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Fo.rtuito.us Asks: You Feeling Lucky?

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-30

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Regardless of opinions about the benefits of an odd domain name (del.icio.us succeeded, but few can agree if it was a fluke or not), fo.rtuito.us has people intrigued. And what's not interesting about random social networking? It's Forest Gump's box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.

On the homepage, they ask the question:

What would happen if we no longer used things like looks, age, sex and nationality to decide if we would try and become friends with a person?

Registering with fo.rtuito.us (if you can remember how to find it through the awkward arrangement of letters and dots in the URL) earns new members a random "friend," pushing up serendipitous intrigue by a factor of ten.

Over a four-day period, the new friends remain anonymous, communicating via anonymous email to discover if their new buddy is worth getting to know better. If both people decide they have enough chemistry to continue their relationship, they can add the other to their permanent friends list. Each gets a new random friend to feel out.

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington:

I like the innocent simplicity of the site and its goals ("We want…to open their eyes to the world they're missing by not learning about others"), and hey, it may help a lonely person with some time on his or her hands to find a friend or two.


Still in beta, TechCrunch commentators have numerous suggestions for taking the concept to the next level, such as adding an outbox, the ability to sort or tag, and ways to be sure you are paired with someone who speaks the same language.

One of the more poignant criticisms points out that a photo is required for signup, which takes away from the anonymity and the beauty-is-on-the-inside concept. Bugs aside, fo.rtuito.us could be on the edge of something great as people get turned on to the idea of random friend-making.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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