the Simpson article you mention. That is really suspect.
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manu - http://manurevah.com

Tony, indeed, I did not know about Yuwie, this does look similar.

This whole thing is what leads to Rike's remark, so many websites out there, when looking for Zurker, are positive blog reviews with a unique invite link so they can get Zurked (or whatever they call it).
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rike

Ber-zurkered.
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owiwi

" It's like with those chain letters."

LOL. I can see a lot more to this statement than was actually written :)

Let me open Zucker before I am back again :p
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Jenna

The person who wrote a blog lies!!! It is not not read what Zurker offers
These are the rules of democracy Zurker!!
o qualify for vShares, your referral must be valid. A referral is considered valid if our system detects it to be from a new, unique user who has never used Zurker before, signing up to Zurker Worldwide. The maximum number of vShares you can earn via referrals is 500 per person. Capital investments are limited to a maximum of 500 vShares per member to ensure that Zurker remains an equitable and democratic network dominated by no-one.
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manu - http://manurevah.com

Jenna, I am not sure on what point I lied. As for the maximum vshares one can have, I haven't found any confirmation for what you have said, but I updated the article anyway.

You talk about democracy, I would like to read about how that works. Indeed, it's not enough to just say it's a democracy to be one. The only thing I could find is:

key decisions about features and products are decided by votes from all members (post-beta).

This still does not tell me how the voting works in any way shape or form.

All links, like FAQ, Privacy Policy, etc etc are not accessible to visitors unless they already have an account. I cannot trust a service which will not allow me to read their policies and terms of service before signing up.

There are so many other details that I find really dodgy.

I wrote this blog post because it saddens me to see people getting sucked in to such scams. Just look at those videos on youtube of people getting so excited about how much money they are going to make by using Zurker. Look at the Zurker profiles, most messages seem to be "Thanks for the connect". It's sad, really sad. I think you know deep down this is all very sketchy.. . What happens to the money you invested if (when) Zurker never makes to "the million" ?
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Jenna

This is not the word of Zurker but of what you have written what is by no means checked so You bring the people into error. My comment is just copied from Zurker rules. So there you will find the answer to all your questions that I'm actually supposed to ask you since you are here to learn as about a Zurker . So when you find the answers, then copy this that everyone else to know. Why should any believe you the word and we can not Nick? And in general it does not matter what you do not like at Zurker but only the truth.
And if you really want to help the people, better to examining what happens to Wazzub. This is the real fraud. But it must be investigated and not write things unchecked. If by any chance you have some unresolved relationship with Nick, then Solve it with him and not over the heads of people.
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manu - http://manurevah.com

Jenna, you obviously seem either brainwashed, of bad faith or simply do not care to read the words I write. If you did you would have noticed I updated the article with your vshare crap.

You would also have noticed that the article contains personal observations and facts that can be verified. If the facts are wrong let me know which ones and add a link to the source if needed.

As for Nick, I have never heard of him before digging into this Zurker scam.
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heartflower

Thank you, your article has helped me a lot! :)
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Thomas

Zurker: The Future Competitor To Facebook

Join: [link to zurker invite removed]
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Uli Himstedt - http://www.ulsen.com

A brief bit of firebugging the source code reveals that Zurker's source code looks pretty 1999. I don't get what all the fuss is about. It's just another shitty website. Why are the big media talking about this? Don't get it at all. TABLES! WTF?
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Thomas

For those who are interested can join here using the link
[link to zurker invite removed]
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gaurav singh

This is region based site......so India based users can join this site by link below -
Zurker-India invitation - [link to zurker invite removed]
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lnxwalt

Manu, the topic of Zurker came up on another social network, so I had to find this article to share the link.

I have noticed that these vshares seem to attract "get rich quick" types that spew spam invitation links everywhere in an effort to earn more vshares. That in itself is another reason to go slow and ask a lot of questions about Zurker.

The bizarre LocustID login system https://www.locustid.com/faq by itself would scare me off. These kinds of systems need to be created as part of an open standards effort, where security experts can probe for weaknesses *before* unsuspecting users find their account login info sold on cracker message boards. Neither OpenID nor OAuth were created in a closet.

I also wonder how he expects his sites to handle a lot of users posting at the same time when he doesn't use databases because of "security" issues. http://www.locustswarm.com/about Assuming that Zurker's users actually post things on the site, there is either a database or there are files being written based on what someone enters into a web form. I'll leave it to the readers to decide which one they think is more secure.
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manu - http://manurevah.com

Indeed Inxwalt, on the page locustswarm.com/about I love this phrase:
We do not use SQL databases which pose a security risk.
When I read that I understood We don't know how to secure any kind of SQL database.. so.. No SQL.

Zurker probably uses some form of SQL database, however not one single Zurker user will be able to tell you, even though they will repeat that "they own the project and the data".

I also like this, from Nick Oba's homepage -> nickoba.com:
There are a lot of animals I don't love - most of them belonging to the species Homo sapiens sapiens.
It's probably a good sign coming from someone who operates social websites.

As for LocustID, it just looks completely messy, centralised and non-standard so it can never work. But they don't use any SQL database, so maybe it's lolsecure.
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Vivek Ipe Kurian

If u like to join it [link to zurker invite removed]
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Sandra - http://www.chatching.com

Interesting article, in fact one of the first blogs I find that is not praising Zurker instead its analyzing its concept. I am a bit skeptical about Zurker taking over Facebook and giving ownership to its members. How is Zurker regulated anyway? I found a site www.chatching.com that has registered with US SEC to legally distribute stock to its members of its social networking free of cost. Although site is still under development, looks more promising to me than Zurker.
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manu - http://manurevah.com

Sandra, so far all I know about ChatChing is that I could never agree with their Terms of Service. For example:

ChatChing reserves the right to relay all and any information/data collected from, and/or posted on or through ChatChing
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Cohan - http://ribbalicious.com/

I was referred here by a comment on my own sleuthing into Zurker

As I posted here http://ribbalicious.com/2014/03/27/return-zurker-scam-status-confirmed/

zurkerscam is run by the (At the time of my digging) the only other admin of Zurker, which is why I targetted my article(s) so heavily at the Zurker Scam keyword (Often #1 in a google search for "Zurker scam" now gladly toppling the fake zurkerscam.com!) pretty high up for just "zurker" too

Thanks for your insight in this article. As it happens Zurker is currently shut down. Glad to find I wasn't the only sceptic!
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