Ecademy What's New Log

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Affiliate Partner (EAP), Auto-connect

March 2011 Give free trial subscriptions and earn rewards when your contacts upgrade on Ecademy Ecademy Affiliate Partner (EAP)EAP is the "Ecademy Affiliate Partner" - a reward program for referring new subscribing members into your network or for people already in your network upgrading Reflecting the community ethos of Winning by Sharing, Affiliate Partners earn a share of new membership subscriptions generated by their activity Participating members may send vouchers to anyone in their Ecademy network (who is not already a subscriber) or an invitation with the voucher to anyone not yet an Ecademy member The voucher is redeemable within 48 hours and is worth 30 days of either PowerNetworker or BlackStar membership (BlackStar Life not included) - the Affiliate Partner may send a voucher that equates to their own membership level Ecademy Affiliate Partners share up to 12 months revenue of all new referred members who join Ecademy and subscribe using the voucher or any one in their network who redeems a valid voucher Ecademy Affiliate Partners can choose to donate their commission to a charity of their choice if they wish EAP is available to PowerNetworker, BlackStar and BlackStar Life members Global reach - referrals apply to all members regardless of country (sterling, dollars or euros) Online system for EAP opt-in, inviting and tracking all upgrading members and the associated referral rewards to Affiliate Partners Access your EAP summary and associated pages anytime through the "My Account" tab on the main menu by clicking the "My EAP" link. The Affiliate Partner referral reward is the following % on the net subscription revenue for the first year: - *PowerNetworker: 33% - *BlackStar 33% - BlackStar Life 10% *Network for FREE! "Three for Free" means when you gift a free trial subscription voucher to three of your contacts who subscribe you earn referral rewards which covers your Ecademy membership subscription! What to do nextOnce you have joined EAP you can send vouchers to your contacts within your Ecademy network and/or invite your contacts into your network on Ecademy either using the Invitation System. You can also add logos and banners to your profile or web site. Auto ConnectAuto-connect is a new feature that helps subscribing members grow their network with other active members who are not yet in their network. Using the Open Random and Supportive ethos BlackStar and BlackStar Life members may auto connect with 20 new people a day and PowerNetworker members 10 new people a day. Simply click the new link at the top the home page, People or Inbox pages when logged in Auto-connect - Grow your network with active members > and choose who you'd like to send a contact request to from the list. The default list is a random suggested contacts, there is another link for suggest contacts like me which looks at the 50 words and profiles to attempt matches. You can toggle the reminder message to Auto-connect in your privacy settings here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Affiliate Partner (EAP) - soft launch

March 2011 "Soft launched" to BlackStar and BlackStar Life members - EAP will go live to all members on May 1st 2011 Give free trial subscriptions and earn rewards when your contacts upgrade on Ecademy What is EAP? EAP is the "Ecademy Affiliate Partner" - a reward program for referring new subscribing members into your network or for people already in your network upgrading Reflecting the community ethos of Winning by Sharing, Affiliate Partners earn a share of new membership subscriptions generated by their activity Participating members may send vouchers to anyone in their Ecademy network (who is not already a subscriber) or an invitation with the voucher to anyone not yet an Ecademy member The voucher is redeemable within 48 hours and is worth 30 days of either PowerNetworker or BlackStar membership - the Affiliate Partner may send a voucher that equates to their own membership level Ecademy Affiliate Partners share up to 12 months revenue of all new referred members who join Ecademy and subscribe using the voucher or any one in their network who redeems a valid voucher Ecademy Affiliate Partners can choose to donate their commission to a charity of their choice if they wish EAP is available to PowerNetworker, BlackStar and BlackStar Life members Global reach - referrals apply to all members regardless of country (sterling, dollars or euros) Online system for EAP opt-in, inviting and tracking all upgrading members and the associated referral rewards to Affiliate Partners Access your EAP summary and associated pages anytime through the "My Account" tab on the main menu by clicking the "My EAP" link. The Affiliate Partner referral reward is the following % on the net subscription revenue for the first year: - PowerNetworker: 33% - BlackStar 33% Network for FREE! "Three for Free" means when you gift a free trial subscription to three of your contacts who subscribe you earn referral rewards which covers your Ecademy membership subscription! Give free trial subscriptions and earn rewards when your contacts upgrade on Ecademy - sign up here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Helping Japan's earthquake victims

March 2011 We've added a bar at the top of the Ecademy site which links to Google's Crisis Response pages (you can toggle this on/off by clicking the arrow at the top right hand side). Help the victims of the Japan earthquake by spreading awareness and aid. Learn How > Please visit and do whatever you are able to contribute, many thanks.

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The Ecademy Team

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13th birthday, Membership, Webinars, Videos

February 2011 1. What's New: 13th birthday, Membership, Webinars, Videos13th BirthdayEcademy has become a teenager! I find this time of year incredible as I reflect emotionally on the last 13 years and the way we have seen members develop, come, go and grow themselves and their business. Glenn Watkins (Chief Executive), Thomas Power (Chairman) and I want to thank each and every member for their participation and contributions within this very special community over the last 13 years. We continue our full commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and business owners as well as the promise of social media and to the development of small businesses across the world. Please visit our 13th Birthday celebration page to read more here > Free Trial PowerNetworker SubscriptionWe have now introduced a one time 7 day free trial to enable all members to fully experience the features, benefits and power of the Ecademy business networking and social media platform. As part of the 13 years birthday celebrations, all existing free members can unlock 13 days of full PowerNetworker access, simply click the "Free Trial" button at the bottom of the membership upgrade page >, and follow on screen instructions. The invitation system now also includes the free trial to PowerNetworker subscription - all invitations that are sent include the 7 day free trial option when your contacts join your network. BlackStar invitations include a 21 day free trial for their contacts. There has also been a change to enable participation for free members to threads in Groups. We have also added the "Like" feature (a feature available to subscribers) to the group messages which works in the same way as the Like on blog comments - the last Liked comment will bring the thread to the top of the list. In the spirit of Ecademy's "Winning by Sharing" ethos we are working on the new referral program where all subscribing members who choose to participate, will receive a generous referral fee (30%) of any member who becomes a subscriber via their invitation, the referral program is scheduled to launch in March / April. Thank you again to all members and thank you to all the PowerNetworkers and BlackStars for supporting the community with their subscriptions. Activate your free trial now here > Peerindex and Klout ScoresWe've added Peerindex, Klout and Backtype scores to subscriber profiles (just below your Twitter ID). Not sure what these are? Read the blog here > The scores will automatically appear for the Twitter ID entered, there will be a switch in your privacy and display settings > to toggle the score display to off/on, the default is on. Social Media Training VideosWe have released three short videos (5 minutes each) by Ecademy Founder Penny Power: Video 1) Know me - Utilising Social Media and to be visible and understood Video 2) Like me - Engaging on Social Networks to be part of the conversation Video 3) Follow me - Serving and supporting your followers to maintain attention These are free to view for all members - watch them here now > Increase your return with social media and online networkingWe are also very pleased to announce a new benefit for all members who upgrade to PowerNetworker and for all existing PowerNetworker and BlackStar subscribing members. Unlimited access to the training video's from the sell out "Intensive 1 Day Social Media Training Course - from beginning to believer" (value $/€/£ 399), run by Ecademy Founder Penny Power and Ecademy Chairman Thomas Power. You can view the video by clicking the link under the "Know me, Like me. Follow me boxes on the home page: "View your Social Media Training Videos >"

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy's 13th Birthday!

A HUGE THANK YOU to all Ecademists*TEENAGE* Ecademy has grown to a teenager!It is 7th February 2011, thirteen years since we started our journey of supporting and connecting business people through the online world, through our baby, infant and now teenager - Ecademy. The whole of the Ecademy team thank each and every member for their participation and contributions over the last 13 years, we have all matured, suffered challenges, gone though enormous learning and have shared values, shared intention and an incredible heart! Over the last 13 years Ecademy has trail-blazed and pioneered the need for businesses to engage online in a trusted, safe environment and embrace the new digital age. Providing a platform for businesses to learn, network and develop and a peer to peer knowledge exchange through blogging and boardroom events. Ecademy is recognised as the premier online network for businesses to keep up to date with their networking and social media skills as both now go hand in hand. As Ecademy tips into its 14th year, the mission will be to continue to support entrepreneurs and business owners across the world in the development of their businesses, with each member growing through our community values of "winning by sharing." With much love, thanks and respect on behalf of all of the Ecademy team, Penny, Thomas and Glenn Ecademy Founders Ecademy Founders as Teenagers!(?)

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The Ecademy Team

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Social Media Training Videos

What's New January 2011 Social Media Training VideosAs part of the new membership levels announced today we are pleased to announce a brand new benefit for all members who upgrade to PowerNetworker and for all existing PowerNetworker and BlackStar subscribing members. Unlimited access to social media training video's from the sell out "Intensive 1 Day Social Media Training Course - from beginning to believer" (worth $/€/£ 399), run by Ecademy Founder Penny Power and Ecademy Chairman Thomas Power. You can view the video by clicking the link under the "Know me, Like me. Follow me boxes on the home page: "View your Social Media Training Videos >" We hope you enjoy the videos and they help you towards a prosperous 2011. The Ecademy team Exclusive Business Networking in the digital age

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The Ecademy Team

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Membership Levels, Thomas Power - Digital, Business, Life

