Deal of the decade : Buy your own US Town

I am afraid, it might just be one of those "legal".... scams. On January 11, 2007, the entire United States will begin to be divided, town by town and city by city, at a new website called OnTheMapUS.

The website presents a series of topographic national and state maps with map pins to represent “Claims”. Those who claim (buy) a town (Claim Owners) will have the exclusive right to display their Claim Owner’s Page for that town, which will contain information (text, images, video) about the Claim Owner’s life and interests, as well as information about what life is like in their town or area of the county. As visitors browse the maps, mouse-over information displays the town and Claim Owner’s name, and the Claim Owner’s Page is accessed by clicking on the map pin.

In a unique twist on a proven Internet concept, the website enables its Claim Owners to benefit personally from their exclusive right, as they can sell their Claim to the highest bidder, and/or use their Claim to generate revenue through advertising.

In an effort to keep the ratio of Claims to population at about 1 per every 20,000 people, U.S. zip codes are used to define towns. The cost to Claim a town is $100. 25% of the zip codes in the 32 largest U.S. cities are available immediately, while the rest will be reserved for auction on eBay, beginning in mid-January.

“We envision a visitor experience that provides endlessly fascinating, firsthand, continually-updated insight into what people’s lives are like in towns across the U.S.,” said Joe Holihan, President of Manifest Destiny Media, LLC, publishers of OnTheMapUS. “Our Claim Owners will be people who want to share something with the world about themselves, their life… even their products or services, and have found an inexpensive, easy, and potentially lucrative way to do so.”

Mr. Holihan further noted that he expected many people to prefer the environment of OnTheMapUS to alternative Internet arenas, such as MySpace, due to higher visibility of the Claim Owner’s information, stricter content controls, and the beneficial financial aspects of the service. He expects these factors to result in a generally older (25-65) group of participants than found in other social networking websites.