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Here's your next billion-dollar Internet startup idea. If it sounds like the dumbest idea in the world, remember that you didn't think of Twitter. That will keep you humble enough to get through this post.

Imagine a web site that allows any adult to post a ten-second video that is nothing but a statement of opinion, showing only the speaker's face.  The opinion could be anything from "Diet Coke tastes better than Diet Pepsi" to a political preference. The web site would sort the opinions into as many categories as needed. Visitors to the site would be able to vote on the videos, based on agreement with the opinions, or the general attractiveness of the speaker. 

Videos would also be sortable by most-viewed, and newest.  And you could sort by speaker, to get all of the opinions of an individual. And let's assume the monetization of this site comes from ads.

That's the entire business idea. Now watch while I explain what makes this idea so brilliant. And before you leap to disagree, did I mention that you didn't think of Twitter?

Okay, first, there is a universal human attraction to faces.  It's why magazines usually feature faces on the cover. Publishers know that people are drawn to human faces, especially famous or attractive ones. It's why People Magazine thrives. It's also why movies and television shows fill much of their screen time with nothing but giant talking heads.  Faces are interesting and objects are not.

Imagine a TV show about your favorite hobby, no matter if that is cooking, cars, technology or whatever. You wouldn't watch that show unless it had a lot of humans in it, preferably attractive ones, showing their faces.  It says a lot that even your own favorite hobby wouldn't hold your interest on screen without faces.

When you look at someone's personal photographs, the boring pictures involve nothing but beautiful scenery. The interesting pictures involve humans looking at the camera and acting goofy.

Babies respond to faces instinctively. It's one of the first things they learn. Even your pet gives you eye contact and studies your face. One of the most basic instincts for any mammal is that faces are important and interesting. Okay, I think I made my point. Now let's get to the fascinating part.

Research supports the obvious fact that the opinions of attractive people carry more weight than the opinions of ugly people. We wish that weren't the case, and we assume that we are personally exempt from that sort of influence. But let's agree that all of the other people in the world are influenced by attractive faces.

We also know that the repetition of any message makes it seem more credible, against all common sense.  The web site I'm describing would have a lot of message repetition.

We know that humans love attention. And they love giving their opinions. So it shouldn't be hard to attract free content for the site at the start. The fun part happens once the site reaches a certain level of traffic by natural growth.

Imagine you're a company, or a political party, or an activist, and you know that millions of people are going to this site just for fun - because they like looking at attractive faces, especially when the attractive people agree with them. And because you know a thing or two about influence, it is obvious that opinions are being changed or perhaps hardened by all of this exposure to attractive people with opinions. At this point, the big-money interest groups will start hiring gorgeous models to seed the system with opinions that support their causes. In time, the average level of attractiveness would rise from normal to extraordinary. And the faces with the most votes would become international celebrities.

I know my readers. Your first impulse is I wouldn't go to that stupid site just to look at faces voicing dumb opinions. But remember that while you're brilliant and fascinating, and you have important things to do, the audience for this website is everyone else. I'm not too proud to admit I would go to a site like that, hit the slideshow button, and watch the faces go by.
 
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0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 2, 2010
I, too, think this is a nice idea.

It seems this idea can be implemented as a YouTube channel, that only accepts submissions which match the desired criteria. I believe the option to play randomly videos from a channel already exists in YouTube, so that's basically it. (Obviously someone is going to have to approve all these videos into the channel, but even on a separate website moderation will be required.)

I've been thinking about this a little and I think that while 10 sounds like a good number of seconds, it was probably chosen just because it's nice and round. Maybe more thought should go into the number of seconds if this website ever goes live.
 
 
Sep 29, 2010
Just a brief note regarding muddled thinking on psychological matters, far from the first time we've seen this sort of raw, naive folk psychology on this blog. To wit: "Babies respond to faces instinctively. It's one of the first things they learn." If babies respond to faces *instinctively,* then it cannot be something they learn. If it's something they *learn,* then it cannot be an "instinct," which is something that is *native,* *inborn,* or *innate.* A behavior is either instinctive or learned; it cannot be both.
 
 
Sep 23, 2010
I'm in, let's start or I'll get people to start on the side!
 
 
Sep 22, 2010
I understand that it's not directly related to the content at hand, but as I was reading this and ready to go to bed, I mis-read the word faces as feces. Interesting to read through the post mentally replacing that word and gave me a chuckle.

It was kind of surprising that since you mention the fact of posting faces all over the world's media outlets, I'm suddenly aware of all the movies I've seen lately and how much of it is just 'face-time'.