Ecademy - Exclusive Business Networking for the digital age From January 2011 ecademy.com will be returning to its roots as a fee paying business network, based on membership and community values. In February 2011 it will be 13 years since Ecademy was created. We are very proud of the amazing community that we have all created and the depth of business relationships that have been formed. By serving a niche this way we have developed a community spirit that is second to none on the internet. Serving and supporting businesses is our strength, our passion and our pleasure. Knowing that you are in a community where people can buy their services from you but where the mutual respect for one another's lives, experience and skills is desired, creates a set of values; values that we share with one another in over 200 countries. Rather than sell, sell, sell, members support, share, mentor and value one another as trusted colleagues and friends, as a result commerce is created. These are real community values and the right way for commerce to grow in the digital age. Joining the Ecademy network will continue to be free as will updating a profile, reading all content and replying to messages sent by subscribing members. The comprehensive business networking and social media tools available on the Ecademy platform, as well and the offline Boardroom events and meetings that so many members run, is what makes Ecademy unique and valuable thus there is a cost for these services. The main menu has been changed to ease navigation and focus on the key activities for business networking. We have structured the membership to suit your networking needs and will switch to the following on January 4th 2011: PowerNetworker Connect to the right people with unlimited network messaging and contacts Present your company expertise, products and services through Social Media on your Company Profile Market your business with unlimited Marketplace adverts Get found on Google with built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for all your content and profile Build your online brand and reputation with your own blog Extend your brand and network running your own networking groups and events BONUS Exclusive Business Networking and Social Media Training Videos worth £399!! Power up your business networking in 2011 now > BlackStarAll the benefits of PowerNetworker plus: Engage with a strong network of entrepreneurs, collaborators and experts Develop your business with peer to peer mentoring in Boardrooms Learn from specialist online training to accelerate business growth Utilize unique productivity tools to get Known and Liked Attend exclusive Blackstar only networking events Collaborate through online Teleseminars and Webinars to share knowledge and grow your followers and revenue Upgrade for Engagement, Growth and Success in 2011 here > BlackStar LifeAll the benefits of BlackStar plus: Exclusive Life Member only group Premier Life Member only events with the Ecademy Founders Paid up Membership - No additional subscription fees to pay for membership ever Your membership is an asset with the right to sell at any time Intimate access to global entrepreneurs and thought leaders Limited to approved applicants only and a maximum of 2012 members world wide Apply now for Engagement, Growth and Success for Life here > Thomas Power - Digital, Business, LifeA brand new exclusive Coaching & Mentoring service from Ecademy Chairman Thomas Power as your Digital Companion, you will be inspired to do more on the social web, learning how to: Identify and lead your niche Build lists of the right people to follow in your niche Recognize what to notice and what to share Establish a personal brand online Create a following for your brand Learn unique ways to monetise your following This is available to only 20 people through out 2011. Learn more and apply to accelerate, measure and monetize your online brand here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Membership, BlackStar, Referrals, Pricing

November 2010 Membership In February 2011 it will be 13 years since Ecademy was created. We are very proud of the amazing community that we have all created and the depth of business relationships that have been formed. After much conversation, market intelligence and soul searching we are ready to announce that from 1st January 2011 ecademy.com will be a fee paying business network, based on membership and community values. The strength of Ecademy is that we support and serve a very large but niche market, the entrepreneur, small business and sole trader. We take pride in the relationships and business that is created within the network and we deeply care about the experience that each of our members have. By serving a niche this way we have developed a community spirit that is second to none on the internet. Serving and supporting businesses is our strength, our passion and our pleasure. Knowing that you are in a community where people can buy their services from you but where the mutual respect for one another's lives, experience and skills is desired, creates a set of values; values that we share with one another in over 200 countries. Rather than sell, sell, sell, members support, share, mentor and value one another as trusted colleagues and friends, as a result commerce is created. These are real community values and the right way for commerce to grow in the digital age. In the spirit of Ecademy's "Winning by Sharing" ethos we are also very pleased to announce the introduction of a new referral program early in the new year where all subscribing members who choose to participate, receiving a generous ongoing referral fee (30%) of any member who becomes a subscriber via their invitation. Joining the Ecademy network will continue to be free as will displaying your profile, reading all content and replying to messages sent by subscribing members. The comprehensive business networking and social media tools available on the Ecademy platform, as well and the offline Boardroom events and meetings that so many members run, is what makes Ecademy unique and valuable thus there is a cost for these services. Ecademy works when you engage, share, care and want to build a good reputation and personal brand aligned to your business ethics and values. We have announced this early to enable you to prepare for this change next month, we know that most will be thrilled and we thank you for the generous advice and feedback that you have given us to enable us to make this powerful statement. Thank you all. Penny Power Ecademy Founder BlackStar benefitsWe are improving the training provided to new BlackStars. This will include training on all aspects of using Ecademy, BlackStar features (and we'll be refining and adding to those throughout 2011), and other social media channels. We also will introduce regular teleconference and Webinar training for all BlackStars. The focus is to ensure that all new BlackStars can accelerate the effectiveness of membership. We are also continuing to expand and improve the Boardrooms available to BlackStars (and their invited guests) adding additional sessions to provide the very best peer to peer mentoring and business development for BlackStar Members. Remember that if you are not a BlackStar yet you can experience a Boardroom. Find a Boardroom event near you here > Upgrade to BlackStar now to grow your business faster in 2011 > ReferralsWe all know the importance of having open communication with the people in our network. When we can easily link the people we want to help to the people we can help them then we build them and build our reputation for supporting others, leading to referrals for us. Ecademy's ethos of "Winning by Sharing" is core to this principle. We'd therefore like to support all members who help to grow the network by inviting the people who are important to you. In early 2011 all members will be eligible to receive 30% of the subscriptions paid in a new Ecademy Referral Programme, meaning when three people you know subscribe, your membership subscription is paid for! More details will be announced shortly. Price IncreasesWith effect from the 1st January 2011 we are increasing the price of BlackStar to £79.97 (excluding UK vat where appropriate) per month. There are 200 memberships available at the current price and at this price, so act today to make significant savings ongoing. On January 1st VAT rises to 20% but if you upgrade today we'll guarantee not to raise the price when VAT changes. BlackStar Life membership will continue at the current rate with special upgrades available to existing BlackStar subscription members - contact William Buist for details and to apply. PowerNetworker subscription will be £9.97 per month (excluding UK vat where appropriate) - upgrading today will ensure that you lock into the current price which also won't change when VAT changes. Upgrade your account for 2011 and beat the price increase now >

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The Ecademy Team

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Sharing Content

October 2010 Sharing your Content made easier! We have simplified the buttons to share your Status, yours and other peoples content to other social networks. There are now 3 checkboxes for the main sites; Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz so you can optionally post to all three at once saving you time. On other pages such as the profile page, click on the Twitter "T" button and the 3 checkboxes are shown on the popout window. To use these you need to authorise Ecademy with each service. You can do this by clicking on the checkbox or by going to your shared content settings page. The sharing options to other services are still available via AddThis on the + button. Once authorized, the settings are remembered enabling quick and easy sharing of your content and other peoples content and profiles you Like.

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The Ecademy Team

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Branding, Ecademy Digital School, BlackStar

1. What's New:Ecademy BrandingEcademy Digital SchoolKnow Me, Like Me, Follow Me, and BlackStar training Ecademy BrandingWe have a brand new logo and design for Ecademy that you'll be able to see throughout the site. The new logo is designed to encompass an impression of the conversations that are taking place within Ecademy and reflect the community spirit that we all treasure. It's fresh, thanks to the light blue colour, approachable and friendly, which is down to the name appearing entirely in lower case. The chosen font is modern, open and honest. The inclusion of the speech marks underlines that we're all about conversation and community - and they give the brand character. You may need to refresh your browser to see all the new design. With the launch today of the Ecademy Digital School (see below) a School top level navigation has been added. Ecademy Digital School Today we launched the Ecademy Digital School. The vision of the Ecademy Digital School is to build a Global Network of Digital Coaches to improve the adoption and ethical implementation of digital tools and online communities. Our goals are: To recruit social media and business enthusiasts to spread the message of Digital Business and Digital Mindsets To teach the ethical use of the online "social" world to bring people closer and solve business problems faster To have at least one Digital Coach in every town and city in the UK To grow Ecademy Digital Schools in all the major cities in Europe, USA and Asia To create a new "Digital Coaching" industry Create a "hub" of Digital Skills Building Digital Mindsets will increase the economic output of individuals and economies. The Digital School also has its own website where you can find additional details and book the Ecademy Digital Coach&trade courses here: http://www.ecademydigitalschool.com Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me' © and BlackStar Online TrainingKnow Me, Like Me, Follow Me provides simple learning steps to teach you how to get a return on investment from Ecademy, social media and online networking for your business. Building further on the introduction of the Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me' © progress support last month, we've amended and tweaked the emails and online support based on feedback from members. This unique training and support for all members of Ecademy has been well used by the membership and we hope that you are finding it's helping you to develop your knowledge and skills on the site, and get value from it. This month we're introducing similar support for BlackStar, focusing on getting value from membership of this premium community. We're also increasing the ongoing cost of BlackStar membership for new joiners with effect from 1st October 2010 to £$€49.99 per month and £$€499.99 per annum. In line with other organisations such as the Institute of Directors, we also have Life Membership available for a single one-off payment of £$€4,999.99, or 12 monthly payments of £$€499.99 after which no further payments are required for membership! We will be re-introducing an application form for BlackStar membership to help us understand the members skills and their business products and services and the commitment to other members have to each other. Upgrade to BlackStar to grow your business here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Business Brain Training

August 2010Sage: Train Your Business BrainWe're delighted to announce a strategic partnership from today with Sage designed to help all members through informative, educational and fun games, with a serious purpose, online to train your business brain and to be able to record and measure your progress against others should you wish to do so. Business is just like the Krypton Factor, there are numerous obstacles along your path to achieving success and you have to overcome them. The top business brains are those that keep active with regular mental workouts, continually engaging with problems and challenges to find the best solution. Sage's training games are designed to get all your skills working together so that you can get there. Sage has spoken to over 1,000 business people and identified 6 key qualities that can be found in the most successful business brains. Your Business IQ is a measure of your talents across all 6 of these qualities. Each game will score differently against 6 factors; there are many levels and variations in the challenges so by playing regularly you'll be taking active steps to enhance your Business IQ. Once you have played you'll be able to see how you compare with other members by checking the league tables here on Ecademy. Read more about Business Brain Training on the Sage Business Brain Training page here > You have the option to show your Business IQ score on your profile if you wish to do so and you'll find a 'hide this' link if you don't wish to display the information publicly. In addition, you'll be able to see your performance against all other Ecademists who are sharing their Business Brain IQ in league tables which are available from here > We're delighted to be working closely with Sage on these training tools and supporting infrastructure, but do remember to check out the other aspects of what Sage offer to support your business through their company page here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Membership levels, Spam Control, iPhone App

