European business networking with OpenBC

Last week, a business friend introduced me to OpenBC, a sort of ‘European Linked In.’ From what I’ve seen of it so far, it looks like an excellent networking tool especially for European-based business people.

I’ve been a member of US-focused Linked In since mid year and I can see that OpenBC has many similarities to Linked In including the invitation process (with Outlook contact-gathering plug-in, just like Linked In’s), degrees of separation, etc.

There are quite significant differences between the two, though, many of which Linked In ought to be considering.

For instance, OpenBC offers two types of membership – free and paid for (see comparison outlines for the differences between the two). It offers a discussion forum on wide-ranging topics, with RSS feeds so you can keep up with what’s going on. There’s private messaging. There is an events calendar where you can see events of interest taking place that you could participate in. You can also set up your own events (virtual or real) and invite your contacts. And, you can access the service via your hand-held wireless PDA or mobile phone.

It’s an impressive and long list of resources and services.

The OpenBC service is available in eight languages (English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish and Finnish) with two more (Chinese and Russian) coming soon.

Based in Hamburg, Germany, OpenBC – or Open Business Club – has been going since October 2003. It currently has 117,000 members, according to data at Social Networking Sites and Software.

If you’re Europe-based – not exclusive: US and anywhere else as well, of course – and interested in forming a business connection via OpenBC, just drop me an email and let’s connect.