Feeds

Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

Impossible.com millionaire tells Times mag about taxpayer-backed wishing-well's drubbing

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Millionaire supermodel Lily Cole has told a national newspaper how upset she was by The Register's coverage of her taxpayer-funded wishing well, Impossible.com.

Youtube video of Cole talking about impossible.com

Using Freedom of Information laws, we attempted to discover how the wealthy socialite and globetrotter was awarded £200,000 from the public purse for a website that barely anyone uses, and which replicates free sites like Craigslist. The site is Impossible.com, and it was awarded matched funding by Brit quango Nesta from a Cabinet Office pot o' gold intended to help charities, under the pretext of stimulating the "sharing economy" (sic).

Impossible.com used some of your money to employ Freud Public Relations, splash out on a New York City launch starring Chelsea Clinton and Sean Lennon, and tour the US to promote it.

Picture of a pink unicorn kitty thing

Upset by Reg coverage? Just look at this Unikitty
and think positive thoughts ... think positive thoughts

"I got a little bit upset by that Register article," says Cole, who was interviewed to plug a footwear line on Saturday. The 26-year-old went on to complain about "factual inaccuracies".

For the record, Cole has never complained to us about a single factual inaccuracy, and we make it easy by providing a “send corrections” link on every story. Apart from questioning our estimate of her net wealth – we'd heard £7m, Cole says it's a "fraction" of that – she doesn't elaborate on what these supposed inaccuracies might be.

English-born Cole then sighs: "They definitely didn’t give me an easy time getting the grant."

That's not how we understand things. The FoI requests revealed Cole had been awarded the second £150,000 of her award despite failing to fulfil the criteria. Nesta told us Impossible.com had been released the money for "achieving scale" – despite not actually having launched. That's quite an achievement. When asked if it could define "scale", Nesta failed to respond.

The Times quotes us [paywall] describing Impossible.com as a "desolate and melancholy place". Cole was defiant:

We have invested less than 0.0001 per cent of our budget in thinking about Facebook Likes. Success can only be measured in time. I wouldn’t have spent my own money if there wasn’t real value to come from gift culture.

Since our first story back in March, Impossible.com has benefitted from a chat with Vogue magazine in which she claimed someone gave away his house through the online wishing well. So with all the cash and publicity, how's it doing now?

You can actually see for yourself, here. Impossible receives fewer than a dozen "wishes" or posts a day; and most "wishes" go ignored. (The "most shared wish" on the site has received just four shares.) It's also gathered 3,500 Twitter followers.

Maybe it just needs a little more time. Or a little more of your money? ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.