By Enda Crowley on September 5th, 2013

Zurker claims to be a social network, but most of the time it feels like a Ponzi scheme. Its unique selling point is that it’s an entirely “democratic” social network, one that allows for freedom of speech, and is owned by its members through the purchasing of in-network currency called “Zen”.

I was first alerted to Zurker by some rather strange e-mails that started appearing in our editorial mailbox this week. “how about doing a story on the site that will next replace facebook” the first e-mail read. The copy mentioned that, after a phase of low traffic, The Kernel has exploded again recently. Well done us! And would we like to know about another site that had done the same?

The second e-mail came yesterday from a different individual, telling us that Zurker’s principled stand on freedom of speech and privacy would make a great article. After, like, thirty seconds of Googling we discovered his Facebook and Quora pages, which are mostly used for assuring people Zurker definitely isn’t a scam. Finally, we received a less-than-cryptic post on our facebook page.

I think this is called guerrilla marketing...

I think this is called guerrilla marketing

Clearly this is something worth checking out. I mean, look at all these totally unrelated people talking about this social network! It must be blowing up right now! Look at all those websites I’ve never heard of giving it glowing reviews! So I hopped on and made an account. I was presented with something that looked like it had come straight out of 2004. Instead of a feed or a wall, Zurker presents you with a Streeme. Thats a street and a homepage combined. Clever word play, eh?

There are different “Zones” or topics, divided up by hashtags. I followed #constituion hoping for some good legal discussion but was sorely disappointed, it was all petty governance between the “owners” of Zurker. I had a look, but there wasn’t a #hashtag. I left disappointed, having no friends on Zurker made it quite a lonely experience and I wasn’t feeling confident enough to make new friends because I didn’t have any Zurker money.

Zurker is awful. The experience is terrible, and the content is terrible.

Still. Better than App.net.