Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Bang is coming

As you know, we have a proof-of-concept site on that has been in beta for 3 months.  The feedback we have received during our pilot phase has been immensely valuable, and we've turned them into improvements to the site.   As a result, the level of engagement is far superior to what we see on the existing Spoke site.  By the metrics, the number of page views per visit is up by a factor 4, and visitors spend more than 5x the amount of time on the site.  Clearly, people like what they see when they visit.  

In fact, we feel we have made enough progress that we are ready to make the beta site the new public face for This doesn’t mean that the existing features you enjoy on the current site as member or anonymously are going to disappear but they will be accessible on a different site.  Stay tuned for the exact date for the transition as well as all the information you will need to navigate through this transition.
This release is major and has been in the works for the last year and a half. It originated as a request from a growing portion of our users who wanted to make simple edits to the site without registering. The first six months were all about design and planning, the following nine months were spent developing and the last three months testing as well as upgrading the site to make it ready.  Our goal was to make the site as easy as possible to update and we got it done. With, you can now update a page in a matter of seconds and create a complete company or a person page in a matter of minutes. 
As we continue to enhance the site, our focus is evolving, though our mission is still the same:  to publish information about industries, companies and people. We want Spoke to be recognized as the authoritative site for business information on the Internet, the place you come to first to find the information you need to conduct your business. The content is professional and business focused, organized so that you can consume it easily.  

The major change is that we now want also to be a medium for the best voices the Industry and let them publish and moderate the business information available on the site for their respective industries. On our site, our community is publishing information about other people, companies and as the standard for blogging and journalism evolves over time, we expect our community to abide by them and provide only business facts and not disparaging comments or any speculations. We have put a moderation system in place to guarantee that this is not happening but we will also rely on our community to self discipline itself in a transparent way.

This is a very different business model than a traditional social networking model where people are in control of their information. In the past, people may have been unhappy about the information they found about themselves on Spoke and found it very difficult to correct it. We now  allow them to correct it quickly or remove it altogether in the case of a person profile.  

Overall, we feel that we’ve struck the right balance between content contributors (i.e., the community) and the subjects of the profiles (i.e., people and companies). Of course, we expect a healthy conversation and we plan to adjust based on your feedbacks as content producer and profile subjects.

Our beta is already available so if you have not seen it yet, just go and play with the site so that you get familiarized and update or add any information you feel is needed on any profiles. 

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