About 4 months ago, in search of new ways to promote and develop my business, I decided to test the effectiveness of online Business Networking (since I live so far away from my target audience, offline Networking didn’t make sense to me). My boss advised me to start at Ecademy.com, a medium-sized international Networking site with UK roots.
When I first joined Ecademy, I couldn’t help feeling some scepticism. Guess it’s common for people to feel scepticism and apprehension when we get into something new for the first time. Also, knowing how SEO spammers tend to abuse everything on the Net that can be used for promotion, including Social Bookmarking and Social Networking sites, I expected Ecademy to be equally abused.
I started my way through Ecademy feeling shy and uncertain. It took me several days to get acquainted with the interface of the site, and a lot more to grasp the concept of Networking. Other people were running clubs; in those days I thought I would never run one, but joined a few clubs quickly, including a few related to SEO and Internet Marketing. Ecademy clubs are very similar to ordinary forums, so I felt more or less at home there. Soon, I started feeling more confidence about my Ecademy activities and posted a few blogs. To my surprise, they attracted a lot of attention, and my SEO articles republished at Ecademy soon brought me a few requests for quotation, and then a real client.
When I’m online (which is my most natural condition) I’m always hungry for making new friends. At Ecademy, this hunger was very easy to satisfy. In most cases, I didn’t have to initiate the first contact: other Ecademists were sending me messages now and again. Especially when I just joined, I was literally overwhelmed with the number of “welcome to Ecademy” messages, and many of them were offering me help in getting to know how it works. I readily replied to those that looked personalized but soon learned to detect and ignore ”Copy and Paste” type stuff and blatant unsolicited marketing pitch. Some contacts soon turned into enriching and fruitful relationships. It wasn’t hard: all it takes to make friends at Ecademy is to be nice to people. I happily shared my SEO knowledge with everyone who asked (the habit acquired at IHelpYou forums and in other SEO places), and soon became a favorite of many.
I’m pleased to say that Ecademy is not abused by spammers, though huge authority of the domain makes it a delicious meal for everyone PR-obsessed, link-greedy and ranking-hungry. Links from Ecademy pass enormous authority to all websites and quickly boost the rankings, and many Ecademists get tempted to abuse Ecademy blogs and Marketplace for SEO purposes, but the Best Practices Team keeps watching the site day and night and ruthlessly pulling everything that doesn’t offer real value to the Ecademy community and guest readers.
Before long, I found myself truly obsessed with Ecademy. To this day, I run three Ecademy clubs (two of them as a co-leader, and the third as the first and only leader). I would love to think this number won’t grow much, but how can I be sure? Ecademy principles, Best Practices and the concept of “Emotional Wealth” preached by the owners and the team running the Network, found good response in my heart. I need to explain what Emotional Wealth means: in short, it’s the principle of winning by sharing (in the sense of karma) and putting people first and business second. The more you give, the more friends you make; friends make you wealthier emotionally, and then they open the doors for you to find new opportunities, including business opportunities, if it’s important for you. Some Ecademists are not into business at all; they stay in the Network for the pleasure of Networking as such. They love it, and they are loved.
I no longer care how many clients I can pick up at Ecademy. I can’t imagine abusing this wonderful site for rankings or links. We don’t abuse what we love, and I love Ecademy.
Several days ago I also joined the Open BC Network. Someone save me please! Mayday, mayday, mayday….