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March 09, 2009


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Kate Phillips

Thanks Robert, for giving this revolutionary networking organization a plug.

No, I'm not a Biznik owner or staffer, just a coach, author-speaker and musician who joined Biznik last August. I live east of Seattle and am fortunate to be near a lot of the "action" as there are MANY local events out here.

In my opinion, it's a revolutionary model that offers more than anything else out there. I agree, social media can be time-consuming and in many cases is better used to keep in touch with old friends than build a business. But it's the combination of face-to-face events with online networking that makes Biznik truly unique. I jut went checked the ecademy site, and they have fewer events in the entire United states this month than we do in Seattle in Biznik this week alone.

It's also very different from Facebook or Linked In in that it's "open" networking - i.e., I don't have to be introduced to someone else through a common contact to send them a message.

But nevermind the comparisons. Let me simply share my experience of the last 8 months.

I've met a couple hundred people (in person and online) and maybe another 100 online (only) that I've had discussions with (not just received a random "friend" request from).

I've learned more from Biznik events, articles and colleagues than from any other source this year. (At almost no cost, amazingly enough!)

I've given and received referrals.

I've gone to dozens of events, networking and learning at my own convenience (not at 7am!)

I've hosted or co-hosted 13 events, building my visibility, credibility, and mailing list (of those who opted to sign up).

I've had paying clients hire me who only knew of me through Biznik.

I've bought products or services from other people I met through Biznik.

I've written articles that have been viewed a cumulative total of 7,000 times and have driven hundreds of hits to my website!

I've raised my visibility and ranking on Google, and my articles as well as my events and profile can be found via internet searches.

Best of all, I have found amazing support and friendships through Biznik! I've connected and reconnected with fantastic colleagues and mentors like Robert. You mentioned Suzi Elton, who is fabulous! We met 2 months ago at an event and became instant friends.

And just as an added bonus, I have never been "prospected" by an MLM distributor! (I belong to other networking organizations that ask their networkers not to propect, but that request is not always honored, and lucky me, I have paid to attend business lunches with pushy MLMers sitting next to me. I've done MLM myself and I know all are not like that, but I personally like the fact that Biznik's target audience is independent business people, not distributors or recruiters for large companies.)

That's my 2 cents. But don't take my word for it, come play with us!

Kate Phillips

Dan McComb

@ KimmoL - thanks for sharing your observations on the Biznik TOS. We had a conversation with our attorney today, and he agreed that it's time for us to update then. Our goal is not to take ownership of your content, and I can see how our TOS can leave you the wrong impression. Thanks for the valuable feedback. We'll make it better.

@ Carol - we discovered in the early days of Biznik that many MLMs practice particularly aggressive forms of sales tactics that left many members feeling uncomfortable and questioning their involvement with the community. Also from the beginning, we've taken the approach that Biznik is not a community for selling - it's a community for building social capitol and growing relationships. I wish I could say that most MLMs took that view, but that hasn't been our experience, as as a result we've chosen to bar them from membership rather than attempt to police it on a case-by-case basis. We're not the only large professional network to do this - has the same policy.

Dan McComb
Biznik cofounder

Bea Tsola

Thanks Robert. I'm a keen reader of your articles and have been able to implement some of the strategies with great success. My question will probably be going back to basics but i think i really miss the point with all these social media networks from my experience. Are they all about profile building or is there possibility of building really solid business relationships? Robert what's been your experience, do they really work? If they're about building profile then i would agree, business relationships???

Christian Jacobsen

Thank you for providing your perspective into Biznik... I'm not sure I could have done it better myself!

I just wanted to address two things you mentioned in your "what could be better" section:

1. A "Notify" feature.
Any time you post a comment in the Biz Talk forums or Comment on an Event or Article, you can check the box marked "Check to receive an email when someone posts a reply", and it will do just that.

This does half of what you wanted. The other half is partially covered with our weekly Stats email, which shows some of the activity that has occurred over the last week within your Biznik network of contacts.

There is obviously more that can be done here, and we have plans to improve the ways in which you can discover of good and relevant data on Biznik...

2. Controlling Notifications.
That information - new Articles, or new Events in your area - is visible on the web site by just clicking on the relevant section (Articles tab or Events tab), so you can "pull" the info, but we do not (yet) "push" it to you.

We also use this nomenclature somewhere else in the site, so I want to avoid potential confusion. In your profile, under the Account tab, there are the "Privacy Settings" where you can tell Biznik what to notify you about, and what not to notify you about. This can help reduce your email load, or keep you more in tune with what is happening at Biznik, depending on the settings.

