Forbes.com has joined the growing list of business magazine Web sites to launch a social network. But unlike BusinessWeek, which partnered in March with professional networking site LinkedIn, Forbes has deployed its own, “robust” infrastructure supported by networking technology from company Cisco for the launch of the AnswerNetwork.
“Forbes.com launched the AnswerNetwork to create a deeper relationship among users through an exclusive community, where Forbes.com users can share and gain information on a personal level and network with other users,” Mike Smith, Forbes.com’s senior vice president and general manager of operations, wrote to FOLIO: in an email.
AnswerNetwork is geared towards senior business decision-makers and allows them to share and obtain answers to questions through live peer-to-peer interaction. Users create anonymous profiles when they join the network and describe the categories of expertise for which they are willing to accept questions. Incoming questions are classified by category, experience, urgency, importance and language and are sent to members who are best qualified to respond. Users rate themselves and each other’s responses, both of which determine a user’s competence.
The network also offers live, real-time customer service through voice or video and “meet the experts” sessions where industry knowledge is shared through topical online discussions.