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Summary:

I recently reviewed the drag-and-drop Web-based site building tool Webon and marveled at its ease of use and add-on features. I’m equally as impressed with MOLI, a social networking management tool and so much more. According to their site, MOLI is …a next-generation social networking site […]

MOLI home pageI recently reviewed the drag-and-drop Web-based site building tool Webon and marveled at its ease of use and add-on features. I’m equally as impressed with MOLI, a social networking management tool and so much more. According to their site, MOLI is

a next-generation social networking site where members can manage multiple profiles in one account. Members can separate their social, business and family relationships and keep control over their privacy.

I don’t think the company’s own description of MOLI does the service justice. The site targets both the individual user as well as small business owners and provides the tools to create multimedia, interactive, collaborative and commerce-driven sites.

While the company touts members’ ability to use different profiles to present to the public, to keep private or to hide from everyone except for other invited MOLI members, the really interesting thing about MOLI from a Web working standpoint is that you can easily create a variety of sites for a variety purposes such as:

1. Self-promoting – promoting your work in the form of a multimedia online resume and portfolio;

2. Collaborating – create a collaborative space for you, your colleagues, your clients and vendors i.e. an intranet;

3. Selling – build an online store easily and plug in commerce capabilities including art, photographs, music and other products and services;

4. Measuring - monitor traffic to your business site(s) and gain access to aggregated demographic and behavioral statistics from MOLI members who visit your site;

5. Networking – attract new customers or clients, and find MOLI members who may be your target market or good contacts for business networking;

6. Socializing – use the same tools to create similar sites and more social and entertainment oriented sites for your personal life apart from work – that are entirely separate.

The MOLI Services page is an example of the kind of services for fee site you can build. MOLI offers a variety of packages for their services including customer service and technical support; site design services; PR support; and data load services. They also offer co-branded and white-label community building options

Some of the tools and content you can add to your MOLI sites include:MOLI tools

  • Multimedia albums
  • Blogs
  • RSS Feeds
  • Calendars
  • Message Boards
  • Blankboards (whiteboards)
  • Jukebox
  • Games

Okay, the last one might not fit into a business site, but games are there as an option for your personal presence.

Some premium tools offered by MOLI include E-commerce functionality that can be added to member websites for $3.99 per month and ad-free sites for a monthly fee of $2.49.

Not every Web worker is a whiz at site building so having options for easy-to-use tools to get a quick presence or communications hub online for one’s projects can’t hurt. Like Webon, MOLI can even be a good starting point for low-budget clients who want a presence online but can’t pay you to set it up for them from scratch.

Never underestimate the power of DIY tools, especially those that incorporate the features that a site these days should no longer be without. I think MOLI is worth a look. If you find a great use for it in your day-to-day work, feel free to share that with us here.

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  1. John Handelaar Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Spammers, astroturfers, and liars.

    Worth no kind of look at all.

  2. Looks nice. I don’t seem to like that they don’t let you customize your own logo, header, etc. Too much ads and “moli” around. Users just want more control.

  3. Aliza Sherman Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Emil – I do agree with you about too many ads – thought about that after I sent in my review. And should have mentioned that the pages you create can also look a bit busy with all their modular add-ons. But if you get the no-ad version, that helps clear up some clutter.

  4. Aliza Sherman Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    John – Granted, I didn’t mention their astroturfing tactics but just because they aren’t marketing their site right doesn’t mean their site couldn’t be useful to others.

    I haven’t yet received spam from them – is my spam blocker really THAT good?

    I think this will make an interesting blog post – do you NOT use a site because you don’t like their marketing tactics? Of course, bad customer service is another thing. However, I know that I’ve continued to use products or services where I’ve received bad customer service because it serves a need.

    I’m interested in hearing what others have to say. If something is useful to somebody out there, what constitutes “bad enough” to stop using it or to never using it in the first place?

  5. Aliza, I think there is a large difference between “not marketing their site right” – a category into which we could lump poor customer service, lame blog strategies, email contacts lacking opt-outs, and other things we can generously ascribe to being naive — and marketing their website through out and out deceit.

    A key MOLI.com employee was caught red-handed astroturfing on a number of sites over an extended period. Daniel DiFiore, MLI’s Director of Customer Service, posted as Hawk5721 on sites like TechCrunch and GetSatisfaction, shilling for his employer without revealing his connection to MOLI. He did not, in fact, reveal his true identity until he was publicly busted for astroturfing in the comments of a blog post critical of MOLI’s privacy practices.

    I have no idea what MOLI’s definition of gross misconduct is, but the internet tends to take astroturfing very seriously. It is seen as an egregious violation of community standards, and frankly I consider it even more so when it’s being done by a company in the community building business.

    Daniel DiFiore is, by the way, still employed in the same position at MOLI.

    So, do you want to do business with a company who’s Director of Customer Service lies to customers, who’s COO defends these actions by pointing fingers at members, and who’s CEO responds to potential member concerns about the site’s commercialism with “they knew what they were doing when they signed up”?

    I don’t. I think all of that sucks. It’s great looking, it has a terrific model for privacy management, and it is managed by a group of people who have repeatedly demonstrated an attitude towards their customers of “screw you.”

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