Unthink says it will trigger a social revolution.
On its home page, Unthink uses black-and-white photos of the Civil Rights Movement as a backdrop, and it promises to "emancipate social media" and "unleash people's extraordinary potential". Apparently, that's done by giving users an online hub that is free of "privacy issues", "endless redesigns" and user profiles vamping as "commercial junkyards", as well as allowing users to own their data and all their interactions on the site.
It's not hard to identify which social network Unthink, based in Tampa, Florida, is targeting in launching its public beta this week.
For its part, Facebook, which currently dominates the social web, says that its users do actually own the data they post on its network. But that has yet to be tested. In Europe this week, Facebook Ireland is under fire for allegedly violating data privacy laws and holding onto vast amounts of private messages, "pokes" and "unfriending" activity that a user said he had deleted over the past three years.
Founded on Earth Day in 2008, Unthink is backed by US$2.5 million in venture funding from DouglasBay Capital. On its site, where those who want to sign up can get an invitation code in exchange for their email address, Unthink says it will work with brands that are "forward-thinking, socially responsible and environmentally conscious". Users can choose which brands to feature or advertise on their profile pages.
Beyond this casual reference to brands and advertising, Unthink's actual business model is unclear. According to TechCrunch, which first reported Unthink's public beta, users who choose not to align themselves with a brand can instead pay a US$2 annual fee.