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Ryze Member Conversion Rates

I'm faced with a negativism post when I prefer optimism. Through my page on Ryze I have made new friends and interesting connections. The potential has kept me intrigued while familiarity makes me increasingly frustrated.

When Ryze first welcomed me I thought this is really cool. People began signing my guestbook within minutes. I realized that some breakthroughs had been made. I extended a number of invites to select friends. I captured this in earlier posts Ė examples - Rethinking Corporate Directories, and Ryze Personal Networks. and Human Profiles Ryze Up I also kicked off some research efforts with a post ďPlay with RyzeĒ in the Serious Play network (you may have to be a member). A volunteer effort was begun. Disclaimer! This is not a report on the groups findings. I know they will be posted to the network as they should be.

I'm not waiting for all the research to come in. Iím drawing conclusions everyday. So blogging is another way to continue conversation. Recent notes, exchanges and findings make me fearful for how Ryze may develop.

Discouragingly (for me), Ryze has an enormous failure rate. Failure on invite conversion. Failure to create productive networkers. Failure to answer the big "What's really in this for me?" and failure to create the "trust" and verification required to know the system wonít be abused. The security, spam , privacy etc concerns that prevail round any online profile remain huge. There are also other lower level functionality issues from private spaces to address book integration required.

Similarly it fails to make use of it's advocates whether by support groups or in securing conversations. Iíve seen too many posting like this one exploring concepts off Ryze. Here are links round friends. The leakage rather than capture of this Intellectual Capital and knowledge sharing is reflective of not engaging the community in a way that accelerates growth. It's also missing many business development revenue opportunities. From "Gold" gift certificates to corporate trials / tests. The corresponding lack of funding and growth in deeply committed Ryzers is currently going nowhere fast. I'm sure there are real stats. I've had to guess back of the envelope style. The result --- the incentive to create additional plug-in functionalities for the HTML space for example clearly isn't there. Think eBay early daysÖ then think things like Paypal, auctionwatch etc. There is even an opportunity for verification.

How can I share my concerns with you? Consider the following comments Iíve paraphrased. Not a sample, but each rings some truth to me. First from a very aware non-participant who I invited with a great reason is typical

ďWhat does it do for you? I don't want to be inundated with white noise of information. I'm also very conservative about giving out personal info, so logging on and describing where I worked went to school and my hobbies seems like a telemarketer's heaven.Ē

Another ďwatchfulĒ insecure with little online experience.

Iím not very Internet literate, and am a little scared here. Was intimidating to put all these details on line. So I left at first. Later, I joined a network and made a posting Ė not much response. Iím not sure who to add as a friend, or when to do it. So Iím not doing it and Iím not inviting anyone as a result. Maybe in a while.

Compares with the highly positive new world of opportunity from a gold member.

" Ryze has opened up a new world to me and is building global connections. Itís been warm, caring and welcoming. Iím building confidence in myself to interact globally, something I couldnít have done without it. Iíve found the more you share the better it is.

Itís these types of views and comments that really matter. It makes no difference how I alone feel. At both ends of the spectrum there are huge opportunities. lAs an update, Iíve invited at least 60 MENG members (Building Personal Networks) These are top tier unemployed marketers. I think one of them joined. I find it hard to believe. Then there are other debates. Should Ryze be open source? I wish it was. Hey if it was Visa like at least if I didnít like the privacy policy I could hold my account elsewhere and still connect! One thing is clear, no one really knows who the backers are. Is Adrian Scott really just one person? I feel for him and the pressure can only get worse. I'm sure resources limit much, still eBay got over this hurdle quickly. Can't be long before new iterations emerge. Where are they?

Letís also hope they donít tie RYZE to some profiling and research system. Iíll stick with what I see here soft human profiles emerging. Let the community determine a method for access. Eg a plug-in digital post payment box. In the meantime make it a lot easier and more secure. Use the community more. There are ways to further nurture the experience and lower the fear thresholds.

I know consumer stories tell the way forward. Even making just a few more visible to the outside world will reduce some of the participatory fears.

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