In respect to the Opinions of Attractive People, I'm reflecting and can relate to the surface thought of 'oh look at this pimply faced grocery attendant , hope they enjoy working these butt-end jobs forever' and not giving another thought about how they really are until reconsidering. It's a false assumption ( maybe? ) but very media workable.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 22, 2010
Not everything popular relies on human faces - cartoons like WALL-E and the Toy Story movies proved immensely popular. The faces were anthropomorphized a bit, but the main characters weren't humans.

Wasn't there also some study that said that humans actually DON'T like androids or animation that are "totally" human - that they "freak us out" a bit?

I'm also unconvinced that people follow an idea because the presenter is attractive; I can think of attractive people with bad ideas, and they didn't persuade me of anything. Then again, I'm an INTJ, so I'm usually accused of living too much in my own head anyway :)
 
 
Sep 22, 2010
It's called YouTube!

lol Scott, a sign of your elderly ways while even trying by using hip buzz phrases like "twitter", I mean blogging is so yesterdays trend and yet here you are... (lol, j/k about the blogging) Don't feel bad though being annoyed by the social network trend makes me feel old. Twitter made it not because it was a good idea, but great marketing (as with 90% of the sites out there)
 
 
Sep 21, 2010

Amazing idea. I may just post blank opinions so people can see my go'jus face.
 
 
Sep 21, 2010
Scott:

Have you read about this research? http://bbc.in/d5jPCx or heard of the results from it? I'd be interested if you (or any of the reader here) have. That said, capital idea, as always. Thanks.
 
 
Sep 21, 2010
Sounds interesting. Also sounds like regular TV without any plot.
 
 
Sep 21, 2010
Wait, that cant be right, The wife thinks im attractive, but she never listens to anything i say...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 21, 2010
As an obscenely attractive person, I am hugely offended by the concept of my God-given gorgeousness being used as a tool to influence the lesser-attractive masses in partisan politics. If a party wants their candidate elected, they should do it the old fashion-way, by running the more attractive opponent.
 
 
Sep 21, 2010
What I'd really like to know, Scott, is why can't people just start using Youtube to do this? In fact, hold on a second, they ALREADY do! *BOING*
 
 
Sep 21, 2010
If you want a similar experience, Scott, go to Dailybooth and watch the Livefeed: http://dailybooth.com/live . I challenge you not to become fascinated by the pictures and blurbs.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 20, 2010
What you have to do is make it a photo booth. They sit down in it to give their opinion. The lighting and background is consistent which makes for a better slideshow. Install the booths in bars around the country and at certain times of night I'm sure you'd have no shortage of opinions.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 20, 2010
It is too obvious, that is why it won't work.

And apart from that, I won't go to a stupid website to watch faces all day long, please.

And by the way, twitter doesn't make any money.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 20, 2010
We all know that sex sells.

Sooo...

I would kick this idea up a notch (to quote that annoying chef). Instead of faces, let's use bodies. I'm talking hot attractive bodies that are height/weight proportional engaged in acts of a profoundly sexual nature.

Now, before the Upright Morals Brigade shoots me down, remember: Sex Sells. !$%* is a billion-dollar/year industry. (I doubt I'm the only one that's paying that billion.)

If I saw a quick clip of two fine humans doing what nature intended, and an advertiser wrapped an ad around it -- say for chili sauce, or a trip to Pago-Pago -- I would watch it. My objectivity would definitely be slanted at that moment, which would make me weaker to the powers of suggestion, but I would definitely watch it.

I wonder if that's why most ads in Italy feature nude models? Hmmmm.

 
 
Sep 20, 2010
i'm currently watching a monday night football and i intend to watch it for hours and facegaurds hide the faces
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 20, 2010
Never underestimate the power of western culture narcissists. I wonder, though, if it would become such an obvious marketing tool so fast that it wouldn't be interesting anymore.

Stinging together videos "mashup style" could be fun, it's pure gold on this site!

Hhhmmm..., you know, Mr Adams, if you did a daily "Scott Likes" on the mashups, your readers likely would check back in frequently to see this. Traffic = ad value? The ability to get (buy) ones mashup with a "Scott Likes" logo on a coffee mug? Crazy techie bragging rights!

Keep up the good work.
 
 
Sep 20, 2010
I didn't invent Twitter, but neither did you...This is a dumb idea!
 
 
Sep 20, 2010
So if Meg Whitman wasn't so, umm, unattractive, she wouldn't have had to spend over 120 million of her own dollars to get elected to a job that pays about $200,000 a year, a job with an 8 year maximum life span?

Just asking......
 
 
 
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