The concept of Ziliot was created after going through some other business moves, before I tell you what Alibaba.com copied, let me first give you a brief intro on how I stumbled on this not so secret sauce which appeared good enough for Alibaba an 800 pound gorilla who could hire Harvard graduates to come out with breath taking innovations.
So before Ziliot I graduated from University somewhere in Finland, I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on ” Establishing Made in EU magazine” a small business magazine. I did this because I saw evidence that little or no foreign students where getting employed and my language skills wouldn’t even qualify to hold the cleaning equipments, I turned to the local agency for giving loans to entrepreneurs and gave my thesis/business plan. The unthinkable happened when they took my plan for a magazine which didn’t have a sample but with two European distributors interested to distribute more than 30,000 copies each all over Europe in print and not for free but at a cost. They took my plan and compared it to a magazine that barely has 15000 copies outside of Finland, a Chamber of Commerce magazine which would be given free ,relies on advertisement and only writes about companies in Central Ostrobothnia region. How so sad when they told me that magazine is not profitable and yours can’t be profitable. Here is the magazine’s first issue in digital format
I took to my previous experience and remembered that my former company did not use Alibaba.com to successful get sales leads, when the leads came they were dead leads and without the ability to follow up and review them. Their pages looked and still look awful and it was, still hard to find lots of European companies or credible African companies. Linkedin should have been an alternative but they were in-effective for the road traffic industry which we were in, you rarely find businesses you can trust in some Asian, African and Middle East countries. Linkedin is 70% professional networking (Jobs) and 30% business networking.
Like most people who are starting a business would do, they would analyze competitors and look for the angle they can use for their differentiation. We researched Alibaba’s business model, to give us more proof that users had trust problem, they had a case in the news by February 2011 and we noticed that then that they did not “verify” their free users but only Goldpass account holders. They had no business with trade and industry associations which is exactly what makes us different or exactly our not so secret sauce which we believed would be the catalyst to reducing fraud when dealing with developing countries with no database to verify their companies.
We have used tool to check archives or website histories to prove our point. See here and more description on the image. You can see from the image below using the website history which dates back to February 24, 2011 after fraud problems with about 2,200 companies or users. I have highlighted in red the place where you will notice some changes in the next image I will attach
In the next image taken on this website on 30th September 2012 you will notice an additional link called “Verified membership”. The link has been circled on red and we will forward to show it’s contents which copy Ziliot’s model.
In order to confirm exactly how it relates to us and it is not just the same verification’s which Twitter or Facebook or Google+ does, you will see how they want to work together with trade and investment organizations and verify the members of trade and investment organizations to be seen as credible on their platform, which is Ziliot’s core differentiation.
In the image below you will see clearly how they want to work with trade and industry organizations. See the highlighted portion in red. Let’s get inside to find out the intend to do that and if it is exactly the same or if Ziliot’s plans are better. Can’t we? You can read more about them here
If you have created an account with Ziliot.com you will see that we have a section for organizations and we clearly pitch to these organizations on how their joining or adoption of Ziliot can change the way business discover credible suppliers and wholesalers knowing fully well how challenging it can be to find suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers in some parts of the world. We’ve made several blog post like this and this and this. All in the bid to further spread our message or prove that we’ve got an idea that can change things and make them better.
We have reasons to feel that some organizations we have approach feel that we are trying to take food from their mouths, I remember receiving a response from the Ghanaian Chamber of commerce telling us that this is what we do, I said yes that is true yet I and the world can’t find your members online to do business with instead we resort to receiving fraudulent leads from Linkedin because Linkedin’s business is not business networking.We’ve made lot’s of blog post like this also, the problem still exist and even those in these organizations do acknowledge these problems but what holds them back? Some are too ignorant to know there is a problem . I met with the International chamber of commerce ICC representative in Finland and I sensed that either they have a problem accepting that a foreigner can come out with an idea useful or that they feel threatened if there is a solution for businesses to bypass them. What is disruption that is looked for in the world? What is an innovation? See our explanation of what is wrong and how it could be fixed.
We didn’t patent this because we felt the money could be better used other than getting a patent, from what we’ve learnt most of social networking patents are held by founders of Linkedin and some other defunct social network which and even Facebook infringed on Yahoo’s patent. On one hand we can’t fight this 800 pound gorilla and we wish they can implement this in a good way or they could continue copying more since they wouldn’t approach us to ask why and how this industry can be disrupted of which they will still benefit.
Ziliot started plans, writing, pitching and informing from early 2011, we’ve made open presentations and presentations and have been covered on more than 10 blog posts. Those who cloned Alibaba.com and failed did so because they did not know how, Ziliot is not just another B2B social portal or B2B portal.