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Summary:

When it comes to truly professional “social” networks, there are far less than general interest and entertainment-oriented networks. Ryze is virtually dead. Xing is more global. The old standby is LinkedIn although it still struggles with its Web 2.0 features. Facebook is still trying to overcome […]

Konnects | HomepageWhen it comes to truly professional “social” networks, there are far less than general interest and entertainment-oriented networks. Ryze is virtually dead. Xing is more global. The old standby is LinkedIn although it still struggles with its Web 2.0 features. Facebook is still trying to overcome it’s school focus in some professionals’ minds. Plaxo has tried to capitalize on their previous incarnation as a contact management system. And hybrid online/offline communities such as BizNik tend to be more niche or regionally focused.

Enter Konnects. Konnects wants to fill in the gap between LinkedIn and Facebook, providing social tools for a younger professional who may not quite have enough contacts to make LinkedIn really work for them but want to focus on business more than Facebook promotes. Konnects wants to be not only the place where business professionals can find one another but also the place where they can transact business on the site, exchanging all of the information and documentation needed to solidify a working relationship.

Konnects focuses less on email and much more on chat, instant messaging, video conferencing and Twitter integration. The site has the usual social networking features such as Your Network News which is similar to the status updates of you and your contacts on many other networks.

You also get recommended communities on your Konnects home page although I’m not sure why some are being recommended to me. The “Women’s Resources” made sense since I’m a woman. But “Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber”? I live in Alaska. And “Accounting?” I hate accounting.

Womens Resource KonnectsWhat Konnects has that LinkedIn doesn’t have is an integration of Communities – not Groups – that are essentially white label networks a la Ning. Maybe I’ll create my own community.

Also on your home page, you are fed videos from your communities but if you don’t belong to a community yet, you get a plain icon that says “Join More Communities. Get More News.” And you can blog.

While Konnects claims to have over 350,000 members so far, my interactions on the site have felt a little lonely even though I am connected to the CEO of Konnects and one of their publicists. I’ve poked around at some of the communities and put out a few invitations to connect (with a free account you are limited to three). I’ve put out a bulletin to my contact list of two. I’ve updated my profile. I’ve tried to connect with people I know who are supposed on Konnects (as per the site culling through my Gmail address book) but never heard from anyone. And I’ve watched the paint dry.

Konnects is still in beta but it is more visible now so perhaps the community will start buzzing. Additional features are for premier users only such as unlimited messages, profile advertising (so you can market yourself to others), and free Internet calls to members. Monthly membership is $14.99 or $89.99 for a year.

With paid membership, you can also view the profiles of the people who have viewed your profile. Despite the creepy aspect of this, it does give you an advantage to see who is curious about you although getting in touch with them after they viewed your profile could also seem pretty creepy.

A nice feature of Konnects is aggregation of your community content. If you join a number of communities, you can actually get an aggregated view of, say, the classifieds from all communities, and you can access all you communities with one login, one password (unlike Ning). Another useful feature is that you can list certain people in your contact list but make others private – a smart way to protect your higher profile contacts.

More features, productivity tools and other third party tools are in the works.

As an avid user of many social networks, I know that especially with professional ones, you get out of them what you put into them so I am reserving judgment for now and will keep plugging away at upping my Konnects connectivity.

  1. Hi Aliza,
    Great piece. I’m a little surprised, however, that you dismiss Biznik as “niche or regionally focused.” If you take a look at the geographic traffic data for Konnects on Quantcast (both Biznik and Konnects are quantified so we’re talking real data here), you’ll see that by an overwhelming margin, most of Konnects’ traffic originates in India. In fact, the United States is a very distant fourth on the list. Given those numbers, I think a compelling case could be made that Konnects is “regionally” focused, that region being Asia.

    At Biznik, we are focused on the United States (even though we now have members in 118 countries). Most of Biznik’s traffic originates in the United States, where we have twice the traffic than Konnects has, despite the fact that Biznik has just 16,000 members so far, compared to their much larger (but as you observed, strangely silent) user base.

    I think Konnects has a great product. There’s plenty of room in this growing market for products with different approaches to solving the business networking puzzle for different types of people in different parts of the world. I just don’t like being unfairly labeled as “regional” when the opposite is true.

    PS It was great having you as a speaker at BizJam this year. We’ll be posting video of your session soon at http://www.bizjamseattle.com.

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  2. There are other alternatives which allow unlimited networking, as surely online networks should. We launched WeCanDo.BIZ in May and are growing rapidly due to features like Biz Needs, which takes one member’s urgent business need and presents that as a sales lead to other members. Tools like this help broker valuable new connections. Even if you join without knowing anyone, within days you’ll have a whole heap of useful new connections.

    Our service is free for business professionals at http://www.wecando.biz.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
    http://www.wecando.biz

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  3. I thought I should clarify Dan McCombs assessment of the traffic coming to Konnects and also explain key differences between the two business models. I think the explanation will also underscore why free web tools are helpful, but have flaws and limitations on how they portray data.

    As Aliza commented above, Konnects has a Ning element allowing organizations or individuals to create their own white labeled professional community with all of the feature sets you see on Konnects.com.

    The Konnects.com URL houses these communities. The site you see at Konnects.com is the global portal for all members who wish to be viewed and interact with others on an international level.

    Some users however join the platform directly into a community or “walled garden” residing on the Konnects platform. While these function as seperate entities, Quantcast lumps their activity and data together under the Konnects URL. Konnects has a number of such communities for different countries, industries, etc. As such, we cater to an entire ecosystem of business networking sites.

    Think of us as potentially thousands of uniquely branded and populated professional communities around the globe. Each with differing levels of activity, growth, and interaction. Depending on which communities you choose to become involved with, your experience will differ in activity.

    The Indian community or IndiaKonnects.com, has grown faster than other communities riding on our platform. It is a very vibrant, fast growing community. When viewing the data at a site like Quantcast, you are seeing an aggregation of data skewed toward the fastest growing and most active communities in the ecosystem. To illustrate the differences, I suggest visiting both IndiaKonnects.com, and Konnects.com. If anyone wants to talk to me about this, please feel free to contact me on Konnects.

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  4. Dan – I don’t think I dismissed BizNik as regional or niche. If you look at the home page, it lists out several cities and when I joined BizNik, I opted into the Seattle community. I see that as added value. Clearly anyone from anywhere can join BizNik but being able to zoom into a regional area for true online/offline networking is brilliant.

    Also, by niche, you’ve clearly defined the reason you started BizNik in the first place – you and your wife were working independently and wanted to connect with others in the same situation. Also brilliant. You aren’t really looking to serve someone in a huge corporation although they, too, can get value from BizNik. But to bring us indies together is so great.

    By being so focused, I think you’ll end up being incredibly successful.

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