Inside Microsoft’s IT Social Network Aggreg8

By Amit Chowdhry ● Nov 12, 2006

On November 10, 2006, Microsoft had teamed up with Culminis to launch a social network for an IT professional niche market. I signed up for an account so that I could present the features on Pulse 2.0 and list what I feel are the pros and cons of Aggeg8.

The homepage lists messages from the Aggeg8 admins and also contains an inbox for incoming messages. On the homepage, there is also a list of featured profiles:

As far as filling out a personal profile for Aggreg8, I was surprised to see that there were not too many fields. Comparatively speaking, Facebook has users fill out their name, gender, relationship status, favorite movies, favorite quotes, favorite books, etc. Aggreg8 only asks you to list your name, location, signature, and a bio on yourself:

There are also a number of “Working Groups” which acts as a forum to participate in. Aggreg8 gives users an opportunity to create their own workgroup as well. Workgroups can be filtered by Highest Rated, Most Active, and Most Favored. One of the cons for these workgroup filtration processes is that there seems to be a large overlap of the groups between the Highest Rated, Most Active, and Most Favored. For example, groups such as the “SQL Server” group, the “PHP Developer Group,” and the “Patch Management” group are found in the Highest Rated, Most Active, and Most Favored filters. Perhaps as more work groups are created, this overlap will diminish. Workgroups are also filtered by a tag system. Currently, some of the most active tags being used include Best Practices, Collaboration, IT Management, Development, Security Server, and Systems Mgmt.

Other features include “Invite a User” and “View invitations.” Users can also designate tags for their profile and filter networks by name, network size, post count, and affiliation:

This seems to be the gist of all the major features implemented into Aggreg8 thus far. Mashable noted that there are ways to subscribe to Aggreg8 via RSS, but for some reason, I was not able to find this feature. Mashable’s article also contained a link to Philip Roche’s blog, the man who sold and for $5000 to Microsoft.

Pros of Aggreg8

  • Very simple and basic to use
  • Marketing to a niche for strictly IT professionals (Lots of potential)
  • Partnership with Culminis Inc. validates Microsoft’s commitment to this market. Culminis Inc. is a not-for-profit IT organization that boasts 768 member organizations and represents 1,783,168 members as of November 10, 2006.

Cons of Aggreg8

  • The biggest con is the lack of substantial profile collection. I would like to fill in a bit more than my location, bio, and name when joining any social network so that way people could learn more about myself.
  • Would be difficult to attain market share from users who already have a committed social network such as Facebook, Friendster, and MySpace.

Although I would not choose Aggreg8 yet, I wouldn’t mind being a regular user of Aggreg8 as long as features are further developed to appeal to more creative minds. Users want more than just working groups, even if they are an IT professional. Already having a Microsoft Passport to check my Hotmail account with definitely makes logging into and registering for Aggreg8 a lot simpler too.

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