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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Let the net run your life
Internet users asked to decide people's fate
Would you leave your fate to the click on a mouse?
Millions of internet users are being given the chance to dictate the lives of five volunteers.

Two men and three women are letting the net play God for 15 days by handing over their daily decisions to the whims of others.

Some 37,000 votes were cast during the first day of the Big Brother-style web experiment, which runs to 2 May.

"It has really captured the people's attention," said a spokeswoman for Microsoft's internet service, MSN, which is behind the project.

Aberdeen or Gran Canaria?

One of the participants, 36-year-old Scot John, is hoping net users will help him decide on a potentially life-changing decision.

One of the five volunteers, John from Scotland
John: Should he stay or should he go?
"I'm looking to make some changes in my life, because I've become a bit disillusioned recently," he told BBC News Online from his office in Aberdeen.

"I've been a solid nine-to-fiver for most of my days and I'm looking for a bit of time out."

He is currently asking net users to decide whether he should buy a sensible three-bed property in Aberdeen and settle down for good, or take a gamble and invest in a bar in Gran Canaria.

John originally applied to take part in the experiment for a laugh, but said he would now do whatever the people decide.

"I have to trust them 100%," he said.

Advice online

This latest venture follows the worldwide success of reality TV show Big Brother.

MSN contestant Miles
Miles: Wants to expose his life
MSN's project is similar to the show as, at the end, a web jury will decide which contestant has let the internet live their life to the maximum. He or she will win 10,000.

One of the participants, 31-year-old Miles, was attracted by the idea of exposing his life to millions.

"I'm fairly outgoing and involve friends and family in decision-making," he told BBC News Online. "So, it is intriguing to open it up to a wider population."

"We're exposing more of our lives than happened on Big Brother," he said.

The five contestants are:

  • Miles, a 31-year-old Londoner who dreams of pop star Kylie Minogue and managing the England football team
  • John, a 36-year-old Scot who wants to be a travel writer but currently works as a sales engineer in the oil trade
  • Clare, a 27-year-old Londoner, is a serial monogamist with a penchant for the seaside and forklift trucks
  • Nik is a stockbroker and mother of three from northern England who dreams of being an author
  • Postwoman Julie, 30, from the Midlands lives with her son Robert and has been on over 80 dates in three months.
See also:

06 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Big Brother 3 sparks places scramble
22 May 01 | TV and Radio
The end of reality TV?
24 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV around the globe
07 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Online voting on the cards
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