Unless you move in the right circles, you're most likely unaware of the existence of internet businesses that allow the well-heeled to do the same kind of things average people do online, except without having to come into contact with "poor" people.
While the hoi polloi might be satisfied with the mass-market offerings of Tinder, Facebook, Airbnb and Uber, those a good few rungs further up the socio-economic ladder are having their needs met by Luxy (described as "Tinder without the poor and unattractive people"), Netropolitan ("The online country club for people with more money than time"), One Fine Stay (renting "exceptional" private homes in the prestige neighbourhoods of cities such as Paris and New York) and BlackJet (a $US2500 annual membership fee gets you access to "thousands of private jet seats, booked in seconds through our mobile and web applications").
It works just like Tinder. With one big exception. Our app allows users to weed out the poor and unattractive.Luxy's CEO
Unaware what you've been missing out on? Here's a guide to what lies on the schmick side of the cyber tracks.
Earning enough to splurge, but not quite enough to employ a personal assistant to oversee your opera ticket and pied-à-tere purchases? British firm Quintessentially Lifestyle is the 800-pound gorilla of concierge services, having expanded into more than 60 cities since being launched by Camilla Parker-Bowles' nephew Ben Elliot and two others in 2000. It's now expanding into the Asia-Pacific and recently opened an office in Melbourne to service Australia and New Zealand.
If you're reluctant to shell out between $6000 and $22,000 a year for a Quintessentially Lifestyle membership (there are different levels), you could instead consider Lime and Tonic, which recently expanded its global footprint into Sydney and Melbourne.
Says Mansour Soltani, Lime and Tonic's Sydney-based Asia-Pacific director: "Luxury brands have long offered their customers the opportunity to customise their cars and clothes. Lime and Tonic is a 'digital social concierge' offering people the opportunity to customise their experiences - whether that's a $340 spa treatment or a $34,000 weekend getaway involving a helicopter trip, five-star hotel and bespoke dinner prepared by an executive chef.
"We're not so much catering to the affluent as giving our members – who are typically well-travelled, time-poor individuals with young families – access to an affluent lifestyle."
Paul Kent, CEO of the new-ish Australian "boutique experience company" Mr Aristotle, is also targeting those aspiring to taste the good life at least occasionally. Fifteen per cent of clients are professionals, 25 per cent self-employed and 35 per cent in management. "Most are in the 18-54 age group; younger members are most interested in fashion and adventure activities, older ones in food and wine experiences," Kent says.
"We've done everything for members from arranging a road trip through Italy in a classic Alfa Romeo to a helicopter flight to an isolated private island in the Coral Sea."
Partnering up (or at least sideways)
Luxy created a stir at its August launch with its CEO - who won't name himself for fear of reprisal - declaring: "It works just like Tinder. With one big exception. Our app allows users to weed out the poor and unattractive."
It's not clear what constitutes unacceptable unattractiveness, but deal-breaking poverty encompasses anyone struggling by on less than $200,000 a year.
If you don't make the cut on Luxy, you may have better luck on the plethora of 'sugar daddy' dating sites, such as Sugar Daddy For Me, which facilitated at least one well-publicised relationship for Dr Geoffrey Edelsten.
Trudy Gilbert, owner of Elite Introductions, only works with non-smoking professionals and business owners "who are nice people" and charges both male and female clients $4995 a year for her services.
Gilbert is cynical about the claims made by purely online businesses such as Luxy. "How can they know what their members really earn?" she asks. "I personally eyeball all my clients and I've got pretty good at sensing if someone is lying about their income, height or weight."
While she expresses it less obnoxiously than Luxy's CEO, the woman known as Australia's millionaire matchmaker endorses the idea that the wealthy – like many other groups – are best served by niche dating services. "The big dating sites boast about how many members they have, but that just makes finding someone with similar values all the more difficult," she says.
"Elite Introductions is about bringing together those who have similar aspirations and will share an interest in things such as overseas travel, cultural events, intellectual pursuits and dining out."
Not long after Facebook lost its initial Ivy League exclusivity, the one per cent began retreating into digital gated estates. In 2004, the invitation-only social networking site A Small World was founded. A number of similar sites – Total Prestige, Affluence and Eleqt – have since launched with varying degrees of success.
The new kid on the block is Netropolitian, which costs $US9000 ($10,400) to join, plus a $US3000 annual membership fee. Launching his creation in September, CEO James Touchi-Peters explained: "Netropolitan is designed to be a place to talk about your last European vacation or new car (read: Ferrari) without the backlash."
When contacted by Fairfax, Touchi-Peters confessed he was yet to sign up any Australian members, but was keen to do so. "Our vetting process is the initiation fee and yearly dues. If you can afford that, and act appropriately in our club, we would love to have you."
What do you get for your $US12,000 initial outlay? "A place to connect with people with your same interests and hobbies, to network for business or form new friendships … we realise that many wealthy people around the world are hungry for a community where they can connect and relate."
So it seems.