And in a final note, I just wanted to touch on Carol's comments about MLMs. Yes, our approach is a bit heavy handed right now, but that is because we are small and have had to spend an inordinate amount of time policing unscrupulous MLMers in the past.

This has forced us to paint with a rather broad brush, and I have no doubt some people with good intentions get caught by our policy.

However, we do find that most MLMers have more than one business. We do not bar you as a person from Biznik, only from promoting your MLM business. If you are also a house cleaner, graphic designer, or other type of business owner, you are welcome to promote that business on your Biznik profile. We just ask you to please not promote your MLM within our network.

Thank you to everyone that has commented! We love the feedback!

- Christian Jacobsen
Community Energizer

Robert Middleton

Thanks for your comments on Biznik.

I have no problem with the Terms of Service. What if at some point Biznik decided to include your article in a book or other publication? Well, they would give you attribution as they acknowledge you own it. This is really a non-issue. When we make business decisions based solely on legaleese, we are sunk.

As to Biznik being just another online networking service, well, the key to the success is the offline or event component. I tend to agree that completely online networking has its limitations because it doesn't build "real" relationships. It's when you connect by phone and in person that things really start to happen.

This is why my marketing strategy has always included speaking and teleclasses where I can make a different connection than just by email.

And as to MLM. Is it fair to say that Biznik is "so close-minded" when they don't accept MLM businesses? It would be great if all MLM businesses acted as you say, but that is not the case and many people tend to abuse MLM online.

Cheers, Robert

Chrystal is one of my favorite Business Networking sites because it is exactly as Robert described it- FOCUSED business networking without all the JUNK and all of the MLM's.

The $24 I spend every month for their SEO optimized membership is the best $24 I spend every month. The site is so highly - the results I get from the PROMOTION section pays for that in two days normally.

I love that there are no GOOD KARMA requests and no cyber cocktails passed around, too.

I started doing a monthly Biznik speed networking meeting and they have been very well attended, too. Speed Networking that doesn't suck. I am also very excited about's new GROUPS, too.

Dan and team have created an invaluable resource and we are having another Biznik speed networking event and Facebook keynote speaker on March 23rd.

I highly recommend for all indendent business owners and entrepenurs.

Carol A. Briney

It saddens me to see that BizNik is so closed mined to not allow MLM or Network Marketers in their organization. Yes, I too used to be a Networking Marketing snob.
However, I allowed myself to be educated and learned that there is truly a wonderfully, professional side of this industry. I have also learned that most people fail at the industry because they use their emotions instead of business criteria to pick a company.

It is too bad that BIZNIK is so close-minded. I have met some of the most ethical, kind, driven, prosperous people I know through the company I am with. I urge everyone out there to keep an open mind, when properly educated you just might surprise yourself!

It is a shame to be so opinionated that you miss out on an entire industry of potentially awesome people.

Thanks for all you do Robert, You are appreciated.


I took a peek into what Biznik offers and before signing up, looked at their TOS. Frankly, they caused me to decide not to sign up.

Doesn't this remind you of what caused the big hassle with Google some time ago (sorry about the lengthy quote). Especially read the highlighted "However" section in point 6.1 and the opening sentence of point 6.2.

"6. License To User Content

6.1 Biznik’s Rights to Content. Biznik does not claim ownership of User Content. *However*, with respect to User Content that you elect to post or transmit for inclusion in or on the Site or that you otherwise submit to us (excluding any work commissioned and paid for by Biznik under a separate agreement), you grant Biznik, its affiliates and partners, a perpetual, world- wide, royalty free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable license as follows: to use, reproduce, translate, alter, perform, display, modify, adapt, and publish such User Content, in whole or in part, in all present and future media and in any manner relating to the Site (including without limitation in connection with the appearance of such User Content on Biznik and on the sites of our affiliates, partners and others with whom Biznik may have business relationships relating to the Site) and the distribution and promotion of the Site. You further agree that Biznik is free to use any ideas, know-how, concepts, techniques or other materials you send us for any purpose.

6.2 Biznik’s Obligations to Content. We have no obligation to maintain or store your content. Biznik may, at any time in its sole discretion, delete, modify or prevent from displaying to any other users, any User Content, for any reason, including, but not limited to, service cancellation, violation of the Service Agreement, violation of the Code of Conduct or inconsistent with the Manifesto. Once deleted, any content you have stored on the service cannot be retrieved."

Anuschka, Moustique Design

Hmm - isn't this just like Ecademy? ( Maybe this is more a European thing and therefore unknown to you but it has been around as long as my business (6 years).
It doesn't sound new to me and frankly, being a member of all these thousands of e-networking organisations hasn't made me build many deep working relationships. So I shall just shout "another one" and run, for the time being. :)

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