Dare Junkies, which will launch a public beta on Tuesday, combines the video sharing and social networking aspects of YouTube/MySpace, with the challenge-based formula of reality TV. Users submit challenges or dares, and those who choose to accept, respond by capturing their efforts on video. The top ten videos (as chosen by the community) then qualify for a percentage of a cash price offered each month - which will start at $5,000.
As well as the chance to win money and have their 15 megabytes of fame, it's hoped that users will enjoy the sense of accomplishment felt through pushing themselves to do things outside their normal comfort zone. For the viewers, the range of 'dares' are expected to produce compelling content in the best reality TV tradition, enhanced by the interactivity inherent in being able to play a part in setting those challenges.
In a brief email exchange, I asked company founders Ben Bacal and Daron Niemerow (who both have a background in television) how they would ensure that the dares didn't get out of hand. They said that all challenges go through a submission process (the site's current dares have been approved by the company's legal team), and that any submitted videos are reviewed.
Dare Junkies will generate revenue through advertising, and by cutting licensing deals with third parties such as mobile providers. They are also considering the possibility of more traditional distribution by selling a 'best of' Dare Junkies DVD. The company is currently funded by the CEO (Ben Bacal) along with angel investors and friends and family.
There's isn't much unique about Dare Junkies' core functionality but the overall concept might just work. A lot of the most popular user-generated content on existing video sharing sites is of the reality TV / 'Jackass' nature, so creating a mechanism to generate more of this type of content and house it all in one place, is an intriguing proposition. However, like any site that relies on user submissions, its success will ultimately depend on whether enough people can be persuaded to take part.
If you are a company about to launch an exciting new social web service or product and would like me to take a look, get in touch.