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So is Blackbox Republic a dating site, or a social network? Along with the welcome and (IMHO, painfully obviously better) new approach to online dating, however, Blackbox Republic faces some real challenges.
For new users, the service costs a minimum of a month to use (and per month for new sign-ups starting in 2010), which gives access to basic features like a personal profile.
[Sam Lawrence:] From the perspective of sex not being an issue, I think that love is generated by people being open enough about who they are as people to put all of themselves out on the table.
As far as putting all of myself on the table, it’s something that I do every single day.
I got in touch with BBR and signed up for a limited-offer “founder” account—basically a private beta.
The founder account gave me free access to the features of the Blackbox website for what would normally be a monthly subscription fee.
You don’t have an issue with other people’s sexuality.So, without further ado, here are my impressions about Blackbox Republic, and how its launch may be just what the Internet needs to get us moving in the right direction with regards to personal privacy, and mainstream awareness of the different needs of different people on the Internet.Over the past few months, Blackbox Republic has been building a marketing arsenal of anticipation and intrigue.I was (yet again) put-off by this over-prevalence of women in all advertising material.This isn’t really a criticism of the site, but rather a statement of disappointment that the marketing gurus behind the effort seemed to me to have succumbed to overwhelming cultural pressure to sell their site with old-school sex appeal: women’s sex appeal, of course. Not only is the Blackbox Republic intro video markedly gender-skewed, but somewhere along the line Sam and April decided to drop the “sex-positive” phraseology from their marketing: Oh well.Will creating a “members-only club” of sex-positivity on the Internet really be a positive thing for “the movement”? Although it has the potential to exclude lower-income people from the experience, who are sadly also often the people with the most pressing need for the kinds of privacy-related tools BBR offers (school teachers spring to mind!), one upside is that Blacbox Republic promises to pledge a portion of membership dues to a charity of the user’s choice.Most notably, as Clarisse Thorn and many others rightfully remind us very often, the sex-positive movement is overwhelmingly white, middle- to upper-class, college-educated, and privileged in a huge number of ways that many people often take for granted.Even without a for-pay social network, not everyone who wants to participate in the great-sex-for-everyone party atmosphere of many sex-positive niches.I also really appreciated the way that Sam and April spoke about their target audience.Blackbox Republic will welcome everyone, but it’s not BBR has room for everyone, but is not for everyone.