A community site called FunHi is based  MAR 29 2004

A community site called FunHi is based completely on amassing karma...and they've monetized it!. This is brilliant. Instead of building a community around topic/activity XYZ which will inevitably come to be dominated by people seeking karma, they've skipped right to end.

There are 20 reader comments

Robert J. Bingaman56 29 200412:56PM

I can't believe that exists. Anyone willing to spend one thousand dollars on absolute nothingness is a degenerate fool. Insanity.

Jay34 29 2004 2:34PM

Words fail. I'm with Robert.

david11 29 2004 3:11PM

I spent $1000+, one quarter at the time, in a Ms. PacMan machine in my earlier years with the only reward seen or product purchased being entertainment. Was that also an insane act of a degenerate fool or simply a willing exchange of currency value for entertainment value? And the FunHi community goes beyond mere entertainment by providing a forum for, well, community.

bing45 29 2004 3:45PM

People also pay $20 covers and $8 for a bottled beer at clubs for essentially the same thing.

Robert J. Bingaman34 29 2004 4:34PM

David, bing, both wrong. Not the same. Why you ask? Well, Ms. PacMan offers no false sense of self for one. You eat dots, you spend enough quarters, you get to brag and boast about the fact that you ate more dots than any of your three initial friends, that's it, it's a game - everybody knows it. You don't walk away from Ms. PacMan saying "those dots deserved me, and I them - the world is better for me having eaten them", do you? And community you say? Please.

And bing, if you are the type of person you mentioned, you should know that kind of money is spent with an entirely different type of entertainment in mind. The fact that it is Actual Socializing aside, anyone interested in paying a twenty dollar cover (that's steep in these parts) is interested in getting something that is simply known as "some", which is something that can not be acquired by ammasing a false sense of self, alone, in front of a computer displaying images and words that represent all that you will never have.

david52 29 2004 4:52PM

I appreciate your position, Robert, and can see where you're coming from. I simply think you fail to recognize the phenomenon that perceived value creates actual value, as is demonstrated by the active trade in beanie babies, baseball cards, and Britney albums in the non-virtual world. So long as there are people willing to make up a virtual community based on exchanging intangible gifts, it makes absolute sense for FunHi not only to facilitate the exchange but to profit from it. If George Georgiades and his buddies have fun with it and perceive the service as valuable, then it is valuable, just as the current high score on Ms. PacMan is important only as long as I consider it so.

Stephen05 29 2004 5:05PM

I think that the absurdity of the FunHi community comes not from the fact that it is a exchange of intangible items that are paid for with real money, but the fact that some people take it to ridiculous levels.

I think everyone has spent money on some transient or intangible idea/thing/event at one point or another. Going to the movies by yourself will cost you at $10 and what do you have to show for it? Or what about a subscription to Everquest, Sims Online, BlogSharesor any other video game community? Most people don't see this as rediculous or insane; however, if you spent $1000 on movies or arrows for your elf (or whatever), people are going to recognize that it's an incredible waste of money (or at least pathetic).

It's the level of spending on something so transient that strikes me as foolish.

Robert J. Bingaman32 29 2004 5:32PM

David, Stephen - both good points (and David, a better articulation of your previous point). But for me, its not that I fail to recognize what's going on. I see that beanie babies and FunHi facilitate the same 'needs' in people. The degenerate ridiculousness to me is that people fail to realize what they are giving value deserves no such thing. In fact, in that sense - your hi score on Ms. PacMan is just as ridiculous. We all give in to mindless pleasure at some point, but as Stephen says - its the extent to which we give in that needs to be kept in check. But David, I don't understand how further examples of ridiculousness justify themselves. Just because the Beanie Baby phenomenon exists, or the fact that you had a hankerin for eatin' dots in the eighties - doesn't mean FunHi isn't crazy ridiculous dumb. If someone has fun with a service and perceives it as valuable, then they have fun with a service and perceive it as valuable, but it does not hold actual value in and of itself just because you think it does. That's a point that can be made in many a realm, and I don't expect many to understand or agree - but just because you say its valuable, doesn't mean it is. Same goes for truth. And that's an idea that's lost on many. But back to entertainment - is it not plain to see that there is entertainment that serves us and entertainment that doesn't? Stephen, if you spend your 10 dollars well, you could have a lot to show for it at the theater. There are movies that changed my life. But there was no grand revelation when I beat Halo. 10 dollars at a bookstore - heaps of knowledge, IF you know where to look. Or you could read People Magazine. Surely we can understand the difference. Just because we THINK something is serving us, doesn't mean its a service to us, or anyone at all.

bing14 29 2004 7:14PM

Robert:
Being a "service" is just as meaningless a distinction as other things. Knowledge is only desireable if you use it/desire it. People spend their money on what they enjoy spending their money on. Why is collecting that rare Beanie Baby or Ultima Online artifact stupid where collecting first edition Steinbecks or Bonds' 73rd isn't?

