Larry BraunerI’m not at all thinking about quitting Twitter or stopping to recommend it. Twitter is a valuable social media tool that I wouldn’t want to be without.

There are, however, many reasons I prefer Facebook over Twitter, and have switched my primary social media site from Twitter to Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

Here are 16 reasons I like Facebook more than I like Twitter:

  1. Easier for Group Discussion - Facebook discussions and neatly threaded and hashtags are unnecessary.
  2. Rich Functionality - Facebook supports applications, events and instant messaging. Facebook also enables photo, video, link, page and event sharing.
  3. More Powerful Lists - Create as many Facebook lists as you like and use them to manage both communication and privacy.
  4. Better Private Messaging - No automated direct messaging on Facebook. Therefore, your private messages and updates are more manageable.
  5. Less Spam Abuse - Facebook fights spam more effectively than Twitter.
  6. News Feed Optimized for Relevance - Facebook uses edgerank to prioritize our Top News feeds. Optionally, we can choose to view Twitter-like Most Recent News, as well.
  7. True Networking Site - We can create deep online connections with our friends, and we also discover friends-of-friends. Facebook messaging  is a good alternative to email, too.
  8. Website Traffic - In 2009 when I focused on Twitter, I  received 7,834 visits from Twitter with average time on site of 2:10 minutes. Not bad. However, in 2010 when I turned my focus to Facebook, I received 5,134 visits with average time on site of 3:07 minutes and a larger number of blog comments. Facebook visitors tend to engage more than do Twitter visitors. That’s better website traffic.
  9. Less Incentivization - Twitter has become very much about follower counts. People typically follow with the expectation of being followed back and unfollow if that doesn’t happen. Fans and friends on Facebook are much more authentic.
  10. Real People - Facebook is mostly used by real people, while Twitter is mostly operated by robotic software called bots.
  11. No 140 Limit - Facebook allows more than 140 characters per status update,  more than a 160 per bio, and more than one website link per account.
  12. Much Greater Membership - I’m more able to find the people with whom I want to connect on Facebook than on Twitter.
  13. Members Visit More Often - Facebook members are said to log into Facebook more often than Twitter members into Twitter.
  14. Easily Manage Multiple Business Accounts - I can manage multiple Facebook business pages without logging out and back in, and without using third-party desktop clients.
  15. Business Pages are Mini-Websites - Facebook business pages are mini-websites with a landing page and additional pages.
  16. Off-site Integration - Like buttons and like boxes extend the reach of Facebook to blogs and other websites outside the Facebook domain.

FacebookI could list many ways in which I find Twitter more useful than Facebook, but I’ll save that comparison for a different occasion.

Please take a second or two to “like” my Facebook page, and a few more to leave a a brief comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerSocial networking sites have each a unique protocol and don’t usually provide members with practical how-to advice to help use their sites effectively. They let us figure out the how-tos on our own.

I share in this article my basic LinkedIn how-tos that may shorten your learning curve and save you time and frustration. They are merely suggestions, not rigid guidelines. If you have an idea or advice you find helpful, please share it with us in a comment.

LinkedInHere are ten tips for maximizing your LinkedIn social networking success:

  1. Your LinkedIn profile is your resume. Put at least as much effort into creating and perfecting your profile as you would your resume.
  2. SEO can help you to be findable on LinkedIn, as well as other social networking sites. Employ keywords that are relevant to your work when crafting your profile, so that you and your profile can appear in search results.
  3. LinkedIn permits members to view profiles of other members within three degrees of separation from each other or who share common LinkedIn groups. Increasing your visibility increases your reach.
  4. To increase your vertical reach (in your areas of interest), join every relevant LinkedIn group. To increase your horizontal (i.e. overall) reach, increase your number of LinkedIn connections. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn!
  5. To increase your number of connections, connect directly to as many other members as you can, especially well connected members. You can send direct connections messages or emails whenever you wish.
  6. Don’t invite people to connect haphazardly, as LinkedIn will restrict you if people you invite complain that they don’t know you (as they sometimes do). Instead, join LinkedIn open networker groups, such as Top Linked, for people who welcome (but don’t necessarily accept) all connection requests. Reach out to fellow group members, and be receptive to members who reach out to you.
  7. Join discussions in groups by posting or commenting when you have something valuable to add, but don’t spam the discussion board or post anything inappropriate.
  8. Tell new connections you’re on Facebook (if you are) when thanking them for connecting. Facebook has made it hard to add friends, so this tactic is useful. (See 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.)
  9. Provide your Twitter handle (if you have one) where requested by LinkedIn to appear in your LinkedIn profile.
  10. Keep at it. It takes a very substantial amount of time to build a strong presence on LinkedIn or any of the other social networking sites.

