The Fame Experiment

The 25th participant is The Fame Experiment

Founded By Mark Schumann in 2008, The Fame Experiment, was developed to investigate the answer to one simple question, Can the internet be used to generate enough exposure for one person to experience public recognition?
It works on the idea that one person if seen over and over again in a multitude of places, could experience public recognition, or become famous. The aim is for this person's image to be everywhere, and for that image to become embedded in Internet users' thoughts so that to see this person in public will trigger an I know you moment.

Mark describes, that there are two phases:

Phase 1: is about getting the word out about the Fame Experiment. If users have a website, a blog, post on forums, or even email others, it is easy for them to participate.

By selecting the Earn Fame Points link after logging in, they will be given a choice of special code that can be placed on their website, blog, forum or email signature. These links will generate an image linking to the Fame Experiment website, that when clicked on by others, will add to their Fame Points. These points contribute to the final selection of the subject.

Phase 2: involves publicising the selected subject to the large network of sites participating in the experiment.

From the moment the second phase begins, all images displayed on these sites will be changed to include an image of the selected subject, with a link back to the Fame Experiment where the subject's profile will be featured. During this phase, the subject will be encouraged to investigate any difference in public perception and reflect upon this on their Fame Experiment blog.

Any clicks earned during Phase 2 will be considerably higher than usual and contribute to a likely second experiment.

Mark explains further about this unique venture of his and how he is progressing with it:

How it started?
I had given thought to the multitude of Internet celebrities that had become famous, mostly for the wrong reasons. I wondered how their lives may have changed as a result, and whether they actually experienced public recognition. This led me to the idea that some Internet users could actually want such recognition and that I could provide a means for this in a positive light. The Fame Experiment was born.

How long it took before it was up and running?
It took around 2 to 3 months for full operation.

What stage of your start-up is, stealth mode, beta mode or fully functional?
It has just entered a fully functional state, moving straight from "stealth mode".

What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
As stated above, the main objective is to investigate the answer to this question:
  • Can the Internet be used to generate enough exposure for one person to experience public recognition?
What services it provide for consumers or customers?
The Fame Experiment does not service its users in the traditional way. The idea is that it is a collaborative experiment that all users benefit from. During the second phase, one user will be selected and will (hopefully) benefit at some level from public fame or recognition. Other users will benefit by reading the subject's blog and earning Fame Points for a second experiment.

What is unique about your venture?
The Fame Experiment is entirely unique in its approach to investigating the power of the internet in generating real fame. To be suddenly confronted with the same image of one particular person all over the web, and then to investigate the consequences, has not been done before. It is important that this perspective be maintained and that an investigative approach be constantly undertaken.

What type of customers you are targeting?
Users with public internet pages such as bloggers, website owners and social networking users (e.g. Facebook users).

What age group of people will benefit most?
Users over the age of 18 are the only ones eligible.

How many users are using your services?
Currently, under 10, but the site was only launched as of 3 March 2008 (the date of this email)

What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word? Initially, posts in forums, word of mouth, etc. However, the marketing model of this website is based entirely on its function. Since the purpose of the site is to build links to The Fame Experiment through banner images, this will also be its marketing tool.

How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Stats packages such as Google Analytics will allow a detailed level of information about where people are coming from, and the depth of its exposure through the internet. After a satisfactory level of exposure is achieved, Phase 2 will begin.

What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is there any new model, which is being tried?
Google Adsense

Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment? What are the main technologies used behind this start-up?
There are no real competitors unless a very similar experiment is being conducted that I'm not aware of. See below for technologies.

What has been the easiest to use, out of the box and most helpful technology?
Drupal is a content management system for the basis of the website and associated modules.

Are you using a lot of open-source tool sets for this?
As stated above, Drupal is being used to serve the content and manage the Fame Point system.

What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
The system is served on a Linux server, with PHP and a MySQL database.

How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up. Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
There is no face-to-face communication with others at present, but this may change.

How much money is needed upfront to start a venture?
Approximately $100 for hosting and domain name registration for the year, and around $250 for custom development using a freelance web developer.

What are the main barriers in general for people to start their venture in Australia?
From a web perspective, not a lot besides the cost of development. Server costs are also quite high in Australia if local hosting is needed.

What are your thoughts on the future trends of your service and the market segment you are in?
I believe that the web is becoming the place for all communication and collaboration. We are beginning to develop deeper relationships with people online without ever seeing them in person, and it is important that face-to-face interaction is maintained. However, the internet is developing further ways to interact with others in a more traditional sense through voice, video and even virtual 3D.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Ensure that you have a clear goal in mind and that you are passionate about what you do.

Thanks, Mark for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you in future on the progress of The Fame Experiment. All the best for The FameExperiment and the competition in this carnival.