July 2010More Features and Benefits for Membership Levels Spam controlNetwork MessagesContactsGroupsPowerNetworker PricingEventsMarketplace ListingsCompany Profile PagesThe Ecademy-My6Sense iPhone App More Features and Benefits for Membership levels We're delighted to announce that from today all members will be able to participate more on Ecademy. We've been able to remove some controls imposed to restrict abuse of the system by a few people as a result of building additional systems controls to manage that inappropriate use by a few (we'll continue to support and offer guidance to members whose use of the site is considered inappropriate by the community) These changes make Ecademy the only site that encourages members to get to Know, Like and Follow each other through their interactions on Company Profile pages, Blogs, in Groups and via personal messaging as well as through linking and aggregating activity on other sites through the NetNews feeds. Ecademy also has outstanding SEO support for subscribing members whose content, including personal and Company Profiles, Blogs and Marketplace listings gain significant visibility in the Search Engines. Spam controlWe've built some automated controls that look for inappropriate patterns in activity so that typical spam approaches will be trapped and the member warned. Persistent behaviour may result in accounts being suspended for a period whilst the activity is investigated by the best practice team. Please do use the confidential "report spam" links on any content or messages to ensure we maintain the quality content and interaction we all enjoy here. Network MessagesFree and PowerNetworker Members can now send unlimited messages to their contacts. To prevent the system being abused, there is a limit to the number of messages free members can send in short periods and we'll monitor and adapt these limits to minimise any abuse of the messaging system. We've improved the ability to report spam for messages too. ContactsIn order to fully enjoy the power of connecting on Ecademy, PowerNetworker and free members can now have unlimited contacts. In order to protect members from receiving mass contact requests free members will be limited to the number of new contact requests they make per day. GroupsWe have recently reviewed the Group ownership limits so that free members can own 5 groups; PowerNetworkers can own 50 groups; and BlackStars can own 200 groups. All members can make unlimited posts in Groups, again with validations in place to prevent excessive postings and to restrict posting the same content in multiple groups. PowerNetworker PricingEarlier this year we introduced a restricted version of PowerNetworker subscription, some longer standing PowerNetworkers retained unlimited rights to aspects of site and continued to subscribe at the rate applicable when they upgraded. We've concluded that this difference created some confusion for members and so we have standardised the benefits available to Powernetworkers. PowerNetworker subscription with the free one month trial will no longer be available at the £$€5 a month level for new subscribers but anyone currently paying that price will continue at that level. New subscribers will contribute £$€10 per month (including VAT in the UK). All PowerNetworkers can make significant savings by choosing the annual option at £$€50 per year. Members wishing to upgrade their subscription can do so here > EventsMembers can now purchase multiple tickets (up to 10) for an event. This allows for members to welcome non Ecademy members to their events. We have also improved event reminder emails. Marketplace ListingsBlackStar and PowerNetworker members are now entitled to unlimited Marketplace listings. Free members can have up to 20 active listings with a limit of 1 per day without the SEO benefits. Company Profile PagesAll members are entitled to create and now activate their Company Profile page. In order for sufficient information about your company to be displayed, 'Title', 'Expertise', and 'Notes' are compulsory fields which need to be completed, subscribing members will continue to benefit from the SEO for their page. Set up and activate your company page here > Ecademy-My6Sense iPhone AppDownload the Official Ecademy iPhone App for FREE now! Ecademy have launched a new iPhone App in collaboration with my6sense, the world leader in content ranking, to bring you personalized Business and Social streams on your iPhone. The new Ecademy-my6sense App provides the most productive way to access your relevant information - all in one place: connect with and share content that matters to you from Ecademy, Facebook, Twitter, business blogs and any other RSS feeds. Download the App for FREE now! Staying up to date has never been more efficient and effortless. All you need to do is use the App and 'Digital intuition' will learn what is most important to you and intuitively show your most important messages: Access the information that matters to you immediately, without sifting through thousands of pieces of contentGain constant insight into your industry and use it to grow your businessIncrease your web presence from anywhere - share and make updates to Ecademy, Twitter, Facebook and more from your phone Download the App for FREE here >Find out more including a Step-by-Step App User Guide here > No iPhone? Please forward the link to help a friend or collegue benefit from digitial intuition for their business - thank you! Other versions will be released later this year...

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy What's New Log

July 2010Download the Official Ecademy iPhone App for FREE now! Ecademy have launched a new iPhone App in collaboration with my6sense, the world leader in content ranking, to bring you personalized Business and Social streams on your iPhone. The new Ecademy-my6sense App provides the most productive way to access your relevant information - all in one place: connect with and share content that matters to you from Ecademy, Facebook, Twitter, business blogs and any other RSS feeds. Download the App for FREE now! Staying up to date has never been more efficient and effortless. All you need to do is use the App and 'Digital intuition' will learn what is most important to you and intuitively show your most important messages: Access the information that matters to you immediately, without sifting through thousands of pieces of contentGain constant insight into your industry and use it to grow your businessIncrease your web presence from anywhere - share and make updates to Ecademy, Twitter, Facebook and more from your phone Download the App for FREE here >Find out more including a Step-by-Step App User Guide here > No iPhone? Please forward the link to help a friend or collegue benefit from digitial intuition for their business - thank you!

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The Ecademy Team

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Translation, Events, Boardrooms, Company Profiles, Inbox

June 2010Translation and Language supportMeetings and event support changesBlackStar Boardroom supportCompany Profile ImprovementsAdvertising on the siteInbox changesReporting Spam Translation and Language support.We have been delighted to see that members in other countries are increasingly using Ecademy in their native language. In order to help and support that development we've incorporated the option to translate any page on Ecademy using the power of Google translate. You'll find a Google Translate link on the RHS of every page, just select the language that you want to see the page in and all the text will be converted to that language. We've moved the invite link to the menu's and shortened Marketplace to "Market" to make that possible. We hope that this, and other changes being launched today around advertising, will make the site relevant wherever you are in the world and make much more of the historical content, which is mostly in English, accessible to those for whom English is not their native tongue and for discussions to take place between members in multiple languages. Of course, translations by machine as this does, are not perfect and some more difficult words and phrases can fail to translate with the rich meaning they may hold in the native tongue. In testing we've found though that the quality of translation is definitely high enough to allow communication. We hope that members enjoy using this new facility. Changes to events.Following a review of Event management and feedback from the membership we've made a few changes to the Events system. Firstly we added the option for attendees to tell the organisers about special dietary needs, this is optional when people register, and the data is included on the registration emails that we send. If the event is a Boardroom we'll send Boardroom specific registration information to the attendees, the registration email for all other events isn't affected by this change. When you run a chargeable event on Ecademy, the payments are handled directly to your own Paypal account and Ecademy don't participate in that transaction. When a member registers and pays they may navigate away from the paypal screens without following the 'return to merchant' link and that means the registration will appear unpaid. Event organisers will get a notification from paypal if a payment has been made, and the attendee will get a receipt from paypal.  The organiser can mark an apparently unpaid registration as 'free' to stop the system thinking that a registration is unpaid. We've made some changes that will alert both the organiser and the attendee that registration hasn't completed and notify the attendee that their registration has failed if the payment isn't confirmed within 48 hours of registration. We are looking at further enhancements to the event system and welcome your comments on this change and suggestions for others in the Ecademy User Group > Improvements to Boardroom supportWe are overwhelmed and delighted with the response to the new service we have created for BlackStars, the Boardrooms. We would like to thank all the Boardroom Chairmen very much for the leap of faith and support you have shown by being one of our early adopters of this important step for Ecademy. Ecademy is completely committed to the long term success of the Boardrooms and see a vision for them in the future that reflects Ecademy at its best and supports Small Businesses in the way that we have always wanted to. Offline has always been critical to us and Boardrooms are a key part of the future  strategy for the development of Ecademy in that offline world. We're implementing some changes now that reflect the learning and feedback from Chairmen and attendees better to support the offline events that are the cornerstone of what a Boardroom is. We know that attending a Boardroom is a commitment both in terms of time and money. Boardrooms are open to non BlackStars to experience the power of the format as part of the decision making process in upgrading to the premier membership of Ecademy. When a guest makes the commitment to attend and contribute to a Boardroom community, Ecademy will sponsor the first month BlackStar Membership cost when you upgrade at the same time as registering and paying for the Boardroom. Find out more about Boardroom sand register for an event here > Membership of a Boardroom online is restricted to those members who have committed to and attended the regular monthly event and we've made this clearer in the application process. Company Profile improvements.We've added the SEO fields for your Company Profile to your SEO page on Ecademy. Set your default SEO keywords and descriptions here > Download the SEO guide to using Ecademy here > Company Profiles allow the owner of the page to add their employees and associates to the Company Profile and when that's done links on the personal profile of those individuals are added. If this is done inadvertently for someone unconnected with the Company, only the Company profile owner could remove it. We've now added links to allow any member shown as an Associate or an Employee to remove the association from their own profile page. We'd like to apologise to any member who was inconvenienced by the inability to remove links they felt were inappropriate. Advertising on the siteEcademy recognises that there is a balance to strike between gaining advertising revenue as a contribution to running the business and providing a great experience for all readers of content whether they are logged in or out. Following feedback from members and a review of the approach taken it's been decided to remove all Google adverts. These embedded adverts could disrupt reading of the content provided by members but will not now be shown to logged out members, allowing your content to showcase your expertise and skills clearly to logged out visitors. InboxWe've changed the Inbox you see when you are reviewing messages between you and another member to look and act in exactly the same way as the nbox you see when you are viewing all messages. Both now show 3 radio buttons for messages, alerts, and contact requests in the title. Reporting SpamWe introduced the ability to report Spam more easily a few months ago and that has been significantly helpful in reducing and removing the worst offenders for Spam in the Network. We'd like to thank the community for their vigilance in reporting Spam and we take task of reducing spam style messages and increasing the quality of the experience of using Ecademy very seriously. If you see content whch you consider to be as inappropriate sales message we would seek you to report the item by clicking the 'report spam' links associated with the content. As a reminder, in all cases, reporting spam does not cause any action to be taken immediately against the person whose content is reported, but the flags and alerts now built into the system will ensure that they are reviewed by a member of the team where necessary.

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The Ecademy Team

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Strategic Sponsoring Partner getMY

June 2010 Strategic Sponsoring Partner - getMY business insurance We are pleased to announce Ecademy have partnered with getMY.com to bring all UK Ecademists great value insurance at a competitive rate. getMY business insurance has been designed with small companies in mind and can be tailored to suit your individual business needs. Each getMY policy offers a first class package of benefits which includes: A no claim discount of up to 15%BusinessCare - a comprehensive business toolkit providing a 24 hour legal advice helpline, and online access to all the legal documentation you may need to run your business, potentially saving you £££sA claims guarantee to ensure that any claim for loss or damage is handled quickly and fairlyLegal expenses included as standard Prize draw to win a 32" digital TV Would you like the chance to win a 32" digital TV? If so enter the getMY prize draw! To enter the prize draw, and to find out how much you could save on your business insurance, click here > Or call on 0800 294 1348 quoting ref ECSOL Lines open 9am-6pm Monday- Friday Best regards, The Ecademy Team Ecademy - Supporting Business People http://www.ecademy.com The Ecademy Limited, Registered in England and Wales Company Registration: 3651083 VAT: 718 0377 36 getMY and getMY.com are registered trademarks of FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited. FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA Register No. 310671.

