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Minnesota composer launches 'online country club' for wealthy


The wealthy now have a safe haven to talk about a trip on a private jet or a new car "without the backlash" – a new social media website, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, launched Tuesday.

The Netropolitan Club, which calls itself an "online country club for people with more money than time," was founded by James Touchi-Peters, a composer and former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra.

“James and others have mentioned feeling judged for talking about certain topics on other social media outlets. Like they were bragging and met with a little ill will,” Michelle Lawless of Minnetonka-based Media Minefield, Netropolitan's public relations firm, told the Los Angeles Times. “Netropolitan is designed to be the place to talk about your last European vacation or new car without the backlash.”

The idea for the exclusive social network came after Touchi-Peters was having trouble relating to people on other websites. He told ABC News, "I had to come to the conclusion that my life is different from most other people. Probably a lot of people, I think."

Now, people in the same boat (or, shall we say yacht) as Touchi-Peters will get the chance to connect with other wealthy members who fork over the $9,000 joining fee – plus annual dues of $3,000.

"We view in the same light as any country club out there," Touchi-Peters told CNN. "They have initiation fees and yearly dues for members. Netropolitan is an online country club, focused on connecting members around the world. We believe there is a need for a community like this, and we are filling the need."

Similar to Facebook, members have a profile, where they can update their status and follow other members. They can also use discussion boards to have conversations about their passions and interests, ABC News says.

Members' identities will be kept secret and the hefty fee is a way to "vet members," Touchi-Peters told ABC News, ensuring the club remains exclusive. There aren't ads, information from the site won't be indexed by search engines and moderators will police bad behavior (like spamming ads for businesses), CNN says.

Take a tour of the website here.

Touchi-Peters hasn't said how many members have signed up for the website, but based on comments on Netropolitan's Facebook page, which has 323 likes, some have expressed interest in the exclusive site.

Touchi-Peters also hasn't elaborated on the potential growth the website could have, Twin Cities Business Magazine reports. He told the magazine, “Most online communities fall apart at some point because of the natural weight of the people who misbehave. ... We’re a private community, so we should be able to avoid those problems.”

The idea of Netropolitan isn't new. New York Magazine looks at several other start-ups that tried, and many subsequently failed, to start social media websites for the elite.

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