When I was interviewing for my job at Microsoft a year and a half ago I did a presentation on social networking, I called out Wallop and pointed to some of the early prototypes that were sitting in Microsoft Research.
Now Wallop was spun out of Microsoft Research about a year ago and has since landed $10 million (USD) in venture capital.
Wallop Technologies Incorporated has launched its service in Beta today at the DEMOfall 2006 conference in San Diego.
Unlike the other social networks, Wallop CEO Karl Jacob says he has no plans to ever put advertising on the site. It just lessens the user experience, he says. Instead, Wallop wants a piece of the $3 trillion per year U.S. market for self expression items.
Wallop has created a marketplace for “self expression” items on the site. Flash developers can create items and sell them to users much like is done with ringtones and mobile phone games today. Wallop handles payments and DRM, and takes 30% of the sale price. The rest goes to the seller.
In true BUZZ style membership in Wallop is by invitation only from someone who is already a member or by asking for an invitation at http://www.wallop.com/.
Obviously there is a strong connection between Microsoft and Wallop Technologies Limited... Microsoft holds an equity stake in Wallop, as the company is a spin-out from Microsoft’s IP Ventures Program and research department... but today Wallop Technologies Incorporated is very much its own company set out to shake up the big kids in social networking Myspace, Facebook and others.