It looks like BT have decided to dip a toe in the business community social network / marketing / blog hosting filed, with the launch of their BT Tradespace service (which is currently free to join during the beta period) that according to BT “acts as a virtual high street where buyers and sellers can interact and people can rate and review each other … as a registered user of BT Tradespace you can interact direct with members, review or rate a Member or post a comment on a blog”.
And there is more:
“Our ambition is to put the power of online marketing and specifically Web 2.0 into the hands of small businesses to do what they do best – talk to their customers about their business and what interests and matters to them. SMEs do this successfully in the offline world every day … We also believe that customers should be able to choose potential suppliers through access to richer information from businesses and other customers than is currently available today from simple Internet searches, web sites or directory listings. That’s why we plan to create Tradespace Community Channels that will bring potential buyers and sellers together to do business”
A quick look at the T&C’s reveals that by signing up you give BT the right to “keep any personal data that you disclose for the purposes of general trend and market analysis”
It will be interesting to see what the take up with this is, but the idea is not a bad one, so it might just work. It will also be interesting to see if/when BT decides to charge for the service.