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The Ecademy Team

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Company Profiles Launch

May 2010 We are proud to announce the launch today of Company Profiles on Ecademy via the new Companies menu option. Ecademy is a people network. Full of people who own wonderful businesses and have the drive, the attitude and the heart to help others by the sharing of their knowledge, their contacts and business opportunities. We asked Ecademy Founder Penny Power why she is excited about the launch of Companies on Ecademy "Companies represents a huge leap forward in helping members buy form one another. As a company, Ecademy sources their suppliers from within the Ecademy Community when ever possible, our members are our first choice for the products and services that we consume. Company Profiles give Ecademy Members the opportunity to promote their business to people who need reliable and trusted suppliers from within the community that they enjoy. Ecademy is a social place but it is also a business marketplace. We want to encourage more trade between members and feel that this is an excellent way to achieve that". Companies is a new service for all Ecademy members which consolidate all your social media everywhere on the Internet, and presents your company expertise, products and services to prospects, customers, suppliers, employees, associates, partners and to the millions of visitors to Ecademy each year. Your Company Profile also enjoys all the benefits of Ecademy's extraordinary SEO Google Indexing. A Company Profile allows visitors to get information about your business through the interactions that you are having, and those of your employees and associates. Through sharing knowledge and expertise, via embedded video's and providing downloads and linking to content on your blogs and websites you can build a strong brand presence both within Ecademy and through the search engines. Anyone browsing this information can request a call with you being notified immediately to enable follow up. We've more information about building a company profile below, we recommend a Company Profile as the principle first step in enabling others to get to know your business. Visit the Ecademy Company Profile to view an example: http://www.ecademy.com/companies/Ecademy Menu Structure - Know me, Like Me, Follow Me We've amended the main menu on Ecademy to align to the philosophy of 'Know me, Like Me, Follow Me, which is the guiding principle Penny Power, Founder of Ecademy has always used through the 12 years of building the Ecademy Community. Through the 'Companies' menu leading to your Company Profile, visitors can get to KNOW your business purpose and see your expertise. An aggregated way of Social Broadcasting. The individuals that you LIKE and who LIKE you are found through the 'People' menu - for you to Socially Network. You can then have intimate, supportive relationships with people through 'BlackStar' (and locally in Boardrooms) where you can build a strong following of those who support and FOLLOW you and your business. With the menu structure change, the 'Inbox' menu option has moved to the right hand side on the main menu ('Home' is also on the right hand side in the blue bar - clicking on the Ecademy logo will also take you to the home page). We've also now added a icon at the top of the Inbox to indicate when you have new Messages, Alerts or Contact Requests. Why Publish a Company Profile? Leverage Social Media Increase visibility and save time by linking all your company social media elements (blogs, articles, videos, twitter etc) from top sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin, Friendfeed and Ecademy in one place, with your own company profile web site address Marketing and PR Get your company brand noticed with prominent placement in rotation on all Ecademy pages Built in search engine optimization Your company will get higher up the Google rankings More sales leads With unique call back requests, company profile hits, auto responders Retain customers Share news and information about new products and services, innovations, expertise or hot topics Get found in supplier searches When others search for solutions to their business needs CostFREE to create and view your Company Profile using the quick online form Just £/$/€ 4.99 per month to activate your *Company Profile *You get unlimited updates and includes all PowerNetworker benefits! With support from Ecademy Strategic Sponsoring Partners                The new Companies section for Company Profiles will contain categories combined with keywords designed to make your company easy to find: Operations and Finance - because every company requires operations and finance at its foundation Sales and Marketing - because every company needs sales and marketing resources to grow People and Support - because people and customer support reside at the heart of every successful company Technology and Tools - because every company runs on technology and tools Members will be able to create their Company Profile and embed dynamic content within it from their activity elsewhere on the Ecademy site and across all their other social media and social networking sites. For example, when you Blog you'll be able to tag the blog to appear on your Company Profile. This allows you to separate the business-related blogs and the personal-related blogs and focus your potential customers' attention on the knowledge you wish to share across the site relating to your company's expertise and value. Members who elect to purchase a Company Profile will also have high visibility throughout the site and easy-to-access contact buttons that will send an immediate alert when somebody wishes to discuss business with you. Company Profiles are fully indexed in Google and can be utilized as part of your SEO strategy within your wider marketing activity. The software is also being developed to enable you to incorporate marketplace listings, videos, images, articles and text entirely within your control. Some parts of the page are pre-formatted and others are fully customisable to your needs. You'll also be able to identify all other employees and associates of your company and link to their personal profiles where appropriate. You will be able to see the number of views with links to Ecademy members who've viewed the page and other statistics and productivity features that will enable you to manage your company image across the site. We look forward to seeing this dynamic service grow on Ecademy and hope you will join us in our mission to encourage more trade between one another.

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The Ecademy Team

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Inbox, Maps, Threads, Assist Pro

March 2010 InboxMapsGroup ThreadsAssist Pro Inbox We'd like to thank many members for the feedback they've given in the User Group and elsewhere in relation to the increased volume of traffic in the Ecademy Inbox and the suggestions we've received in order to simplify the use and views. We've renamed "Mass Messages" designed to alert you to another member's content (new Blogs, Marketplace, Groups, or Events) to 'Alert'. At the top of your Inbox now includes three simple to use radio buttons to display: - Messages (personal messages from one person to another) - Alerts (Links to new blogs or other content from your contact network) - Contact Requests (The message included with a contact request) In addition, there are easy to use filters to show only new messages or include archived messages, as well as only messages from BlackStars or only from members of your Spotlight. As a result, you can now very quickly see just the Alerts, or just the messages, and then filter it to those coming from the people in your Spotlight, for example (the default setting is on messages). We believe that these changes will significantly help you to find the right messages and prioritise the activity in your Inbox. In the right-hand column we've also added a link to the latest Alert to enable you to quickly visit that element of the system. We'll be reviewing usage of this link and may make further changes over the coming weeks. As always we welcome further feedback on these changes in the Ecademy User Group. Maps We've made some changes to enable setting your location and the location of events and groups that you run simpler and more straightforward. We've also added the ability to add your location back to the top of the Home Page, just below your status. If you're working with a laptop it will use wi-fi location finding in order to position you based on the wi-fi hotspot you're using, where that's possible to do. Of course, you can override the location that the system finds if it's inaccurate. Setting location helps others to find your groups and group events as well as passing information to others about your current location, which can be useful if you're seeking to meet with others or travelling. Group Threads We've made a change that will warn people if they attempt to post the same message with the same title to different Groups in a shot period of time. We have received strong feedback from members in relation to the perceived Spam type nature that postings like this can create and we would remind all members to respect the individual rules of any particular Group in relation to postings in it. Many Groups are run to support a special interest or a particular area and general postings that don't directly address the audience in that Group and do not support the aims of the Group will be seen by other members as an intrusion and may damage the poster's reputation as a result. At the moment, the checks here are quite simple and intended more to provide a warning to members that their activity is not recommended. We'll continue to monitor the activity that actually occurs and make further changes should it prove necessary. We ask all members to report any incidents which they consider to be Spam using the appropriate links. Your report will be acknowledged and recorded and the Support Team regularly review those reports to look for trends for significant offenders. Assist Pro We have some exciting developments coming in April after the overwhelming interest in the new Ecademy Assist area, with improvements as well as the opportunity for all members to get more involved with high profile participation across the whole of the Ecademy site. The main menu will feature a new item "Assist" to ease navigation as well as an enhanced Assist box in the the right hand column, providing links to Ecademy Assist partners and Assist Pro experts in their field to enable everyone to source and receive the required advice, products services for their business. We will be adding many more videos and also simplifying the Assist home page with four easy categories: - Sales and Marketing - Operations and Finance - Technology and Tools - People and Support Assist Professional - Visibility, Brand, Sales leads Assist Professional (Assist Pro) is a new social media service which creates a unique opportunity to obtain high visibility for sales lead generation and establish your online brand as a specialist in your area of expertise on Ecademy and the wider networks. Members who opt to purchase Assist Pro will also have another dimension to their profile a "business section" which will focus on their products, services and value their business delivers. We'll also enable you to tag your content to include and add video to your Assist Pro page. There will be significant additional visibility in other areas of the site and where you appear a special 'Call me' button will enable your audience and your potential customers to contact you quickly and efficiently. Ecademy will email you whenever someone is seeking to communicate to ensure that you never miss an opportunity. We'll make a further announcements when this new exciting social media service for your business is available, thanks to everyone for their feedback and interest.

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The Ecademy Team

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Boardrooms, Activity, Groups

February 2010 Boardrooms launched world-wideActivity Summary and Groups Boardrooms are the essense of Ecademy and all that we collectively stand for, supporting one another in business and finding opportunities together. Online and offline, businesses grow together when they are open and support one another. This is another shift in the world of business that Ecademy is proud to bring to our members. The idea is simple. Each Boardroom meets once a month in person (and also online) - in just four hours each month, Boardroom members support, develop and learn from each other, gaining insights and practical solutions to grow their business. We have now introduced a Boardroom menu option to access the many more features and tools to support the global introduction of Boardrooms, providing BlackStar members with the opportunity to run face to face business Boardrooms in their home regions, build a group of mutually supportive businesses and creating a regular monthly gathering combined with a confidential on-line discussion forum. Growing your business is always easier when the share your goals and build a collaborative group and Boardrooms are already doing this for members in many areas. The new on-line functionality includes enhanced visibility for Boardroom members and Boardroom Chairmen. Each Boardrooms has its own forum, all members can instantly connect with each other, and there are tools for Chairmen to seek out and invite local guest attendees to events. The event's calendar has also been enhanced to give greater visibility to Boardroom Chairmen and the events themselves.   Starting and Chairing a Boardroom in your area is now quick and easy, with Chairmen fully guided and supported online through videos, training packs and task guides, as well as ongoing help and guidance from the Ecademy team. Joining a Boardroom is also now quick and easy, the support and opportunities from participating in your local Boardroom will develop quickly through the monthly face to face sessions as your knowledge and understanding of others (and theirs of you) grows. Boardrooms are part of Ecademy's continued strategy to accelerate your businesses development and support, to facilitate discussion of opportunities, challenges, fears and dreams in private without the need to do 60 second elevator pitches or sell. We know business happens when we are being supportive, the Boardrooms give BlackStar members a professional and confidential way to be a business friend, offline as well as online. With the information shared above we have to further develop the strategy that works for all our members and a pricing and benefit structure that makes sense. Many members of BlackStar have commented that they would have upgraded earlier had they'd known! Boardroom Feedback "Incredibly productive and provided valuable learning, lots of food for thought and over all illustrated the value of the immense support available to us all taking part. The expertise and experience present is fantastic." Georgina Lester "The Boardroom formats are great and all those I have attended have been extremely well run and is a demonstration of the people behind them and also the caliber of those attending. Absolutely brilliant!" Rupert Honywood "That was one of the most exhilerating, exciting, stimulating experiences. Amazing people, amazing topics and I want to go to another one!" Lizzie Vandorpe View the "What's a Boardroom" video here > Start your Boardroom now > they are free to Chair, or join your local Boardroom here > Not a BlackStar member? Find out more and upgrade here > Activity Summary and Groups Thanks for all your feedback on the new PowerNetworker subscription and services. We have created a new Activity summary available to all members, enabling you to view your usage in each major area of the site from a link "Activity" at the top of your profile. This shows your current activity level in the last 30 days with your limit in each area. This will help you to manage your activity and maximise the opportunity that you have at each level of membership. You can view your activity here > Groups We firmly believe that the contribution Group leaders make to making their Group vibrant and dynamic is critical to the success of the Group and Ecademy. We've now made sure that if you are a Group leader your activity in that Group does not count towards your limit so that you can contribute freely in Groups you manage on behalf of your followers and fellow group members, and messages sent from the administrative part of the group don't count towards your message limit. As always we continue to welcome your thoughts and comments in the Ecademy User Group >