Happy linking!

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Larry BraunerTwitter and LinkedIn partnered last fall enabling you to automatically tweet your LinkedIn status and to post your Twitter tweets on LinkedIn.

However, I envisioned a much more significant integration of the two social media sites than merely enabling users to cross-post with ease.

I predicted in Top 10 Reasons Why the Twitter LinkedIn Partnership is Big News that the integration of Twitter and LinkedIn would reduce an enormous amount of content by functioning more or less like a Twitter list containing members of your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn Signal Beta

With the recent release of LinkedIn Signal Beta, unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt, a fuller integration of Twitter and LinkedIn is already at hand.

LinkedIn users will be able to search Twitter using keywords and filter the results by degree of connection, industry, company, time posted, region, school and hashtags.

To increase its integration with Twitter, LinkedIn needed the Twitter handles of its users, in order to identify relevant tweets within Twitter’s database. LinkedIn obtained the needed Twitter handles by encouraging users to avail themselves of the initial integration and by letting them display a Twitter link on their LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Signal New Twitter Search Engine for Business


Uses for LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal will make LinkedIn the Twitter search engine of choice for business users. At the same time, LinkedIn Signal becomes a powerful online networking tool. You’ll easily see what your connections are tweeting, and you’ll more readily find new people with whom to connect.

LinkedIn is already the business networking site of business networking sites. Now, as a powerful Twitter search engine for business too, LinkedIn is the go-to social website for all hoping to transact business on the web. You’re welcome to connect with me there: www.LinkedIn.com/in/brauner

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Larry BraunerI’m writing about social bookmarking sites because of comments on my Facebook page indicating that people could still be unfamiliar with social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking sites are meta resources that help us to catalog and organize the vast amount of resources that can be found on the web from web pages to pictures to videos and more.

Social Bookmarking Sites Defined

My broad definition of social bookmarking sites is this:

Social bookmarking sites are websites that people use to save, categorize, share and search bookmarks, i.e., links and descriptive data, that refer to resources, such as web pages and other types of web media.

It’s important to note that the resources themselves aren’t being shared on social bookmarking sites, but rather bookmarks referring to the resources. Bookmarks themselves are the content on social bookmarking sites.

My definition of social bookmarking sites includes not only sites explicitly created for bookmark sharing, but multipurpose social networking sites, as well.

Reasons for Social Bookmarking Sites

There are a variety reasons for employing social bookmarking sites, such as saving links, sharing links with others, conducting research and generating traffic.

When generating traffic, it’s essential to share one’s own links sparingly, in order to appear neither as a social bookmarking abuser nor as a spammer.

Popular Social Bookmarking Sites

Social Bookmarking SitesI suggest to you a recent list of popular social bookmarking sites to check out. Let me append Facebook and LinkedIn to that list, which already includes Twitter, since Facebook-page and LinkedIn updates are much like Twitter tweets in that you can explain your links, and your bookmarks are indexed by and available through search engines.

Neither Twitter, Facebook nor LinkedIn are pure social bookmarking sites, as they weren’t created explicitly for social bookmarking.

While Twitter does enable some categorization using hashtags, Facebook and LinkedIn do not, which may have been the reason for excluding them from the eBizMBA list of social bookmarking sites cited.

I personally use a number of the social bookmarking sites in the eBizMBA list including Digg, but I especially like StumbleUpon and plan to use it more and more over time.

My favorite social bookmarking sites that don’t yet receive sufficient traffic to qualify for the eBizMBA list are Business Exchange and Amplify.

