'Shipwrecked' website turns into cult chat room

It started life as a website where wannabe reality-television participants could post their audition clips. After less than six weeks, Islandoo.com, a site for would-be contestants for Channel 4's Shipwrecked, has become an internet phenomenon to rival the social networking site MySpace.

In its short life, Islandoo.com has attracted more than 18,000 profiles, more than 1.5 million comments from participants and more than 10 million page views.

Those visiting the site have a simple aim - to be auditioned for the Big Brother-style show, which strands two rival teams on separate islands for several months with basic tools to build their own shelters and prepare food.

Yet according to its creators, Mint Digital, Islandoo.com has also become to the world's friendliest online party.

Andy Bell, Mint Digital's managing director, said: "If MySpace is like a pub where you chat with your friends or sit at the bar and occasionally check out the chicks, then Islandoo is the world's friendliest party where as soon as you go in people greet you with a comment - it creates a really interesting dynamic.

"We have a huge amount of chat. The site encourages people to go out of their way to be friendly to each other."

Islandoo.com asks wannabe participants to upload pictures and videos that are available for all visitors to the site to view. The most popular are then put to the vote every Friday, the winner gaining an audition for the show.

In order to be in with a chance of securing a place on the show, users of the site have to make friends to succeed. As a result, anyone joining Islandoo immediately gets bombarded with friendly messages as soon as they log on.

Mr Bell acknowledged that this was fuelling the site's extraordinary popularity.

"We knew there was a tremendous passion for people to try and get on Shipwrecked and that's what we were trying to tap into," he said. "The difference between Islandoo and MySpace is that people have a real motivation to communicate with each other because they want to rise in prominence within the community so they get picked by the television producers."

Shipwrecked was dreamt up by RDF Media, the production company behind Wife Swap. Faking It and Scrapheap Challenge.

With a £70,000 prize for the winning tribe to share, the show follows a familiar reality-television show format, including weekly beach parties in which the young contestants are able to get to know each other.

Although many other television shows have tried to branch out onto the web with related forums and chat rooms, none has achieved the success of Islandoo.

Even allowing for the fact that the show is set on desert islands and a lot of the girls have posted pictures of themselves in bikinis, the site has attracted more people in a short period of time than its creators expected.

One would-be contestant, Joeyboy, who describes himself as a carpenter, club promoter and model, poses in his audition in a pair of leopard-print trunks.

His entry reads: "I'm a carpenter and the islands would benefit from a good pair of hands! Also I would inject some life into the show because I'm always on the go, I live for now, I can't sit around doing nothing. A day not laughed is a day not lived!"

He has already attracted more than 1,000 comments from other users of the site, and could well be heading for the small screen. One enthusiastic response reads: "Thanx Tiger Pants, that was well sweet of you. You are my best friend on the website too and deffo deserve a penny (a vote of support). Good luck today babes x"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: PR Account Manager / AM

£20-30K(DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a PR Account M...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Account Executive

Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: One of the UK’s largest and most s...

Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

Guru Careers: Digital Designer / Interactive Designer

£ Highly Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Digital Designer / Interactive Des...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence