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BusinessWeek’s Wikipedia of sorts – Business Exchange

August 19, 2008

BusinessWeek will soon enter the “reader generated interactive participatory” content game. The New York Times covered BW’s “Business Exchange” plans in a Sunday piece.

The “hyper local” strategy with BusinessWeek Chicago failed after publishing just eight issues so why not try the Web 2.0/Wiki route?

I must admit, I have not experimented with the Exchange yet (I registered for the trial but no word yet). That said, I’m skeptical. Is this just a ploy to battle Wikipedia in search ranking and woo more advertisers?

Do I fault a publication for trying? Absolutely not.

According to the NYT article, the Exchange has been two years in the making. Despite the long development time, I expect it to take even longer to attract engaged readers. As with many of these online social media communities, a huge amount of initial buzz lead to record numbers of registrants who become board which inevitably lead to only a select “few” of power users who actually contribute regularly and further the community. Please prove me wrong.

One bit of advice (not that Stephen J. Adler gives a crap): ensure the links and information featured in the topics pages come from more than simply BW content and partners. That may work for your recently launched Hoover’s-like Company Insight Center, but not for the Exchange.

**UPDATE: I received the invite on August 20. Poked around a bit. Will post my early thoughts in the next couple of days.

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