Exploring Social Bookmarking Sites

Preferences for social bookmarking sites are different for each individual and project. If you’re new to social bookmarking, explore, experiment and discover the social bookmarking sites that fit your objectives and style.

Karin Boode has started a social bookmarking group on the Small Business Networking site to help us learn from and share our findings with each other. You’re invited to join.

Let’s hear about your experiences with social bookmarking and social bookmarking sites.

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Larry BraunerThis is a quick heads up about a content sharing error that’s easy to avoid.

When you share content on Facebook, LinkedIn or Digg, the site looks for thumbnail pictures it can show with your link and suggests one to you.

I’ve noticed people accepting whatever thumbnail Facebook, LinkedIn or Digg suggests. This isn’t a good practice, because that thumbnail may be irrelevant or even worse, an ad picked up from the linked page.

It’s important to show a thumbnail picture that’s relevant and if possible, one that can pique people’s interest. Therefore, you should go through all thumbnail choices to find the best one. If none are suitable, choose not to display a thumbnail at all. Having no thumbnail picture is much better than having an unsuitable one.

FacebookOn Facebook, you should also write a sentence or short paragraph to introduce the content and consider tagging the author if you follow that person or it’s a friend.

Packaging content and retweets is also a good practice on Twitter, even though Twitter doesn’t use thumbnails in the same way as Facebook, LinkedIn and Digg.

How you package content can be just as important as the content itself.

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Larry BraunerI launched @WelkinCapital and a Facebook page for Welkin Capital Group, a top broker of residential and commercial mortgage loans, located in New York City.

The process is still fresh in my mind, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share a bit of my thinking about the Twitter part of it with you. I prefer to leave Facebook for another time, as I haven’t discussed Twitter with you in quite a while.

Twitter Lists
Here then are ten Twitter social media marketing ideas for you to consider when you set up a new Twitter business account:

  1. Write Your Twitter Business Bio - Write a bio that is pleasant and easy to read. Use your principal keyword phrases so people searching for them can find your Twitter business profile. Appending your own personal Twitter @username will be appreciated by your visitors. For an example of this, please see @WelkinCapital.
  2. Your Twitter Profile Link - Link to your website or blog. However, if you don’t have a website, or your website isn’t ready to receive visitors, consider using your LinkedIn profile or Facebook page instead. In any case, for best results, the page you link to should be relevant and well-designed – absolutely not a sales pitch.
  3. Your Twitter Profile Picture - It makes sense on a business profile to use your organization’s logo. If you don’t have a logo, get somebody to help you create it.
  4. Tweet Before You Follow - Add half a dozen well-thought-out tweets to your business account before you start following other users from it and before you start promoting it. Otherwise, you might look like a spammer, and that would be awful.
  5. Feather the Nest - Follow the new business profile from your own personal account and ask your colleagues to do the same. Visitors will feel more comfortable following it if a few others have led the way.
  6. Update Your Personal Twitter Bio - Since Welkin is in the real estate industry, I added “real estate” to my @larrybrauner bio. This will attract real estate oriented followers to my profile who will then learn about Welkin when I retweet Welkin updates. Use this strategy if it makes sense for you.
  7. Promote Your Twitter Business Profile - Place links or widgets on your website, blog, social networking sites, etc.
  8. Follow Targeted Twitter Users - Target Twitter users using Twitter Grader search, Twellow categories and Listorious Twitter lists, in that order. If you follow relevant people, and your Twitter profile is set up properly, most will follow you back.
  9. Follow Back Relevant Users - Many Twitter users will follow you. Follow back those who are relevant. Ignore those who aren’t. They will unfollow you before long. Block obvious spammers.
  10. Influence - Use your personal Twitter and other social media  influence whenever feasible to support your Twitter business account.

I hope you will find these Twitter tips helpful as you set up your new Twitter business account or enhance an existing account.

Please subscribe and comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerHave you ever been slapped by Google or by one of the major business networking sites?

I have — more than once.

I recently received a Twitter slap, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. If you’ve never received a slap yourself, perhaps your approach is overly cautious.