It really seems like you're placing your own condescension for other people's values. I could find plenty of people who would say your movie tickets or books, heaping with "knowledge", are just as stupid. People enjoy interacting with each other. Online communities are just that; why else would we be jabbering on on a comments box? People will also spend their money to be able to do so. Why do I go out and spend five bucks a beer with my friends when I can get an entire six-pack for the same? It's not for the tap.

I think Stephen is more on the right track. It's when people invest themselves so heavily into anything, in terms of time or money, that it starts getting unhealthy. But that's with anything, no?

bing27 29 2004 7:27PM

Oh, and it seems the average FunHi member has spent about a buck fifty in the month it's been up.

Robert J. Bingaman34 29 2004 8:34PM

Bing - you fail to see the finer aspects of my point, and succeed in re-articulating points I've already made. See, I think first edition Steinbacks and home run balls are pretty dang stupid objects to spend money on too - I don't see how you thought I didn't. And if someone told me I the knowledge I was finding within books and film was stupid, well bing they would plainly wrong. And like you said - the beer isn't for the tap, which is precisely what I said - youre getting (or trying anyway) something more. And community (as false a community as this one and others like it) are great, you're right - interacting is great - I never had any problem with that. But here on the kottke.org discussion thread, I'm not paying you 50 cents because I fancy you, or because I think you made a good point - that's just silly ridiculous degenerate dumb, and that's what I've been saying all along. Just because it entertains someone, doesn't mean it isn't stupid and worthless. Stephen does have it right, as previously stated - taking it too far is when it gets really ridiculous, but its worth recognizing that there plenty of ridiculous things we all do - but life calls for some of that, it takes the edge off no? But that doesn't mean it deserves to be justified by that which actually has value, not all entertainment is valuable entertainment. Seriously, think about it.

bing27 29 2004 9:27PM

"But that doesn't mean it deserves to be justified by that which actually has value, not all entertainment is valuable entertainment. Seriously, think about it."

So what has value? What you say does? Just because you find meaning in movies and your other outlets for entertainment doesn't preclude anyone else from thinking that that's worthless. And what you find to be degenerately stupid could, and often does, represent something of just as much meaning to others.

Yes, we agree on the basic concept that lots of people get caught up too far in silly pursuits. It's one thing to say that people are mindless for spending too much of their time or money on anything, but it's another thing to condescend to people with different interests. But then again, these people are probably just
"interested in getting something that is simply known as "some", which is something that can not be acquired by ammasing a false sense of self, alone, in front of a computer displaying images and words that represent all that you will never have."

Robert J. Bingaman57 29 2004 9:57PM

bing - as a rule of thumb I try not to repeat what others have said to the point that they say more than me. But to answer your question (again) without offending you too much...Yes, I believe certain things have more value than others despite what some people may say. I don't expect that to be understood though, and I'm not trying to kill your self-esteem or anyone else's, just trying to be honest. In the same manner, I believe that there is one Truth that we all live by, a thousand half-truths, and infinite fallacy. This is not a popular idealogy, and I understand that - so take it with a grain of salt. I simply stating how I feel, and only asking that think about it - as I already said - but I have no reason to ask you to agree. I just think that value, truth, whatever you want to call it - have become de-centralized to the point that nobody believes there is a standard by which we all still live (or try to). That's another discussion though. I think the link above is crazy and ridiculous, in the ways I have already mentioned. I sincerely apologize if my off-hand language has offended you, or anyone else. I got a laugh out of it, and acted accordingly. I think it takes more to be a degenerate fool.

Tim58 29 200411:58PM

I've got $1.50 and some buzz here for the winner of this argument. My money's on Bing.

JC39 30 2004 1:39AM

Hey, how about that site Funhi, huh?

dowingba57 30 2004 2:57AM

Let's face it, we all wish we were the ones profiting off this, and that's why we resent it so much.

Bobby09 30 200412:09PM

User bases like the FunHi "community" lower my expectations for human-kind.

Mara10 30 200412:10PM

didn't this already happen to some extent on "habbo" a few years ago?

z00QT25 31 2004 4:25PM

I've been a funhi user for a while now, spent about 80 bucks. I got two leads to jobs already and was featured in their press release. I won;t say who I am, u figure it out. I don't know anythign about all that stuff up top but I do know, that I've blown a few thousand sending headshots to agencies and singing up for model sites and got nothing. Funhi got me some real deal press and is actually pretty fun too.

funhralldaway59 01 200412:59AM

I have some insight as i know some of the behind the scenes people. The actual fact is that the funhi people would have been very glad if the site had made just 1 dollar. That was the expectation. On closer inspection, you might notice this site is merely a nexus to other ventures related to online community activities. no more hints....There was no preconceiving notion that people would really get into this gift exchange feature, the average user input was what put the whole idea in motion. it was a means to collect enough money to keep the site running. Simply the basic fact. However, now that it is a viable revenue and seems to be as natural as buying your 'first date' a fine dinner, lets not try to bash it into the ground. This phenomena is happening, more important questions might be..what is the next step in this revolutionary evolution?

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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