GOT THAT OLD MOLI WORKING

Moli.com is a free business networking site created by the founders of Etrade, the online discount stockbroker. It went live this past January and already has 237,000 members.
Before everyone groans and says “Oh no, not another networking site,” we have to point out that this one has differences. Perhaps the major difference is the ease with which network members can create several pages and makeMoli them either public or private. For example, a business might create one page with information for suppliers, another for customers and still another just for important customers. Of course the pages can have video clips, photos and be open for online chats.

What is true for a business is true for individuals. A person can have pages just for old-school alumni, fraternities, civic groups, and of course, family. Links to these pages need not show up on the site member’s profile if they prefer it that way. The goal is to manage both business and personal contacts on the same networking site.

Networking sites are the new gold strikes, and both people and money are flocking to stake claims. Someone with a good idea and a powerful server with lots of storage can change an investment of a few thousand dollars into a product worth billions. Microsoft recently spent $240 million for a 1.6 percent investment in Facebook.com, which placed a nominal value of about $15 billion for the whole networking site. That would make Facebook worth considerably more than General Motors.

There is no limit to how many pages you can have on Moli.com and you can add each one just by filling out a short form. More features are being added each month. New in May is a “Small Business Center,” where retired executives offer free advice in the “Ask an expert” forum. The center also offers franchise information, sample business plans, how-to guides and courses. You can visit the Small Business Center without having to sign up as a member of the network.

The site is free, as we said, but there’s a charge of $4 a month if you want to have a store and $2.49 a month if you want your site to be free of ads.

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