Zivity: Geeks Gone Wild

Posted on December 30, 2007
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |

TechCrunch has revealed that Zivity co-founder Cyan Banister, who apparently won some “Sexiest Geek Alive” award that nobody has heard of, plans to post topless photos of herself on Zivity next week and “may go completely nude in the future” to promote her startup. Wow. I’m sure the male species is holding its collective breath. Or not.

For those who are unfamiliar with Zivity, here’s how the company describes itself:

Zivity offers a reality media platform for sexy models and beautiful photography where members get to distribute royalties to the models and photos they find appealing via Zivity’s patent-pending dollar-backed voting system. With a $10 subscription, members receive five votes every month to cast for their favorite Zivity stars.

I named Zivity one the Dumbest Startups of 2007 but that hasn’t stopped the company from raising $1 million in a seed round of funding. Zivity was supposedly in the process of raising an even bigger round when TechCrunch first reported on the company in August.

Obviously, Zivity is getting lots of attention because it’s about the closest thing to an adult entertainment venture that has apparently publicly received funding from investors in Silicon Valley, a place that is alarmingly almost completely devoid of silicone and might just be one of the biggest known sausage fests in the world.

But is there anything to Zivity? Given my naming of Zivity as one of the Dumbest Startups of 2007, I obviously don’t believe so. Let me masturbate elaborate:

It’s clear to me that the people behind Zivity are a little bit “wet” (behind the ears, not somewhere else you dirty bastard) when it comes to the adult entertainment business. If there’s any doubt, you need look no further than the company’s About page:

Zivity is an online social networking community for connoisseurs of pinup photography that offers a secure environment for adults only.

As a connoisseur myself, I take offense to the idea that you can be a connoisseur of pinup photography. Fine liquor, rare automobiles, cigars? Yes. Pinup photography? It’s not exactly the domain of a conoisseur. True conoisseurs tend to collect the women in the photographs, not the photographs themselves.

We celebrate sexuality and free markets by rewarding our models and photographers.

So Zivity is Playboy meets Milton Fiedman? Brilliant! Last time I checked, modeling and photography were careers some people earn money from so I don’t know see how this is anything revolutionary.

Cyan’s idea is a damn good one; that’s why Zivity is the first company in the “adult space” to be backed by Silicon Valley investment.

I want what whoever wrote this is smoking! The primary reason Zivity is the “first company in the ‘adult space’ to be backed by Silicon Valley investment” is because it’s probably one of the few companies in the adult space to actually seek it. I can’t say that I’ve ever personally met anybody in the adult entertainment industry who would be dumb enough to seek “Silicon Valley investment.” Not only is it undesirable, it’s unncessary (there are people outside of Silicon Valley who have a lot of money and they’re often far more pleasant to work with). Again, the naivety behind Zivity is apparent.

The puppet-master of Zivity, Vanessa handles ALL model and photographer recruiting…Vanessa holds a BFA from UC Berkeley and also comes to us from the IronPort family.

So the “Community Liaison & Ego-Wrangler” responsible for model and photographer recruiting went to UC Berkeley (where I hear some women still don’t shave their arm pits) and was last employed by an Internet security firm. Perhaps somebody a little more connected and experienced with models and photography would be a better fit for this role? Just an idea.

Michelle Laird is a PR pro with over 17 years experience helping companies tell their stories in a way that gets people talking…She offers a unique blend of consumer and technology background — she started out working for General Electric and Nissan Motor Corporation and then switched gears to represent a portfolio of software, Internet and wireless communications companies now under the corporate umbrellas of Akamai, AT&T Mobility, Openwave and SanDisk.

Zivity is selling tits and ass, not caching, mobile phones, software and data storage. Hiring a PR person who has sold those things to sell sex is about as smart as hiring a preacher to run a stripclub.

At the end of the day, I think Zivity is little more than an embarassment for a bunch of technology people who are under the impression that they’re getting into the adult space in a highbrow, dignified way (they’re not). Such a venture might seem fun and appealing, but I think watching this venture “grow” is going to be about as arousing as watching two virgins trying to have sex. The company’s nomination for the is probably its less-than-spectacular “climax.” In other words, I’m predicting that there isn’t going to be a “happy ending” worth telling friends about when Zivity has shot its “load” of Silicon Valley money.

Note: Please do not ask Drama 2.0 questions about his knowledge of the adult entertainment business.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Netvouz
  • ThisNext
  • Reddit
  • SphereIt
  • Slashdot
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
Print This Post Print This Post


3 Responses to “Zivity: Geeks Gone Wild”

  1. Sorry Robert, Size Does Matter : The Drama 2.0 Show on December 31st, 2007 1:04 pm

    […] comparing the business of technology conferences to the business of advertising is like comparing Cyan Banister to my future ex-wife Viktoria Azovskaja. Second, while there are some niche publishers who can […]

  2. Drama 2.0 Names Zivity the 2007 Startup with the Best Sense of Humor : The Drama 2.0 Show on January 1st, 2008 3:02 pm

    […] named Zivity one of the Dumbest Startups of 2007 and then provided some critical analysis of the company after it was announced that Zivity co-founder Cyan Banister […]

  3. Sandip on February 15th, 2008 8:11 am

    Your analysis is pretty thorough - until now I was convinced that zivity was the “startup most likely to succeed”. The reason : Silicon Valley nurtures innovation - above everything else. Innovation at all levels - right from the concept to the business model to design. In Zivity’s case, I thought it was more of a fascination of association with the highly lucrative adult entertainment industry. And I am sure zivity will get its 20000 members pretty easy - all the silicon valley jocks will sign up for sure! But I cant wait to see them get clobbered by the established players…..tht would be sweet…or salty. Whatever!

    Btw, i am linking back to this site from by blog. And this site is now on my blogroll….

Leave a Reply