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Assist

February 2010 Recently we have been seeking ways of helping our members find the information they need easier. This is the plan behind launching Ecademy Assist. On February 8th 2010 we soft-launched with the strategy to build and develop into a rich knowledge base in the form of Video's, Blogs, Group discussions, Articles, RSS feeds and PDF's. We will also add Ecademy Q&A area as a dynamic place for members to post questions to the community, that will answered by the community and sponsoring partners. The greatest asset Ecademy has is the members. A thriving community of active small businesses who support one another and help them to grow, both emotionally and financially. Business people who share knowledge with one another and through this empower each other to reach higher level of business skills and professionalism in their market. The Blogs, Group discussions and messages many of the members have are conversations that are the most incredible sources of knowledge on the Internet. Written by the members, they represent real-time, on the street advice for anyone who is looking to become more skilled in their selling, marketing, financial management, legal, logistics, IT....the list is extensive. The Ecademy Members are often specialists and their instant offering of advice when it is needed or their continual Blogging and messaging of inspiring tips have made Ecademy a rich source of advice and assistance. Combining the expert member conversations with the expertise of strategic partners, Ecademy Assist will provide the knowledge, advice, support and services a small to medium business needs to grow. Ecademy Assist is here > Find out more about becoming a Strategic Partner here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Member Benefits & Pricing, Logins, NetNews, Reporting Spam

January 2010 Changes to Membership Features and BenefitsNew LOW price PowerNetworker MembershipUnlock your Free PowerNetworker Trial!Login with Facebook and TwitterNetNewsReporting Spam Changes to Membership Features and Benefits February is always a great time for us to announce changes to Ecademy and share the vision we hold and the thoughts and strategy for the following year. Why February? Because we celebrate Ecademy's 12th Birthday! Ecademy's vision is to support business via community, conversations and commerce. Encouraging a supportive attitude to one another, we seek to create the right tools and atmosphere for engagement, sharing to achieve both personal and business development and growth. The business case for Ecademy hinges around subscribers with quality engagement. These are the BlackStar and PowerNetworker members within Ecademy who make a commitment to contribute content, contacts and advice in a friendly and professional style. For some time Ecademy has been seeking to find the right balance of features at each subscriber level. We encourage new members as they join to open a free account to experience some of the benefits of the network and to engage with fellow members on the site whilst at the same time ensuring that the experience for BlackStar and PowerNetworker members is rewarding, safe and excellent. The challenge is helping people to feel the value that Ecademy provides while at the same time not opening any of you up to spam or abuse. Spam is always an emotive subject, one man's spam may be another man's random opportunity! By being the most open site on the Internet, Ecademy has a fine balance to achieve. We want to be inclusive at all times, but at the same time we also want to provide our members with a high quality place to invest their time, a place where they can call 'home' and know that they will not be abused. Sadly we had recently needed to restrict the ability of free members to engage through private messaging as a result of abuses in the messaging system (the new system changes allows a level of communication again). Thank you for the blogs and interactions over the last 6 weeks, this interaction has been significant in helping us understand the impact of our open, random and supportive philosophy and have helped us implement changes to the system that enables all levels of membership to interact in appropriate ways whilst making clear what each level of membership can achieve. As always we will monitor and continue to listen, making appropriate adjustments ongoing. Ecademy Membership Levels: Free Member enables you create your profile and gain a presence within the network. PowerNetworker enables you to build and mange your network effectively. BlackStar enables you to build and mange your network faster, with the focus on business growth. In October 2009 we introduced a new BlackStar "Pay As You Go" product which has been extremely well received and very successful in many countries around the world. This coming month you will see an exciting new product 'The BlackStar 'Boardroom' that provides BlackStars with the opportunity to run offline business BlackStar Boardrooms in their home regions. BlackStar Boardrooms are part of our continued strategy to provide a home for businesses development and support, to discuss opportunities, challenges, fears and dreams in private without the need to do 60 second elevator pitches and sell. We know business happens when we are being supportive, the BlackStar Boardrooms give our BlackStars a professional and confidential way to be a business friend, offline as well as online. With the information shared above we have to further develop the strategy that works for all our members and a pricing and benefit structure that makes sense. Regular feedback we receive from new BlackStars is that there was not an easy way - on the face of it - to define the benefits BlackStars vs PowerNetworker before they joined. Many say they would have done it earlier had they'd known! We have now addressed this at each membership level. To celebrate our 12th birthday during February join the BlackStar community for the special monthly rate of £/$/€ 39.99! Trust. Belonging. Sophistication. Resilience. Kudos. Openness. Belief. Sharing. Visibility. Honesty. Support. Friendship. Development. Advocates. Referrals. Productivity. Growth. Upgrade to grow your business now > The PowerNetworker product was launched on 7th December 2002 and remains very special to us, many PowerNetworkers are our friends, advocates and enormous contributors to Ecademy ongoing success. To encourage more members to 'power-up' effective today, we have reduced the price of PowerNetworker to just £/$/€ 4.99 per month. This makes being a subscriber more accessible for our valuable members who in the past have been concerned about costs and increases the number of members who can be part of this valuable community. In line with the new price of £/$/€ 4.99 we have reviewed what level of activity to provide the PowerNetworker and defined *limits on some of the features of this subscription level. The reduction in price of the PowerNetworker product ensures that it remains exceptionally good value. [*EDIT: All existing subscribers who remain on their current price plan will not be affected by the new limits. This will continue for no less than the remaining period of your current subscription agreement]. Note we analyzed activity to ensure the limits for PowerNetworker means there is practically no difference in the services provided in most areas. Trust, integrity and belief in us is at the core of all that we do, Ecademy Founder Penny Power has personally contacted and spoken to all the PowerNetworkers who may be affected by the new limits and overwhelmed by the empathy they have shown to the decision and the support. It is our intention at all times to find the balance between listening to the individual needs of our members while ensuring that Ecademy remains a viable business for the future. Twelve years of Ecademy has been an exciting journey, we are 5 years ahead in our learning and experience than the majority of other networks and we know what it takes to build a community rather than purely a 'utility' or a network. It is the community that sets Ecademy apart and we must ensure that we evolve and remain strong in this space, we are unique in our offering and remain determined to provide a community that cares for one another and helps each other grow and develop throughout their working life. View full details the all new membership levels > New LOW price PowerNetworker Membership We have with immediate effect reduced the subscription level for PowerNetworker to just £/€/$ 4.99, or for an annual payment £/€/$ 49.99 (two free months). These subscription levels are now live and available - all *existing PowerNetworker members may transfer to the new subscription level by re-subscribing at any time >[*EDIT: All existing subscribers who remain on their current price plan will not be affected by the new limits. This will continue for no less than the remaining period of your current subscription agreement]. Upgrade to build your network now > Unlocking your Free PowerNetworker Trial From today all existing non-subscribing members and new members who join will be eligible for a full free one month trial. Unlock a host of network tools and social media features, as well as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your profile and blog to help with your marketing, plus networking messaging to help you to build and maintain relationships more effectively. Simply click the Sign up button here > to start your no obligation trial which can be cancelled at any time. Login with Facebook and Twitter We've now included the ability to login using Facebook Connect or your Twitter ID along with some other social network account logins. We now also include the ability to join Ecademy via social networking account logins. With the above and the recent Contact Import Wizards > it's quick and easy to expand your network by seeing who is on already on here you know and invite those who are not yet on Ecademy. We have now included one free month subscription on all invites! This includes all BlackStar invites to streamline the system. Every invite you send now includes a free one month PowerNetworker trial for your contacts! NetNews We've made some minor changes to NetNews to improve the visibility of information from your Spotlight. We've also included additional information in the NetNews entries to make it easier to see who and which item of content the NetNews entry refers to. For example, if you "Like" a comment the NetNews entry will now not only include the fact that you've Liked the comment but link to the author of the comment, increasing the visibility of the people whose content you are supporting. We've also made it easier to view another person's NetNews so that when you are visiting profiles or content you can quickly link to the other items that that person has shown interest or activity against. Reporting Spam We introduced the ability to report Spam more easily a few months ago and that has been significantly helpful in reducing and removing the worst offenders for Spam in the Network. As a result of the experience of using the spam system, we've made some changes in the reporting of spam reports to the Support Team for action. We've included some trigger points so that entries which receive a number of spam reports in a short period of time will be flagged more urgently to the team, enabling action to be taken faster, but only on those cases where there is a significant reaction from the community to the content. In all cases, reporting spam does not cause any action to be taken immediately against the person whose content is reported, but the flags and alerts now built into the system will ensure that they are reviewed by a member of the team where necessary.

