Joel Comm’s claim to internet fame and fortune isn’t of a James Hong or Mark Zuckerberg echelon, but the online entrepreneur has been able to make a few self-proclaimed millions on the web. He co-founded ClassicGames.com, which sold to Yahoo in 1997, started family-friendly web portal WorldVillage.com in 1995, and wrote the New York Times bestseller, The AdSense Code. Not a terrible resume.

Coming off as part legitimate businessman and part far-too-friendly-late-night-infomercial host, the goateed and bespectacled Comm has launched a new, competitive online reality series.  The Next Internet Millionaire

  aims to drum up significant self-promotion for Comm, as well as find him a new business partner.

 

 

### Narrowed down to 50 hopefuls from a few hundred video entries, 12 finalists arrived at a complex in Northern Colorado in the premiere episode that aired last Friday, where they awaited their initial instructions in this reality show that’d been described as “The Apprentice meets YouTube.”

“Welcome to the Complex,” a video recording of Comm tells the finalists. “At the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Northern Colorado, the twelve of you will be competing for a $25,000 cash prize and an opportunity of a lifetime to join me in an new online business venture. You’ll be learning from the top online wealth-building experts and taking parting challenges that will determine who is best suited to be my new joint venture partner.”

As the video ends, the show continues with your average time-tested, network-approved reality series escapades.

The contestants break up into pairs and groups to compete in various marketing games and public-speaking exercises in hopes of winning “Hacker-Safe-Immunity” contests, so they can don “Hacker-Safe-Immunity” t-shirts, so they can apparently be safe from hackers…and from being kicked off the show.

The program feels like a slightly better-than-average corporate office team-building seminar or tech conference, except there’s ominous background music and no one’s coming up with cool internet memes.

But, as Wired notes, the production value is slick and comparable to something you might find on regular television, the show has wrangled some legitimate sponsors, and there are even a few worthwhile moments. Fans of online video will also recognize the pink-haired Charles Trippy of YouTube fame, as he proclaims the merits of being unconventional and wearing web-bought t-shirts instead of suits.

I don’t really watch too much reality TV, but I can see the show’s appeal for hard-core Apprentice fans with an interest in the web. The program is basically a gimmick to promote Comm’s next unannounced web project, but that’s no reason to discredit it.  Melding the lines between marketing and entertainment seems to be in vogue.

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