OPW INTERVIEW -- Apr 7 -- Social networks give browsers an idea of a persons reputation through testimonials and the people they are linked with. Truedater.com reports on daters. Dating sites have considered integrating reputation management tools, but how to? Ziki is one of my favorite reputation management services and might serve as inspiration. I interviewed the SVP Business Development Andre Taliercio. - Mark Brooks
How and why was Ziki started?
Ziki was started by Patrick Chassany in New York. Patrick started a domain buying company in the late 90’s and he realized that buying people’s names and registering them to protect them was the next step. So in 2000 he decided to start a business with this concept. This was how Ziki was formed. Then I joined the company in September 2006 and we decided to add the promotion aspect. Why? Because we believe the name and identity control is a strong concept, combined with self promotion, it brings a unique feature in social networking and it address a need for millions of people.
How does the service work? How does a user use Ziki at its best?
The best use of Ziki is for users who produce content because Ziki allows them to really aggregate all they have in one place and be visible on major search engines and the Ziki community. Sign up, put a picture and some personal information in and then all the other profiles and blogs that they have will show immediately on their home page. Ziki will allow them to be in control of everything.
How do you compare with Claim ID?
Claim ID is really restricted to the control of identity. In our case not only is all the content you produce in one place, our objective is to really make this content visible and promote it. I believe Claim ID doesn’t do that. I don’t think they want to do that.
You’re allowing people to pay on a PPC basis to bubble up their name in search results, but why would somebody want to do that?
We pay for it. Right now we sponsor our members first and last name. Then their name will show like a paid ad on Google, Yahoo and MSN. We’re paying for it. We’re doing it to show how visible Ziki members can be. So that’s why it’s free. Some people would not pay for it because maybe they don’t feel the need or understand how it works. But if people just try it they will see. It only takes one hour to do the program. You sign up and someone just turns the switch on and you will see your name as an ad, a paid ad.
How are you making money?
We’re not, yet. We just started this in September and we’re introducing the interface allowing users to choose their own keywords. They can manage their own advertising campaigns. We make money by optimizing the campaigns on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Because of the optimization we can make money from it. Of course, it makes sense if we can multiply this two cents by many, many users. This none on our business models…
Are you reaching out for any particular partners?
So far we are trying to get as many members as we can to add interesting profiles, meaning, people with content. One day we would like to develop strong intra-communities, with some leaders who will generate content on specific topics. This the beauty of Ziki: it benefits you outside and inside the community.
What are your goals for 2007?
To increase the active membership base and the number of paying customers. That’s what we want to do. We want to be visible but we don’t want to grow too fast. We want to really listen to the members and see how they feel we should evolve.
Now by the end of 2007, let’s say the community grows nicely, the number of members has increased, then we can identify common areas in this community. What we strive to do one day is, for example, to create Ziki.jobs, and Ziki.tech, and many types of sub community. Instead of growing outside with no control, we’re trying to grow inside with quality profiles and have sub communities. Why is this important? By doing this, we create the identify of the community, it’s culture. One of the objectives for us is to create a culture within Ziki.