What if you could have live monitors watch your business around the clock for about $100 per month? If they see a threat, they trigger an alarm that goes to your phone? Would you do it?
If those monitors were regular people at home watching on their computers, would you care?
This is the basic proposition of a UK startup called Internet Eyes. It's a web 2.0 service that connects businesses needing surveillance to people on the Internet. The top Internet 'security guard' gets a prize at the end of each month.
For a startup, the amount of attention that Internet Eyes has received is staggering. They've been compared to Stasi, had others provides lengthy defenses against privacy concerns and receive ongoing coverage in Britain's leading publications.
Rather than pontificate, we decided to sign up as a user and test it first hand. While the media coverage focuses on privacy, our focus is to understand: Is this a viable business? Can this approach supplant traditional monitoring services?
As we break down inside, we think there is some potential but important structural issues hinder the system's overall short and long term viability.