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The Ecademy Team

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Pricing, Social Media Invites, Blogs, Messaging, Terms

November 2009 Membership Pricing Inviting your Social Media contacts Blogs, Comments, Like Messaging Changes to Membership Terms and EAP Improvements and other changes Membership Pricing BlackStar is Ecademy's premier membership that provides business growth and support, a community of talented and influential people that can provide referrals, support, expertise and services for each others businesses and specific projects. Ecademy recently introduced a new BlackStar product to the range of membership services which has enabled many more members to take advantage of BlackStar services without the upfront minimum financial commitment and at a very affordable price. The introductory offer ends on December 31st 2009 - so upgrade now > to beat the price rise! Trust. Belonging. Sophistication. Resilience. Kudos. Openness. Belief. Sharing. Visibility. Honesty. Support. Friendship. Development. Advocates. Referrals. Productivity. Growth. No minimum financial commitmentNo minimum termAffordable monthly subscriptionEnhanced visibility through exclusive social media featuresTargeted conversations within communityAccess to social media supportAccess to social media trainingGlobal BlackStar CommunityLocal Regional Private GroupsSpecial Interest Private GroupsBoardroom Groups - learning and mentoringExclusive networking eventsExclusive Boardroom events - learning and mentoring More information on BlackStar > PowerNetworker subscription enables access to a host of social media features to help with your marketing, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your profile and content, as well as hosting your blog, advertising in the Marketplace and networking messaging helping you to build and maintain relationships. Pricing which has been held for the last 5 years, will increase with immediate effect to $/€/£ 19.99 per month or $/€/£ 199.99 per year (two free months). Note pricing will remain unaltered for all *existing subscribers as a thank you for your continued contribution to this special business community. Join the thousands of PowerNetworkers using Ecademy to build their network - upgrade now > Ecademy Membership Services: Free Membership, the starting point for most Ecademists provides a presence and route to reactive networking PowerNetworker remains unaltered for all *existing subscribers, monthly subscription price increases to $/€/£ 19.99 providing personal networking, SEO, Blogging, Marketplace and Groups BlackStar, a new affordable subscription based membership, with no minimum financial commitment, that provides all the PowerNetworker benefits, plus additional social media and productivity features and Boardroom mentoring for faster development, growth, collaboration and support. Introductory offer of $/€/£ 39.99 ends December 31st, increasing to $/€/£ 43.33 per month for new subscribers in 2010 (no increase to all *existing subscribers prior to December 31st 2009) BlackStar Foundation Life Membership provides all the above plus additional training and support, as well as ownership of the membership with nothing more to pay. We are holding the 2009 prices - no price increase. *All existing subscribers benefit by keeping their current subscription rate while they maintain regular payments. Click on the Upgrade button (top right on all pages) for more details on all the above membership services. Inviting your Social Media contacts We've made further simplifications and improvements to your Contacts Invitation System. As well as the wizards to guide through connecting you to your existing contacts on Web mail systems like Gmail, HotMail or Yahoo Mail, from Outlook and iCal, or from a CSV file, you can now your Twitter following and Facebook friends though new Wizards. Just pick the appropriate wizard and we'll guide you through the process.  We have also added a processsing indicator so that those with large contact lists can see the remaining processing time as the system is working through the invitations. BlackStar members using the invitation system automatically give those who sign up three months PowerNetworker subscription free of charge, worth £$€60.00. You can sign up to BlackStar under the special introductory offer of £$€39.99 per month (ends December 31st), see more details here >. Click on the Upgrade button (top right on all pages) for more details on all the above membership services. Blogs, and Likes We've removed the ability to Like people and blogs from lists where it's possible to do this without taking the time to read the content. Liking content improves the visibility of it for others by putting links to it on the likes page of your profile (so your network can see what you like) and by making the content more prominent in some lists. When you like content you also get the option to tweet via twitter a link to it using a standard, but editable, message. Messaging Ecademy membership is for sharing knowledge, building your network and growing your business, with the best business interactions happening in a professional environment. Like many on-line environments we understand the frustration that inappropriate messaging can have and we provide the tools for members to report spam messages and block those who abuse the facilities here. Our philosophy is to fully support the paid subscribers of the site and make their experience of connecting and communicating with others to create a great place for business development and support with social interaction. Ecademy Founder Penny Power says "We are proud of the fact that Ecademy is supported and built by subscriptions and is not reliant on investors who may not fully understand the power of community. Everyone who subscribes contributes to the success of every other subscriber, this is unique on the Internet as most sites are funded through investment and do not have to ensure this level of value is achieved to sustain their business. 12 years of learning and caring about our members has taught us a great deal about what is liked and disliked." We allow a generous amount of networking here for free Members, with the hope that they will eventually want to contribute more and receive more value here by subscribing. Free members are welcome to contribute in the public Groups, comment on Blogs as well as linking to their accounts on other sites such as Twitter.  Sadly some of those who come to use the site free of charge abuse that opportunity and we are aware that the noise they create is not always welcomed. We have to consider the community of subscribers needs when determining what those who use the site free of charge can do here. We monitor closely the feelings of our subscribers and the feedback they give us when making changes to the way the site can be used. As a result we have decided to restrict the ability of free Members to message other members directly and concluded, based on feedback from paid subscribers about the level of 'noise' in the system. We have concluded that direct private messaging should be a function available to subscribers only. Subscribers get many additional features, including messaging their contacts with details of Groups, Events, Marketplace and Blog postings. In addition, to further reduce the noise and messaging in your Inbox, the contacts messages these alerts create will now be deleted after a month automatically. As these messages are both in a standard form and have only a short term relevance they will not be retained. This means viewing the communication chain with your network will not be interrupted by messages which are not relevant to your conversations. Changes to Membership Terms and EAP We have made changes to the membership terms and subscription agreement with immediate effect. These can be viewed here > With the continued focus on BlackStar City Leaders the Ecademy Associate Program will be terminated December 31st 2009, any eligible members for outstanding payments will be notified in January 2010. Improvements and other changes We've continued to address and correct minor faults reported to us by the community as they use the site and we would like to thank you all for that information. In the redesign one view of clubs threads that groups all recent threads in the groups you are a member of was lost. We have restored this view >. It is available from the sub menu when viewing Groups. The view defaults to titles and all groups (the ones you are a memebr of and all other public groups), but you can change the filters to show the full text and/or restrict you just to the groups you belong to. When members join Groups we have included the notification settings choices so they can set them immediately. This was a two stage process before and most members weren't aware of the need to choose. We have included the date and time for lists of people who liked your content or profile. This means you can easily find those who did so recently. Click the column title to sort on that information. Click twice to sort in the reverse order. We welcome suggestions for improvement and changes in the Ecademy User Group which is open to all members, you'll find the Ecademy User Group >

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The Ecademy Team

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Invites, Blogs, Spam, Groups, Help

October 2009 Inviting & Finding Contacts Blogs, Comments, Like Reporting Spam, Blocking, Messaging Group support Help and SupportImprovements and fault fixesInviting & Finding Contacts We've simplified the way that you can invite contacts to your network - as well as find people you know who are already members - plus made the tools work more effectively too. We've built new wizards to quickly and easily guide through connecting you to your existing contacts in Microsoft Outlook, Mac Address books, Web mail systems like Gmail, HotMail or Yahoo Mail. Just pick the appropriate wizard and we'll guide you through the process. If you just have a few contacts to add we've also simplified the form for entering names and emails. Invite your contacts and find out who is here you already know > BlackStar members using the invitation system automatically give those who sign up three months PowerNetworker membership free of charge, worth £$€30.00. You can sign up to BlackStar from £$€39.99 per month, see the details here >. We have also introduced a PowerNetworker starter pack giving 4 months for the price of 2, with the current offer to all members to sign up for 12 months at a 60% discount remaining at least until the end of the year. There's never been a better time to lock into great value memberships at Ecademy than those available today! Upgrade now > Click on the Upgrade button (top right on all pages) for more details on all the above membership services. Blogs, Comments and Likes Currently the default blogs view is "by date and liked" which highlights the blogs that are most liked in each day. That's good, but it makes it hard for people posting later in the day to get seen by the community. We've introduced a new 'activity' based view which will be the default. In this view, a new blog will go to the top of the list. Activity on a blogs (i.e when someone either Comments or Likes the blog or Likes a comment) will push that blog to the top of the list, irrespective of the date the blog was posted. This means that the list will be very dynamic, with the most active content in view, as activity wanes, so the content will drift down the list, but it can become visible again when activity restarts. All the other views remain available with the system remembering your last choice of view. In addition when someone Likes a blog or a comment that you have written a notification will be sent to you. There's a new notification switch in your account settings to switch off the notifications if you don't want to receive them, it's defaulted to "on". This is a great way to know who has noticed your content and taken action to support you by liking it, and so enabling you to engage with them further. Liking good content therefore brings you to the attention of authors. Our intention here is to enable authors to be seen, to attract attention from others as they get to "Know you" and to notify you when someone engages with the content you have provided and demonstrate that they "Like you". Conversational engagement at that time will lead to people who "Follow you" and enable you to develop deeper relationships with those in your active network, from which we know business and support will flow. Read Ecademy Founder Penny Power's new book "know me, like me, follow me" for more on the above - you can download a free chapter >. We've also tweaked the display of Blogs to make them easier to use. The reply to this comment link has been moved left and the font made normal sized to make it more obvious, and the the indent on a threaded comment has been increased to make the discussions clearer. The author of their blog can remove comments if they wish - plus anyone can now report spam on every blog and comment via the new link in the footers (same for Group threads). Finally, if you view blogs with the full text display the system uses the larger glyph picture rather than the tiny thumbnail picture. Reporting Spam, Blocking, Messaging The Challenge Increasingly in Social Networks unwanted messages can swamp the content that you do want to see. Progressively Ecademy have enabled members to have greater control over their own content. Group leaders and Blog Authors can remove inappropriate content from their groups or blogs. Despite that concerns about the level of unwanted content continue to affect many sites. Ecademy is keen to be as open as possible but still provide appropriate controls to members. This month we are making some major changes to help every member control and enhance the experience they have when using Ecademy. Reporting spam and blocking future contact When you are viewing messages in your inbox you will now have two additional links, [block] [report spam]. Clicking block will stop that person contacting you again, report spam will flag their record, it won't alert them to who flagged them, nor take any action at that point. The support team will review those with multiple flags and seek to educate the person on better usage of the site. The worst or persistent offenders may have their accounts suspended and/or permanently removed. When you view messages with a specific individual we have added an additional link [delete contact] against each message to make it easier to completely break the connection with a specific person. People, blogs, blog comments, and group thread messages now have a new link [report spam] which logs both the person and the URL of the content in question. Again this allows the support team to take action where necessary. Reporting Spam does not block the contact or notify the author, but is accessible to the Support and Best Practice teams. Ignoring contact requests We've added a new option when accepting contacts, "ignore" this means you can simply ignore a connection request without blocking further contact from that person, and in addition when this option is chosen the contact request messages will be marked as read and removed from your new inbox automatically. Messaging for non subscribing members With the ability to easily report spam and ignore contact requests, non subscribing members will again be able to reply to any message, contact request or contact message. Whilst we had to restrict this functionality due to abuse by a few, we now feel that with the ability of all members to report abuse and spam easily and block further contact we can now open messaging up again for the benefit of all members and subscribers. With the vigilance of the community any irresponsible minority should not be able to misuse the site, enabling us all to focus on building our networks and growing our businesses. Group Support Groups are a key part of Ecademy and a number of statistics are available to members and group leaders. When you visit a group we already provide statistics about the group in the right hand column, visible to all. Group leaders get some additional statistics which we have now enhanced to include details of the numbers of members who accept email from the group leaders, and how many members have the notification settings or each of "None", "Daily", "Immediate" and "Immediate-All". These additional statistics will help group leaders to understand the dynamics of their group, and how effective posting and commenting in the group will be. We cannot provide information about who is in each group for reasons of privacy. You can access these stats from the Group Admin menu visible only on the groups which you lead. Existing stats include counts of the number of contributing members, members by membership level and the most and least active members. Collectively these allow you to manage and support members and monitor activity in your group. Help and support We've replaced 'Video Help' in the second level menu with  link directly to the Help section - the video help can be found via the help pages. This centralises all the support and help pages making it easier for members to source the support that they seek to find. Improvements and fault fixes We've tidied up a number of niggles left over from the migration to the new site, and made more of the terminology throughout the site consistent. For BlackStars we've made sure that all events get properly allocated when they are BlackStar Regional events linked to a BlackStar regional club. For BlackStar regional leaders setting up events we now prefil the settings to provide consistency and for BlackStar members visiting the Events from any BlackStar club will link to all BlackStar events. We've improved the layout of the logged out home page and improved the messaging, especially if someone arrives via an invite, so there is a clean and consistent look and feel for all visitors. On your Status Update we've corrected a fault that allowed posting of an empty status or with the default text "What are you doing?", the Update Status button is unavailable until something is typed into the field.

