Deskarma, which describes itself as a “business expertise sharing platform”, launches in beta today. It’s designed to enable professionals to share their “business insights”, with the motivation to do so partly driven by the user’s ability to build an online reputation as an expert via the site’s karma-based points system.
Basically, users can write posts, comment, and answer questions, while the quality of their contributions are peer rated so that the more interesting content and users become more visible. Related to this is the fact that Deskarma doesn’t sit behind a walled garden and therefore is indexed by Google et al, meaning that a user’s newly forged reputation might end up appearing in search results. That’s the idea anyway.
The social aspect of Deskarma extends to a social network of sorts; users can follow one another or follow a particular topic, such as ‘marketing’ or something more specific like ‘contract negotiation’. That’s not dissimilar to how many professionals use Twitter or the Q&A aspect of LinkedIn, two potential indirect and direct competitors.
On that note, Deskarma co-founder, Mark O’Neill, says that LinkedIn is “great as your online Rolodex, the ‘who you know’ of your online presence, but individuals also need to demonstrate ‘what they know’. An effective way to do this is to discuss business issues online, yet not everyone feels comfortable starting their own blog.”
And it’s certainly true that the groups and Q&A functionality of LinkedIn is underutilized by many of its users and most professionals don’t have the time or inclination to commit to writing a blog, so perhaps Deskarma can fill the gap. Presuming it does actually exists, of course.
The company’s closest competitor is probably Brazen Careerist which focuses on the Gen Y demographic whereas I’m told Deskarma is targeting itself more as “a home to business people in their 30s and 40s”.