With yesterday’s news that UK small businesses are taking up blogging to promote themselves and interact with customers, British Telecom are jumping on the bandwagon with the launch of their Tradespace service.
Hoping to appeal to 90% of UK businesses with less than 50 employees, the service offers unlimited blogging, two podcasts, five photos, and a single community hub. There’s also a paid option which, for £15 (about US$30) per month, offers more features including Click to Call and SMS capabilities. As this is a new service, other details are a bit sparse at present.
BT appear to be trying to get into the whole blogging and social networking game, promising that companies who sign up will be able to participate in a virtual marketplace where customers can rate them on how good their service is.
BT also promise to add more exciting features over the coming months, though it’s hard to tell if this is just marketing hype or if there really are some exciting developments in the pipeline.
At the moment, the service sounds as if it has potential, but I can’t help wondering if businesses with even a little technical knowhow might be better setting up their own systems.
It’s not rocket science to set up a blog on an existing corporate web site, and to find out how to start getting involved in social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (Top Shop managed it).
The marketplace might be beneficial, but it’ll depend on how many companies and customers use the system – which ultimately will come down to BT’s marketing efforts. An alternative DIY approach would be to ensure that blog comments are left on, and interacted with by staff, and possibly adding a forum to the company’s web site.
It’s encouraging that big UK business names are promoting the virtues of blogging and Web 2.0 in the UK, but I’m not sure their actual offerings are all that special yet.