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The Ecademy Team

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BlackStar PAYG, Twitter, NetNews, Support

September 2009 BlackStar - Pay As You GoTwitterNetNewsSupportBlackStar - Pay As You Go Available now, Ecademy has introduced a new BlackStar product to the range of membership services which will enable many more members to take advantage of BlackStar services without the upfront minimum financial commitment and at a very affordable price. It's become very clear that BlackStar Foundation Life Membership provides great value when utilising the online elements of the product to share and collaborate, leverage the relationships built and further enhance reputation while meeting regularly online and/or face to face. The BlackStar City Leaders and many members have provided great feedback about the BlackStar product and we are grateful for their support and guidance in this area. Current market conditions remain difficult and Ecademy is keen to help businesses build resilience and strength through, and within, their networks. BlackStar Foundation Life and BlackStar Membership Services: Trust. Belonging. Sophistication. Resilience. Kudos. Openness. Belief. Sharing. Visibility. Honesty. Support. Friendship. Development. Advocates. Referrals. Productivity. Growth. BlackStar No minimum financial commitmentNo minimum termAffordable monthly subscriptionEnhanced visibility through exclusive social media toolsTargeted conversations within communityAccess to social media supportAccess to social media trainingGlobal BlackStar CommunityLocal Regional Private GroupsSpecial Interest Private GroupsBoardroom Groups - learning and mentoringExclusive networking eventsExclusive Boardroom events - learning and mentoring BlackStar Foundation Life 600 committed members in 40 countriesOwnership of membershipNothing more to pay for membershipEstablished group built of five yearsKnowledge base forumEnhanced visibility through exclusive social media toolsTargeted conversations within communityFree social media training and supportGlobal Private Group (Foundation Life only)Global BlackStar CommunityLocal Regional Private GroupsSpecial Interest Private GroupsBoardroom Groups - learning and mentoringExclusive networking eventsExclusive Boardroom events - learning and mentoring Members choosing this new "pay as you go" BlackStar subscription will also benefit from membership of a new group "The BlackStar Community" alongside all existing BlackStar Foundation Life Members. BlackStar subscription members will also be able to join all existing Regional Groups to attend local events as well as join or create Boardrooms for ongoing learning and mentoring. Ecademy Founder Penny Power and Membership Manager William Buist will be launching the new BlackStar product in the United States at the Chicago meeting on October 7th along with a launch of Penny's new book "know me, like me, follow me" who message is at the heart of the design of the membership services at Ecademy. Introductory Price A limited introductory offer for the new BlackStar product is now available at just £/E/$ 40.00 per month with no minimum financial commitment (previously £/E/$ 3,000). Ecademy has a strong and vibrant BlackStar Community across the globe, join and be a part of it here > Ecademy Membership Services: Free Membership, the starting point for most Ecademists provides a route to reactive networking PowerNetworker remains unaltered providing personal proactive networking and SEOBlackStar, a new affordable subscription based membership, with no minimum financial commitment, that provides additional social media tools for support, collaboration and accelerated networking. BlackStar Foundation Life Membership provides personal and private collaboration and accelerated global networking, additional social media tools with training and support, as well as ownership of the membership with nothing more to pay Click on the Upgrade button (top right on all pages) for more details on all the above membership services. Twitter The system will now add the @name to the start of the suggested text based on who wrote what you're tweeting. If the author has authorised twitter then we will use the name they authorised. If not we use the name associated with the first twitter feed they added to Internet NetNews. When you use this feature you are of course free to edit any or all of the text that is tweeted before sending it. NetNews We have enhanced the drop down's menu on the home page for viewing and reading NetNews when logged in. The drop down menu (on the right hand side) now has "Everyone", "Everyone + Internet", "Spotlight" options. Your last choice is remembered. The Default is Netnews from everyone without internet entries, which gives all the activity on Ecademy. Don't forget you can comment directly on a Net News entry and so you can strike up a conversation there, when you do this the originator is notified by email and when they reply you will be notified. It's a great way to have short conversations about current activity. Support We have added a new support option in relation to "Payment Queries" following feedback in the user group that getting information about payment issues such as Changing Credit card details and finding your payment account details on Worldpay or Paypal. We'd like to thank members who highlighted this gap in the support service for their help in this area.

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The Ecademy Team

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New Book - know me, like me, follow me

© Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me provides the insight to the philosophies of the new world. The need for Open, Random and Supportive networking and business processes that enables individuals to create a brand and a reputation that will support their dreams, goals and financial desires all though the effective use of Social Media and Social Networking. Penny interviewed over 45 leading global experts on how they leverage social media and social networks and has created a book that shares their knowledge. If you think simply having a presence in social media will help you grow your business, you are wrong. Forming relationships, being part of a community and being talked about by others should be your goal. Penny will help you to embrace and immerse yourself so that you become part of this 'individual revolution' that is marking the 21st Century and moving us all forward from the 150 years of 'industrial and company power'. Free Chapter! Download "A CHANGING WORLD - THE INDIVIDUAL CAPITALIST" > Buy your copy of the book on Amazon here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy v4 web site now LIVE!

September 2009 Well we're finally live with the brand new web site. It's almost a year since work began on this, version 4 of the Ecademy Social Business Networking site. We've taken a lot of your feedback and comments on usability and simplified the navigation to lots of areas of the site as well as adding industry advancements to many areas. With two columns and fewer menus, navigating the site will be much quicker. Many familiar functions have been moved to Ajax windows so you can comment or send a message to other members more quickly and easily. As per the recent announcement, the left column is for the main content area (note this is a little smaller than the current site, so large images may not fit on the new site, the max width is now 589 in the left column), the right contains relevant context based links to other content. For example, when you view a profile you can see that persons recent activity in the right hand column as well as who "Likes" them etc. NetNews on the home page is now dynamic and will regularly refresh so you can see activity in real time of everyone or just your Spotlight or you can pause it, with a comment feature directly on the NetNews entries with the originator notified when a comment is made (you can opt out of these messages). Subscribers can also opt to send a private message to the originator, through a much simplified message form without leaving the NetNews page. It's a great way to ask a quick question or have a short open conversation. How to use the new site Hopefully you will find the new site much easier to use - and where you can just click around to explore! To help speed up things up we've launched a series of how to videos to help guide the navigation of the site and guide you use of it, we will be adding more over the coming weeks. Click the "Video Help" in the blue menu bar when on the home page to view. Clubs become groups "Clubs" are being renamed "Groups" and "Contacts" renamed "People", because both words are better descriptions and widely used. Account Verification Included with the version 4 web site is new system to allow members to confirm that they are using their real name on Ecademy to help improve the trust and security in dealing with others on the network. BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers will display an Account Verified badge on their profile once the system goes live by confirming that they are the person named in the account and that they will abide by the terms and conditions of this initiative. Ecademy will be able to check that a payment has been made through the Ecademy systems using a valid credit or debit card via our secure payment partners Worldpay, or through Paypal, which also incorporates identity validation in their systems. This means we are able to offer validation to most past Subscribers free of charge as well as all current ones. Non-verified accounts will be identified to ensure clarity and transparency, Members who have never made a validated payment will be able to validate their account through a small payment ($5 / £5 / E5) which will enable them to confirm that the account is in their real name and display the Account Verified Safe Networking badge, so we urge all members to verify their account as quickly as possible. To learn more and to verify your account click here > Your content and profile We've tested a lot of content but a new layout cannot be guaranteed to display everything exactly as you might wish. If you don't use very large images and stick to simple HTML and text then it's likely that everything will look superb in the new layout, but we do know that some issues can emerge if there are images wider than the column now supports. Another area that can (but may not) cause an issue is elements defined in HTML tags that have widths greater than 589 pixels. You may need to resize larger images and redefine elements that are larger than that to get the best possible look for your content. In the previous version of the Ecademy site malformed HTML can have an effect on the layout of the whole page and we've made changes to make the site more tolerant of inadvertent errors. These changes should make your content appear properly even if someone else makes an error in their HTML ensuring that you present a reliable face to the outside world. There are bound to be a few issues that need ironing so as always, we welcome feedback and suggestions in the Ecademy User Group and thank you for your understanding and support. On behalf of all the Ecademy team: "Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support and we hope you enjoy the new site!"

