Why Do Business Social Networking Sites Suck So Bad?

@Kevin | Social

(This applies to pretty much every site except for LinkedIn.)

In the last few months I have spent a lot of time reviewing, cataloging, and participating on various social networking sites. I can honestly say the one niche that has across the board some of the worst sites is business. Either they are all copying each other but with lower quality than the leaders in this space or make absolutely no sense from a design, interface, or business perspective. Away from the poor design or illogical navigation here are the main points that really drive me nuts about this niche.

-I get solicited within seconds of joining- This is one of the prevalent features of any business social networking site based outside the United States. As soon as you join in the vultures come and you get a ton of requests within the first few hours. Of course these people have businesses that aren’t even tangentially related to anything you do. If I owned an ice cream stand and joined one of these networks a Serbian asbestos remover would immediately solicit me.

 

There is a fine line between networking with the goal of expanding your horizons and spamming the crap out of someone.

-Every group is overrun with self-promotional garbage- You run into this a bit on LinkedIn if the group moderator doesn’t pay attention. The self-promotional issues on these other sites though are through the roof. Nine times out of ten they are MLM marketers or someone pushing an e-book I don’t remotely care about.

I know this is off subject but why does every e-book page look the same? Horrible caps, really poor looking endorsements, and the worst color selection known to man… how will any of this convince me to sign up and give you my information if you can’t design a webpage that doesn’t look like it is from 1993?

-Rethink the idea of charging me at every turn- I realize that business; specifically sales people are going to pay for a business social network. This is one of the few niches where you can logically have a business model where you can charge new users. However when a blog I just started a few months ago has a higher Alexa ranking you may want to reconsider asking me to pay $49.99 for a year’s subscription every time I try and do anything on your site.

-Random feature that shouldn’t be on a business social networking site- I don’t want to share music with other CEOs, I don’t care what my horoscope is, and nor do I want to see funny videos. Some business social networking sites have features that logically make no sense in this niche. Don’t try to be everything when you aren’t anything. Make features that set you apart from competitors not copy sites like MySpace. Give me a repository of convention presentations or something informative.

Enough venting, I just don’t understand why the one niche that should be a slam dunk is done so poorly overall?

Why do you think that is?

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