Small Businesses go to Work.com

Business.com is launching a user-contributed small-business manual today at Work.com. The site already hosts more than 1000 guides dealing with contracts, accounting, financing, et cetera. Most guides are super basic, but the provided templates generally render them well-organized. And offering all this information as a website is definitely more proximately useful than yet another paper how-to book.

The deal is: anyone and everyone can contribute a guide about some aspect of running a small business. Each new guide goes live unedited, and then an editorial staff swoops in to suggest changes and give an initial rating on a scale of 1 to 10. Jake Winebaum, CEO of Business.com, told us he expects contributors to be motivated by the promise of being considered an expert as well as the opportunity to feature a link to their own websites. For now, he has no plans to share advertising revenue with guide creators.

Though Winebaum likes to call the guides “workis,” they are not at all true wikis in that users can not freely collaborate on a page’s content. The best they can do is offer a comment and a rating. To avoid spam and unhelpful self-promotion, low-rated guides get pushed down out of search results.

For starters, we enjoyed the “Guide to Low-Cost Businesses You Can Start,” “Guide to Incorporating a Business,” and “Guide to Doing Business in Ghana.” Most guides aren’t more than a simple jumping-off point, but hey… sometimes that’ll do. Let us know in the comments if you find a certain guide helpful or create a guide yourself.

Disclosure: Business.com provides advertising for GigaOM.com.

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