ZeroDegrees and LinkedIn take
a different tack in social networking: The Individual."> While Spoke and Visible Path are focusing on selling directly to enterprises, ZeroDegrees is taking a different tack. While the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company also is building its social network for enterprise use, it is targeting its adoption to individual users rather than enterprise accounts, said Jas Dhillon, ZeroDegrees president and CEO. "You cant implement software and get an instant social network," Dhillon said. "To us, the key thing is building confidence and trust with the individual business user."As it builds out the network, ZeroDegrees wants to offer add-on applications. The first, a sales intelligence dashboard that will help users find qualified leads and warm referrals, is slated for a release by the end of 2004, Dhillon said. Like ZeroDegrees, LinkedIn also has focused on individual business users for its social network. It most closely follows the model of consumer sites. All members explicitly join the network and fill out their own profiles, rather than having information extracted from e-mails or enterprise applications. In those profiles, users specify the types of requests it will acceptfor hiring, business development, access to experts or sales, said Konstantin Guericke, vice president of marketing. "The network is only good if you can actually reach the people," he said, noting the importance of the profiles. "If theres only information on people and titles, its kind of like a leads database without contact information." Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn, which began a beta network in May, plans a full launch in the second quarter of 2004. At that time, it also expects to offer a management feature for enterprises with a large number of individual users where participation and privacy can be more centrally managed, Guericke said.
ZeroDegrees in early December launched the final beta of its social networking technology and plans a production release in February, Dhillon said. An option for creating a behind-the-firewall group within the general network also is set for the release.