Clarification

Slapped by GoogleOf course, one wouldn’t actively choose to be penalized by a major business site. Yet, with so many gray and fuzzy areas, this particular hazard is very difficult to skirt.

Fortunately, a slap isn’t as bad as a total ban. A ban can have major long-term consequences. However, even a slap by Google or by an ISP could cause considerable loss. Most slaps result from black hat SEO techniques or some other form of spam.

Twitter Slap

Twitter SlapOutright spam on Twitter risks account cancellation.  More subtle types of spam typically incur the exclusion of tweets from search results, thereby making one invisible to all except his or her followers.

Here are four situations that invite Twitter slap:

  1. Duplicate content - Repeatedly tweeting the same tweets or links
  2. Duplicate accounts - Creating multiple Twitter accounts with the same bio text or linking to the same site
  3. Aggressive use of #hashtags - Using #hashtags haphazardly or maliciously
  4. Following vs. follower ratio - For example, an account following 2,000 with only 10 followers.

In the past, I had several Twitter accounts linking to this blog and tended to append #hashtags to my tweets much too generously. I may also have tweeted some duplicate content. Now tweets from my main Twitter account are excluded from search results.

Sending lots of @ messages to non-followers is outright spam and ought to be reported using the “report for spam” link. I would never consider doing such a thing.

Coping with Twitter Slap

While not disastrous, Twitter slap is troublesome. My #hashtags do no good, unless a follower (in good standing with Twitter) retweets my posts with all my #hashtags intact.

The best way to work around this kind of Twitter slap is to create another account with different bio text and a different bio link. Then, that account can be used to retweet all the important tweets and those with #hashtags from a slapped account.

Have your own stories or comments? Please share them below. :-)

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Larry BraunerI’ve written about list building extensively in connection with social media.

It’s time to revisit social media list building once again. In this article, however, I focus more on where to build lists than how to build them. In other words, I focus on social media list building destinations.

A few remarks are in order before I address the where-to of list building.

Importance of List Building

In List Building Using Twitter, I discuss the importance of list building in marketing. List building is equally important in PR, CRM and other types of communication.

Reach is the quantity of people your message reaches, while frequency is the average number of times each person is reached.

Frequency builds trust and drives your message home. Advertising without frequency is rarely effective. Marketers rely on list building to repeatedly reach their audience and achieve their target frequency levels.

New List Building Paradigm

List Building DestinationsIn List Building Paradigm Shift, I discard the stereotype of list building as “a well-written lead capture page linked by a web form to an auto- responder” and redefine it as the process of acquiring and nurturing followers.

More precisely:

List building is the process of subscribing members of your target audience, in order to engage and nurture them and brand yourself and that which you represent.

This definition leaves plenty of room for creativity and customization of the list building process, yet it defines our objectives: engaging, nurturing and branding. Prescribing our objectives enables you to gauge the relative merits of each list building venue at your disposal.

List Building Destinations

These are my five favorite venues for list building. They are just as useful to owners of static websites as they are to bloggers.

I use all of them and let people choose for themselves which they prefer.

  1. Autoresponders - Reports of the death of email have been greatly exaggerated. Everybody receives email and knows how email works. Every website should provide email subscription. Emails sent to opt-in subscribers will have an open rate of about 30% and a click through rate of approximately 10%, which is excellent. The downside of email subscription in general is anonymity, lack of interactivity and changes of address. I use an autoresponder service to maintain my database and deliver my email. My service has a high delivery rate, many important features, good customer service, and it integrates with Google’s FeedBurner RSS if you have a blog.
  2. Ning Social Networks - You can connect with members of a Ning network, interact with them and broadcast messages to them as the site creator, as an administrator, as a group creator and as a friend. They all work. However, only as the site creator do you actually own their data. My primary Ning site is Small Business Network. Subscription through Ning can be powerful, but it takes much more work to join a Ning site than to opt into an email list. A big problem with Ning is that if somebody joins more than one site or group of yours, they can receive duplicate mail from you. If you’re already established on Ning, incorporate it in your list building strategy. If not, to Ning or not to Ning will not be an easy question to answer.
  3. Facebook - A Facebook fan page widget lets Facebook members register for your page with one click. Based on my experience, response to posts runs at around 5%, about half the rate of email, which is good. The quality of traffic is superb with high average time spent on site. Your posts on Facebook can promote interaction and draw comments themselves from the members of your page, which helps you brand yourself. The potential also exists with Facebook pages to benefit from viral effects.
  4. Twitter - Posts on Twitter, or tweets as they’re called, can easily be retweeted and spread virally throughout the site. In a future post, I might list the reasons why, not withstanding the viral effect, I like Twitter much less than I like Facebook for list building. Nevertheless, I’m very happy to make Twitter subscription available, and I love all the traffic it brings me. (I’m @larrybrauner.)
  5. Google Friend Connect - This is Google’s attempt to add a social element to every website.  I doubt that it’s very successful from a social perspective, but it’s from Google, so I’m in. If Google uses or will use GFC membership to assess the relevance of websites, I’m covered. One nice feature of GFC is its newsletters. Make sure you enable them and use them to email your GFC subscribers.

