There’s a new fledgling business network in town: LeadVine, whose slogan is “the community is your sales force.” Currrently in public beta, it’s not trying to take on LinkedIn directly. Rather than try to build general-purpose business connections with no fixed purpose, LeadVine is directed specifically at hooking up businesses with sales leads.
The site is basically driven by supply, rather than demand. If you’re a business or consultant with services to sell, you can post your listing: this will say what you’re looking for (“Businesses needing help keeping their computer network safe and secure”), when someone should refer you, and how much you’re willing to pay as a referral fee. Then visitors to LeadVine can scan through these requests for leads, and if they have something that fits, make the referral.
Currently-posted fees range from $50 to $20,000. LeadVine does not get involved in the user-to-user transaction: they don’t take a fee, nor do they offer any sort of guarantee of good business dealings. If you have a referral to make, you’d be wise to get a contract in place to protect your rights.
LeadVine takes good advantage of Web 2.0: you can sign up to receive new listings as they come in, via either RSS or Twitter. You can also use your OpenID to sign in to create your own listings (or you can build a dedicated LeadVine account if you’d rather).
Will it work? That depends on how well the site manages to get attention, and on the ratio of serious vs. spammy businesses that go fishing here. Certainly for web workers there’s a fair amount of potential; not being limited to any particular geographic area, we can cast a wide net in our listings. And since LeadVine doesn’t charge any fee for a listing, the risk of trying it out is low.