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Most dot-commers say they're too busy for fun. But not devotees of the DrinkExchange, a series of schmoozing events at bars for Web yuppies in tech hotbeds such as San Francisco and Hong Kong. The purpose is to get Net heads to loosen up and get job leads. The icebreaker: You're required to buy two drinks and offer one to a stranger, forcing the socially challenged off their bar stools.
DrinkExchange.com began when San Francisco roommates Ali Partovi and Alan Shusterman realized they had no social lives. They sent a few friends e-mail invitations to their first San Francisco nightclub party and urged them to pass the invites along. Eighty people came. Now DrinkExchange attracts crowds of up to 1,200 in half a dozen cities--with expansion to Portland, Ore., on tap. The events are paid for by corporate sponsors. The site advertises parties through e-mail newsletters. Call it liquid marketing.By Steve Hamm