MOLI's Multitasking Approach to Social Networking for Smaller Business - InformationWeek

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5/20/2008
09:00 PM
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MOLI's Multitasking Approach to Social Networking for Smaller Business

With today's launch of a small business center, MOLI has set its sights on some the people least likely have a distinction between work and personal life: those in smaller businesses.

With today's launch of a small business center, MOLI has set its sights on some the people least likely have a distinction between work and personal life: those in smaller businesses.In an earlier conversation Russell Rothstein, the founder and CEO of social networking site Sales Spider, noted that social networks suffer from an image problem in the workplace. He pointed out that an employee seen updating their Facebook page might be viewed as socializing on company time, whereas an employee seen updating their LinkedIn profile might be perceived to job hunting. Among his goals for Sales Spider: bring legitimacy to social networking as a tool for smaller business. Rothstein saw his social network as one of many that an individual might join, each with a specific role:

"Most people have multiple interests. The same person who belongs to MySpace because they play in a garage band and post their MP3s may also belong to LinkedIn to look for a job, and may belong to a niche social network on Ning for another hobby or interest."

MOLI, which publically launched in January of this year, is pursuing an opposing strategy to be the social network that providers for every facet of a person's life. How? By allowing users multiple profiles. Two-faced? More like 10-faced (or more). Recently MOLI vice president Matt Murphy demonstrated this feature by showing me just a few of his 11 profiles -- each with its own differing access and permissions.

As Judy Balint, MOLI president and COO said of her company's aspiration, "We're designed for start ups and entrepreneurs, the multitaskers with limited resources. MOLI saves them time, by putting everything in a single location from extranet to intranet to e-commerce to communication with family and friends to reading the news."

For your business you could create one profile for your e-commerce site, one for your suppliers, one for each of your hobbies, one for your friends, one for your...well you get the idea. Balint shied from the suggestion that MOLI was positioning itself as a portal, instead clinging to the quotable "management tools for your life online."

The online life/business management tools in the MOLI Small Business Center that may appeal to smaller business people include low cost e-commerce site and Web site creation tools, how-to guides, video, ask the expert forums, and other bells and whistles.

MOLISmallBusinessCenter

Despite the deep pockets of E-Trade founder Christos Cotsakos (and the two other Cotsakos on the executive roster) helping to foot the bill, the revenue to fund MOLI's original content and infrastructure has to come from somewhere. When asked days before launching the small business center about lowered forecasts from eMarketer for social networking advertising based, in part, on social networks lack of a successful ad model, Balint responded by saying:

"MOLI is the next-generation of Social Media, so our overall site strategy has been designed to be Advertiser-friendly from inception. We do this first of all through our content strategy which does NOT rely solely on user generated content, but has professionally created, original content for both our Video section and our MOLI View (interactive magazine) section in a number of very clearly defined content channels...these professionally-created, interactive content channels gives advertisers a very clearly defined area on our site where they can be comfortable about the environment in which their brand-message will appearwe are focused at small businesses which advertisers very clearly want to reach, and our Small Business Center is another "safe" environment for their brand message, as is our overall focus on targeting knowledge-based workersas a result, in head-to-head RFPs for advertising, we are able to command higher CPMs then your typical Web 2.0 social networks that rely only on user-generated content."

Well there you have it.

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