Thursday, November 13, 2003

Career/Job Websites and Social Networking Business Model

There is the potential of an eBay-like economy, with a transaction-based business model, once professionals accept 1) everyone is a free agent in the 21st century, forget being an employee, and 2) a critical mass of professionals have a viable web presence. This new economy will be based on the exchange of professional services thru a bartering system – essentially bypassing national forms of currency. eBay is already experimenting with alternative forms of currency, e.g. frequent flyer miles. and I suspect they are very deep into analyzing a bartering economy, not whether to do it, but when. Bartering is already very big business on the web…just do a Google search and I suspect you will be astonished at the types of merchandise and services, and the companies, that are already participating in bartering.

I believe there are only two really powerful uses of social networks – for jobs/career for white-collar professionals and “employee-type” roles, and for yellow page advertisers (yellow pages are essentially the proxy for personal commodity services, often location-dependent, e.g. real estate agents and for small businesses).

Friendster is silly for a variety of reasons, and the other social networking websites that are targeting professionals have failed to appreciate that free agents want to OWN their data – thus proprietary based systems (e.g. LinkedIn,’s effort,, Spoke SW, Ryze) will fall by the wayside as open software solutions become available. In fact, it is already possible to create 95% of the needed functionality for an initial job/career social networking website out of freely available software and services (Google, Blogger, Yahoo Groups, etc.). See for a straightforward example.

For more information on the above topics please read other posts in my blog, visit the ResumeBlog blog, my professional website at, and the ProfGuilds/Software Product Marketing website.

I would love to get a small amount of funding for my concept – ProfGuilds – but unfortunately women entrepreneurs only receive 4% of venture funding. My team and I are looking for corporate funding instead.