I also use RSS subscription for my blog, but it doesn’t support interaction, and I believe that the response rate from RSS is very low.

If you’re not yet a subscriber, please choose a destination and subscribe.

Your comments about list building or social media list building destinations are welcome. :-)

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Larry BraunerIn 8 Simple Ways to Penetrate Social Media Clutter, I recommended  that you leverage multiple traffic sources. In Looking for Traffic in All the Wrong Places, I gave you a partial list of the places I look to get more website traffic.

Based upon Google Analytics data pertaining to my recent blog visits, bounce rates and average time on site, I present my top 10 blog traffic sources along with some notes on each:

  1. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing - They account for 35% of my traffic. When my blog was new, I didn’t get any search engine traffic at all. Now, however, I get 5,000 visits from searches per month — including business people seeking precisely the types of services I offer. The credit goes to search engine optimization and to a growing reservoir of content.
  2. Entrecard, a traffic exchange for bloggers - Admittedly, Entrecard provides me with lots of worthless traffic. Fortunately, however, the site provides me with some great traffic too and an opportunity to build key relationships with other bloggers. One of my favorites at Entrecard is Gera from Uruguay, owner of the Sweets Foods blog. He and I are now also connected by email, Facebook and Twitter. As with all other traffic sources, to benefit from Entrecard you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to developing it.
  3. Twitter - I’ve written at length about Twitter. Read Twitter Stats Defy Measurement. I’m happy to have started with Twitter in 2008 when Twitter’s rules didn’t get in the way of building a large following. Today, different tactics are necessary to connect with your target audience. Start by encouraging your website visitors and friends on social networking sites to follow you on Twitter. Then gradually introduce new Twitter tools into your mix. My favorite tool, Tweet Adder, which I use daily, is worth the small investment.
  4. Facebook - I turned my attention to Facebook in June 2009 and experimented with the NetworkedBlogs application, which may have introduced new readers to my blog, but proved to be a poor source of ongoing traffic. On the other hand, profiles, fan pages and events showed themselves to be excellent traffic sources. It seems to me, so far, that Facebook fan pages are very effective as a form of web site subscription.
  5. Ning social network - I’m sorry to report that Ning has morphed into a host of unrelated niche sites. If you have your own Ning site, or a group or lots of friends on someone else’s Ning site, you can use that site to move traffic. As with Twitter, getting started with Ning is harder than it used to be, and the marketing benefits are fewer. I belong to many Ning sites and have several of my own. My primary Ning site is Small Business Network.
  6. Business Exchange - Discovered this social bookmarking site recently and wrote about it in 12 Tips for Using Business Week’s Social Bookmarking Site. I’m hoping that Business Exchange will help me generate a lot of high quality traffic in the year to come.
  7. Blog Catalog - If you have a blog and decide to use BlogCatalog, start your own group there; make many friends on the site and invite them to join your group. Those who join are interested in you and your group’s theme.
  8. StumbleUpon - Planning to learn much more about StumbleUpon and use it much more this year. I’ll keep you posted.
  9. LinkedIn - While well connected on LinkedIn, I’m not using it much at present. Most of my LinkedIn traffic is coming as a result of the Twitter LinkedIn integration.
  10. Ryze - Here I first encountered online social networking back in 2003. I  find Ryze very underwhelming in 2010. The traffic I get from Ryze comes from posting in groups, which are really forums.

