I've seen it all now. Telco monster BT is going all Web 2.0. No, really, don't laugh, you'll probably see the Gordon Ramsay ads on TV next week. Yes, old Beattie has discovered the power of blogs and social networks, launching a new platform for small businesses to differentiate and market themselves through, as well as interact with each other and their customers. Tradespace looks pretty good actually, and they haven't thrown everything but the kitchen sink at it as some firms have been inclined to do when they jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon.
There's a peer-review system a bit like Amazon's but for businesses, blogging and podcast capabilities and a Digg-like thumbs-up tag. Alright, shamelessly plagiarised, but if it ain't broke…It also works for small businesses this kind of thing, because the industry is that much more fluid and firms less guarded about interacting with their potential rivals. Can't imagine it working with the big boys.
Built on Tradespace is also BT Applications Marketplace, a platform for ISVs to market and publish their software. The old dinosaur is finally getting into the on-demand model too; all the software on the site is delivered as a service. If they can match up buyers and sellers effectively, there's a big untapped market there – you can be sure that BT isn't getting into this out of sheer philanthropy. Well, that is all very interesting, but the only reason I really went to the launch of all this exciting stuff was to meet Sarah Beeny – she's got a great personality, apparently.