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.