I believe that Blogger is sending me websitetraffic because of Google Friend Connect. Also, I heard a rumor that Yahoo! is dumping MyBlogLog. Will let you know about both of them.

You made it all the way down here. Why not scroll down a drop more and leave a comment? ;-)

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Larry BraunerLooking over my traffic stats several weeks ago, I was very surprised to notice that a single visitor had been referred to my blog by Business Week.

I traced the visit back to Business Exchange, Bloomberg Business Week’s social bookmarking site “that helps professionals discover and organize information from across the Web… a great way to share content and find the most relevant news on business topics.”

Anita Campbell, a Twitter friend and CEO of Small Business Trends, “an online small biz community reaching over 250,000 each month,” had saved my blog post, The Social Media ROI Obsession, on the Business Exchange site. Somebody evidently clicked through to my blog to read the article.

Once I arrived at Business Exchange, I quickly realized that this social media site was much more upscale and business-like than the social bookmarking sites with which I was familiar, and I saw BX as a potential venue for sharing content and networking up with corporate executives and media elite.

On Friday, Business Exchange notified me that I will be the featured user starting Tuesday, December 22nd at approximately 9:15am ET and lasting for 24 hours. I thought therefore that this would be an opportune moment to write about the Business Exchange site.

Business Exchange Site Basics

These are the principal ways you interact with the Business Exchange site. You can:

  • join and set up your account
  • search topics and people (note that the search box is tucked away at the bottom, way below the fold)
  • bookmark articles you discover into one or more topics
  • browse articles that have previously been bookmarked
  • react to articles that you or others have bookmarked
  • save topics and articles of interest for easy future access
  • follow other users
  • explore users’ links
  • subscribe to other users’ activity

Here are 12 easy ways that you can benefit from the Business Exchange site:

  1. When you join, choose the option to link your Business Exchange and LinkedIn profiles. Your LinkedIn information will automatically be filled in on your Business Exchange profile page, and you will be able to easily send invitations to your LinkedIn connections.
  2. You can let Business Exchange automatically post your reactions to LinkedIn and Twitter. I checked off the box for LinkedIn but not for Twitter. It’s your decision.
  3. Bookmark only high quality business articles that fit into existing topics. Add each article to as many topics as apply, up to five, the maximum. You’ll receive contribution points, one for each topic.
  4. You may bookmark your own high quality business articles, but if you bookmark only your content, you’re likely to be labeled a spammer, and your standing on Business Exchange will be jeopardized.
  5. You don’t have to bookmark articles to participate actively. You can react to articles bookmarked by others and receive a contribution point for each reaction.
  6. Other users will likely “size you up” based on your your contribution points, the quality of your contributions and reactions, the number of users following you, your profile and your links.
  7. Follow users who interest you. Don’t expect them to follow back automatically, and don’t automatically follow users who follow you.
  8. Explore other users’ links. You might discover a blog or other website that you’ll like. You may also find a way to connect up with them at another site and network together. Let them know that you’re both Business Exchange users.
  9. On LinkedIn, if you and another member belong to a common group, you can send an invitation without knowing that member’s email. If that person just followed you on Business Exchange or is a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION), extend an invitation and mention Business Exchange.
  10. Use the Business Exchange home page interface to invite LinkedIn connections. X-out people you don’t really know, so that you don’t risk spamming them. Customize your invitation message. Those who join will be added as mutual followers automatically.
  11. When telling friends about Business Exchange or promoting the site, link directly to your profile. You want that they should get the idea to follow you if they join.
  12. The Business Exchange site tends to be slow. Be patient. It’s worth waiting. Business Exchange is in beta, and hopefully Business Week is addressing the response time problem at this very moment.

Conclusion

I’ve been pleased with the articles bookmarked at Business Exchange and the quality of traffic my blog has received from the site. I hope you’ll have a similar good experience with Business Exchange.

Before you go, please subscribe and leave me a comment. See you on Business Exchange. :-)

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