I want to discuss an article I found in the October issue of Management (a leading specialized magazine in France).
It is not the first article about social/business networking in that magazine: the topic is quite fashionable, still intriguing for most people, so it helps selling.
Their main recommendation... To use Viaduc in France!
* They insist a lot on offline / online
* They talk about "courtesy rules" or "the importance of having the right behaviour" on those sites, but they don't really explain what you must/musn't do!
* Most of their contributors are head hunters, except for one banker who says something not relevant about Linkedin...
* It is by far too biased, in favour of Viaduc
They introduce a few websites specialized in business networking such as Linkedin, openBC, Viaduc or 6nergies. They also talk about aSmallWorld and introduce this service as the most exclusive on the web, with an incredible selection process: I have an anecdote about that... :)
Visible remark: the way they introduce this section is a bit misleading as they wrote "From the most international network to the "Frenchest" network" and they start with... Viaduc!
One of Viaduc founders, Dan Sarfaty, is on the cover page. Obviously, the article dedicated to business networking kind of promotes Viaduc.
* "Viaduc is very easy to use"
* "they provide excellent search features"
* About its forums (3000+): this is "the best way to grow your network" and be invited to the parties/events"
* Quote from a user: "many users use it as a tool to find a job, and expect a lot from it without giving much"
* Business model: first, I am a bit surprised that they don't say that you need to subscribe to have access to pretty much all the main features! You must pay if you want to use Viaduc: I don't like their approach, and most of their competitors provide most of the essential features for free.
* Interface: I don't like the interface much which is not as intuitive as Linkedin, and far less comprehensive as openBC.
* Status in France: they have done a good job in France, but my opinion is that a significant portion of their members are working in SMEs, and are looking for clients...
* "7million members and 200,000 in France"
* "More for business than recruitment"
* "The average level is higher than Viaduc"
* "Similar to Viaduc, but without forums and offline meetings" -> So, "it is more difficult to build and grow your network"
* "Linkedin is not monitored properly: you find a lot of silly profiles (example: Jacques Chirac) which impact its credibility"...
* Quality: I like their point about the "quality" of the members, more senior in their organization, and that you use Linkedin to make business and not only to find a job.
* Features: I disagree with the way they compare Viaduc to Linkedin: basically they say that Viaduc is as good as Linkedin plus they have forums and they organize events... This is untrue!
* New contacts: Another "untrue" statement is when they say it is easier to grow your network on Viaduc: yes it is easier on Viaduc, which is more open than Linkedin, in terms of volume... But what about the quality of your network? Linkedin is all about credibility, trust and excellent relationships: two very different approaches!
* Credibility: "Silly profiles which impact Linkedin's credibility"... What is the problem with that friendly banker? On every single social network, unfortunately, you can find these joke profiles. Remember it is not always obvious: the name can be real, but the content can be a joke! Based on my experience, there certainely are no more silly profiles on Linkedin than openBC or Viaduc...
* "2 million members", "events/forum", "Skype"
* "You must pay 5,95 euros per month" -> "you need to use it a lot to make the investment profitable"
* Quote from Yann Mauchamp: "Service directory such as yellow pages"
* "20 moderators" -> another blow against Linkedin
* "We advise you not to use it if you are mainly looking for contacts in France!"
* Price: it is not compulsory to pay to use the platform. Or course, subscribers have access to extra services and features. Why didn't they insist on Viaduc's strategy, which is more restrictive than openBC?
* Wrong advice: I find it incredible to advise not to use openBC if you are looking for contacts in France! You can use French as your main language. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that openBC is very strong in Germany and Austria.
* Interface: The interface is 10 times better than Viaduc's and the team, lead by my friend Yann Mauchamp -the country manager-, is very dynamic.
* Events: openBC organize regular events themselves. To my knowledge, Viaduc does not really organize events but they let the forum/group managers do it!
* 13,500 members
* You pay what you want (20 euros per year on average)
* Monthly events in 3 cities in France
* Good reference on Google
* Good example at the beginning of the article
* I know Alain Lefebvre, founder of 6nergies, as we were both speakers at a conference about social networking in Paris in 2005. Alain has a blog -in French- named Les Reseaux Sociaux, which promotes his book about social networking.
* The article is good for 6nergies as Frederic Bianchi from Management start his article with a long testimonial from one of 6nergies members
* The most exclusive online network
* Members such as Paul Allen or Tiger Woods
Technorati: businessnetworking, socialnetworking, linkedin, openbc, xing, viaduc