And here’s my next review of a service called Skillpages which I joined some months ago and which is actually in the same or proximal space to ReferralKey.

About Skillpages

This start-up is based out of Dublin, Ireland and Boston, USA and aims at connecting people with skills with the people who need the same skills for a task or project.

Business concept

Allow people to leverage their networks to bring them closer to a deal by showcasing their skills in direct connection with an acquaintance’s profile.

The service

I can’t recall exactly how I ended up there and so am not sure how Skillpages is working the seeding of users and buzz stage but the social sign up for Facebook and LinkedIn on the front page along with PR is probably driving the bulk of it right now. The service itself is very slick and does much of what you expect it to. It’s also well laid-out and pleasing to the eye, most features appear to be placed logically with very little clutter in terms of communications or design. The similar users feature is rather good and seems to match based on location and skills. There’s a good feedback and idea generation loop on their co-create page which will build dialogue and the service. That’s a good signal of a company which will listen to its users and benefit from it. All in all, an excellent launch service.

What I would review or change

The opportunities feature seems like it could do with some retuning. I posted a Skillpage where I used keywords around online marketer and traffic but no opportunities appeared though by looking I could see there were some relevant ones for me. Also, see my comments below on Opportunities as crucial.

Rejig the communications around opportunities instead of viral signups as the first wave of users has been driven now.

It would be cool to be able to resync profile data from LinkedIn as otherwise I have to change my profile in two places if I change on LinkedIn.

The focus on networks and trusted networks seems a bit dated in my opinion. The users of a service like this already have the networks and they are in effect giving it to providers like Skillpages so they can add value. Where they can add value is in the opportunities, basically a kind of social marketplace.

In summary

A very strong first service with excellent user-friendly functionality. Certainly beats ReferralKey on some points and is ahead in terms of experience but like ReferralKey needs to deliver on the promise made to users.
The main thing I would focus on now is the opportunity flow. The first bulk of users is in and now value has to be created for them in order to make them stay, the primary method for this, considering the service, is driving opportunities which are relevant to the user base gathered.

Another observation is that because they are casting the net very wide and are trying to help networks of people uncover each other’s network of reliable helpers, they may run out of steam and not be able to offer enough value to many of those segments. It might be a good idea to do industry tranches of users and concentrate on jump-starting their use of the opportunities and then move on to other tranches as they get up and running. Another option here could be to focus on opportunities for webbies or one other early-adopter group and then figure out how to branch out into the next bunch of users.

There’s a strong team behind it that implies it should be able to build successfully on what it’s doing. I like it so far.

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