Building 43, PartnerUp Debut New And Upgraded SMB Communities - InformationWeek

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10:39 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul

Building 43, PartnerUp Debut New And Upgraded SMB Communities

Rackspace Cloud tees up Building 43, while Deluxe enhances its PartnerUP site.

Rackspace Cloud tees up Building 43, while Deluxe enhances its PartnerUP site.At Building 43, which launched this afternoon, the emphasis is on embracing the power and promise of the Internet. Funded by online hosting outfit Mosso | The Rackspace Cloud as an R&D effort -- and promo for its hosting business -- the site's goal is to try to bring main street businesses into the modern Internet world of real time interaction and social networking (For more, check out the Building 43 manifesto. Better still, check out the bMighty manifesto, we were there first!)

Small businesses need help, according to Rob La Gesse, Director of Customer Development at The Rackspace Cloud, because "most of them seem to have Web sites that look like there were designed in 1994." The problem isn't money, La Gesse says, but fear and ignorance. Social networking is allowing everyone to talk about your company all the time, and "that's a different world a lot of people aren't comfortable living in." The site wants to be "helpful" so that even a Mom and Pop pizza shop could put a video or Twitter feed on their site in 5-10 minutes. "It's easy," La Gesse says, "If you know how."

Building 43 will include video, blogs, and links to useful Web tools as well as live feeds from Friend Feed and Twitter.

In this Building 43 video, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gives business advice to his dentist dad.

The project is definitely cool, and should indeed appeal to folks who are fanatical about the Internet. As for those main street busineses, we'll have to wait and see.

Main Street vs. Silicon Valley PartnerUp, meanwhile, seems to be taking the exact opposite approach. The site claims to be "the first and largest online community geared solely toward small business owners and entrepreneurs" with more than 100,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs as members.

The site now features enhanced peer-to-peer networking capabilities with better search and automatic updates; a free Rsource Directory of service providers sortable by geography and other factors; the ability to get answers to questions from SCORE and other PartnerUp membersl; a Free Commercial Real Estate Marketplace with free listings from brokers, companies with excess inventory and small business owners looking to get out of their current lease.

PartnerUp may appeal to mainstream to businesses, but it's likely to hold litte interest for Web-savvy whiz kids. Hey, maybe the two outfits should make friends with each other?

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