Tom Drugan, cofounder of naymz.com, submitted a comment on the post a few days ago that was eaten by the comment eater (dang that comment eater!). He rewrote it, and I wanted to share it with you here. From Tom Drugan:
The transparency, and lack-there-of, of the social web is growing in importance. More and more people are turning to Google and social networks to do background checks on others. Anybody can claim anything they want about themselves or others.
I can create a profile on LinkedIn (or Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and claim whatever I want about myself. I can say I have a PHD in molecular engineering from MIT, am the love child of Stephen Hawking, and batted .302 for the Cubs last year. Believe it or not, none of this is true. What we are trying to do at Naymz is create a layer of trust and validation to one’s online professional persona. We do this primarily through social authentication by those who know you in the real world. The more contacts you have who are willing to vouch for your reputation (through a short questionnaire and endorsements), the better your online rep becomes. We use public written endorsements and a scoring mechanism called RepScore for this. We also have an identity verification partner in Trufina that factors in to RepScore.
We equate RepScore to Google’s PageRank algorithm. Your score is not only determined by the amount of people vouching for your good name, but also the RepScores of those references. A reference with a RepScore of 10 holds much more weight then a reference with a RepScore of 2.
Although it’s a pretty minimal part of the overall scoring mechanism, we do give RepScore points for adding certain content to your profile and keeping it updated (per your second point above). We also give “perks” away to those members who achieve a RepScore of 9 or higher. More details of RepScore can be found here: http://www.naymz.com/about.action?section=repscore
We actually started out as a tool to help our members aggregate their online identities and then promote them, particularly in the search engines. We typically rank very high in Google’s natural results for our member’s names and have a premium service which will acquire sponsored results for one’s name on Google, Yahoo, and MSN, provide a customized domain name (i.e. http://jason.alba.name), provide detailed profile visitor reports, and some other bells and whistles.
Here is an overview of the features that makes us unique from LinkedIn… http://www.naymz.com/micro/compare
Just like most other social networking sites, including LinkedIn, we give our members the ability to invite contacts via email either through importing them or inviting them one at a time. Many people seem to forget this is exactly how Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn built their businesses. They have all been called “spammers”, particularly when they were new to the scene. It’s obvious some people are facing social network invitation overload, so backlash is to be expected for newbies on the “Soc Net” scene like us. Inviting contacts is completely optional and there are a lot of other benefits to Naymz that can be enjoyed with inviting others to join one’s network.
We are flattered to be compared to the likes of LinkedIn. To put things in context, we are a small team of three people with no VC/corporate backing attempting to make a unique and useful product. LinkedIn has 200+ employees and potentially over a $1 billion valuation behind them. We do realize that there are a lot of improvements to be made on Naymz if we ever plan on seriously competing with them on any level. The good news is we are growing quickly and have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. We do hope to convert the naysayers at some point.
Tom, thanks for the comment and thoughts – it’s good to see companies managing their brand online and participating in the conversation!