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy V4, Verification, Content, Europe

August 2009 Ecademy.com version 4 launches September 11th 2009 How to use the new site Account Verification Preparing your content and profile Jan Mulder President of Ecademy EuropeEcademy.com version 4 launches September 11th 2009 The waiting is nearly over, testing has gone very well and we are moving into the final phase before implementing the changeover sometime during the day on September 11th. This change will inevitably mean a short period of interruption in service on that day and we will notify you through blog posts and in the user group and keep the disruption to a minimum. It is a major change and there will be some elements that may not work as you are used to. We've taken a lot of feedback and comment on usability and simplified the navigation to lots of areas of the site - but it may take little time to learn. With two columns and fewer menus navigating the site will be much quicker. Many familiar functions have been moved to Ajax windows so you can comment or send a message to other members more quickly and easily. The left column is for the main content area (note this is a little smaller than the curent site, so large images may not fit on the new site, the max width is now 589 in the left column), the right contains relevant context based links to other content. So, when you view a profile you can see that persons recent activity in the right hand column for example. NetNews is now dynamic and the page will regularly refresh so you can see activity in real time or you can pause it, with a comment feature directly on the NetNews entries with the originator notified when a comment is made (you can opt out of these messages). Subscribers can opt to send a private message to the originator, through a much simplified message form without leaving the NetNews page. It's a great way to ask a quick question or have a short open conversation. The home page displays all NetNews with navigation buttons (including a pause button to stop and start the live feed), with a link to the main NetNews page with links to refine the stream to look at NetNews from your contacts, your spotlight or an individual. How to use the new site We'll be launching a series of how to videos to help guide the navigation of the site and guide you use of it. So look out for those on Launch day. Of course you have to find them so we'll be putting links to them on the blogs pages. You'll find the blogs pages from the top menu bar which will look like this:- Clubs become groups "Clubs" are being renamed "Groups" and "Contacts" renamed "People", because both words are better descriptions and widely used. Account Verification Included with the version 4 web site will be a new system to allow members to confirm that they are using their real name on Ecademy to help improve the trust and security in dealing with others on the network. BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers will display an Account Verified badge on their profile once the system goes live by confirming that they are the person named in the account and that they will abide by the terms and conditions of this initiative. We'll check that a payment has been made through the Ecademy systems using a valid credit or debit card via Worldpay, or through Paypal, which also incorporates identity validation in their systems. This means we are able to offer validation to most past Subscribers free of charge as well as all current ones. Non-verified accounts will be identified to ensure clarity and transparency, Members who have never made a validated payment will be able to validate their account through a small payment which, once cleared, will enable them to confirm that the account is in their real name and display the Account Verified Safe Networking badge, so we urge all members to verify their account as quickly as possible after the new site goes live on September 11th. Preparing your content and profile We've tested a lot of content but a new layout cannot be guaranteed to display everything exactly as you might wish. If you don't use very large images and stick to simple HTML and text then it's likely that everything will look superb in the new layout, but we do know that some issues can emerge if there are images wider than the column now supports. Another area that can (but may not) cause an issue is elements defined in HTML tags that have widths greater than 589 pixels. You may need to resize larger images and redefine elements that are larger than that to get the best possible look for your content. In the current version of Ecademy malformed HTML can have an effect on the layout of the whole page and we've made changes to make the site more tolerant of inadvertent errors. These changes should make your content appear properly even if someone else makes an error in their HTML ensuring that you present a reliable face to the outside world. There are bound to be a few issues that need ironing out once live, throughout this period, as always, we welcome feedback and suggestions in the Ecademy User Group. Jan Mulder President of Ecademy Europe It's a great pleasure to announce that Jan Mulder has joined the Ecademy Management Team as President of Ecademy Europe. Jan will be working closely with the Management team, existing BlackStar City Leaders and Members bringing training, events and other services across Europe. Please do connect with Jan here > and join us in wishing him every success in this new and challenging role!

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The Ecademy Team

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Messaging, Blogs, Reporting, Safe Networking

July 2009 Testimonials and MessagingBlogs and CommentsReporting Abuse on EcademySafe Networking Testimonials and Messaging BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers can leave unlimited testimonials and initiate messages with anyone using Ecademy. Some members have used testimonials to send messages or advertise to other members rather than recommending the recipient to others. In order to reduce the impact of this misuse of the system free Members will be restricted to leaving a maximum of one testimonial per day. Paying subscribers won't be affected by this change. We have made a change to the messaging system to seperate network messages and notifications to ensure more value stays with paying BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers and to also address spam messages. Free Members are still able to reply to network messages sent to them, but are not able to reply to contact mass messages (such as invitations to join a club or event) or Add Contact request messages. Members can still contribute to Blog threads, initiate threads in the Clubs they belong to, as well as running a club and liking and tweeting content of others. BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers may send and respond to an unlimited amount of messages and notifications. Blogs and Comments Following the introduction of author moderation for Blogs last month which allowed those posting blog entries to hide comments made by others, and the introduction of personal URL's for members blogs has been a success, this is in addition to your vanity url for your profile, they both use the same username, for example: Blog URL: http://www.ecademy.com/blog/penny.power Profile URL: http://www.ecademy.com/user/penny.power Personal blogs hosted on Wordpress or Typepad enable comments to be seen by any visitor to the blog but on Ecademy comments have only been seen by those who are logged in. We have therefore made comments visible to visitors who are not logged in. Comments will not be indexed by the search engines. Personal blogs are a great way to build visibility for your expertise, but are challenged by the difficulty of building a following of regular readers, who benefit from the knowledge and expertise that you share through the blog. Building your personal blog on Ecademy gives access to a ready made potential audience of several hundred thousand unique visitors a month. If you don't have a blog for your business having a regular blogging strategy on Ecademy will attract readers quickly, helping your readers to get to know you. It will allow you to build your visibility and credibility, allowing them to like you, and engage them in comments and conversation with those that choose to follow you. Hosing your Blog on Ecademy is a great way to share knowledge and demonstrate your expertise for less than €1 a week in Europe, £1 a week in the UK, or $1 a week elsewhere. Upgrade here > Reporting abuse on Ecademy We are keen to ensure that all Members and subscribers find Ecademy a safe place to network and one where everyone respects the ethos and terms and conditions of operating on the site. We are working on a number of initiatives to help everyone to confirm their identity (see below). Some activity on Ecademy is inappropriate but it is a very busy site and isn't pro-actively monitored, so we are very keen to ensure that everyone can easily raise concerns about activity which they feel is inappropriate. Until now that has been done by visiting the profile of the person concerned and clicking the 'feedback' link. Feedback to us about this system tells us that it is not clear how to report inappropriate activity, and that means that abuse of the system is sometimes not reported. We firmly believe that the community want ot help ensure that the environment is a safe one and we should design the system to ensure that abusinve or inappropriate behaviour is brought to the Best Practice teams attention so that they can take appropriate action to recommend, advise and educate members on appropriate use of the site, or in rare exceptions take more serious action in the interests of the membership as a whole. Members will see links to report abuse in various areas of the site to make it simpler for members to report activity they feel is inappropriate. When these links are used the Best Practice team will review the activity on the site and take appropriate action in confidence. The identity of the person reporting abuse will not be disclosed to the other party. For clarity, Ecademy will review activity on, and use of, the Ecademy site in the context of the terms of use and cannot intervene on matters which relate to activity that takes place elsewhere. Safe Networking Along with the new site design Ecademy will introduce a new system to allow members to confirm that they are using their real name on Ecademy to help improve the trust and security in dealing with others on the network. BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers will display an Account Verified badge on their profile once the system goes live by confirming that they are the person named in the account and that they will abide by the terms and conditions of this initiative. We'll check that a payment has been made through the Ecademy systems using a valid credit or debit card via Worldpay, or through Paypal, which also incorporates identity validation in their systems. This means we are able to offer validation to most past Subscribers free of charge as well as all current ones. Non-verified accounts will be identified to ensure clarity and transparency, Members who have never made a validated payment will be able to validate their account through a small payment which, once cleared, will enable them to confirm that the account is in their real name and display the Account Verified Safe Networking badge.

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The Ecademy Team

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Identity Verification

June 2009 Identity Verification - A new initiative from Ecademy Ecademy will shortly introduce a new system to allow all members to confirm that they are using their real name on Ecademy to help improve the trust and security in dealing with others on the network. BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers will soon be able to display an "Account Verified" badge on their profile once the system goes live by confirming that they are the person named in the account and that they will abide by the terms and conditions of this initiative. We'll check that a payment has been made through the Ecademy systems using a valid credit or debit card via Worldpay, or through Paypal, which also incorporates identity validation in their systems. This means we are able to offer validation to most past Subscribers free of charge as well as all current ones. Non-verified accounts will be identified to ensure clarity and transparency as Ecademy take identity and trust very seriously (see this Statement on fake accounts). Members who have never made a validated payment will be able to validate their account through a small payment which, once cleared, will enable them to confirm that the account is in their real name and display the Account Verified Safe Networking badge. Watch out for more announcements in the coming weeks.

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The Ecademy Team

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Twitter, Like, Blogs, Messaging

June 2009 Twitter Support Like - Finding the best content and peopleBlogs - Moderation and URL Message Archive Future development Twitter support We've made further improvements and developments to the Social Media tools on the site. We've noticed really great take up of the Twitter functions in particular and bookmarking in general on the site. This demonstrates how members are helping others by publicising content and profiles they value elsewhere. You can now see who is using these functions the most through the bookmarking league tables here > You can sort any of the columns, just click the title heading. We've also added a number of remaining characters when you use the Twitter box. We have also integrated your Current Status > into Twitter enabling you to send updates to your Twitter account while at the same time alerting people on Ecademy. By guiding your network to read top quality content you'll build your reputation by association, we recommend that you have a strong presence in topics that relate to you and your business as well as people you rate. One way to be seen in topical discussions on Twitter is to use a relevant hashtag, and we recommend choosing a hashtag relevant to your market. You can now control a default hashtag that Ecademy will include on every Tweet you make (you can still edit it if you wish before sending), you can set this default on the Twitter Authorisation settings > reached from the menu when editing your profile. Together with helping you to find the best current content (see below "Like") these changes make Ecademy a very effective publishing and recommendation hub, enabling your brand and online reputation to reach out much further. Like - Finding the best content and people We've made further improvements and developments in the LIKE functions on the site. We've made some changes to the default view of blogs so that within each day the most Liked blogs appear first - this is to help new visitors to the page to find the best content quickly and engage with it. The heading of the page shows which view you are using and you can see each view by selecting from the drop down on the top right of the blogs list. The list also now remembers your last choice so you can set your preferred default view. When you like a blog, you immediately make it more visible to people arriving at the blogs page so it is an immediate help for the author. In addition you get the option to Tweet the blog and if you include hashtags for your chosen area (see above) then you will help others with a shared interest to find the content too. Blogs - Moderation and URL Following extensive feedback and discussion with members in the User Group and following a review of other blogging tools we have concluded that for some members the two alternatives of either blogging with open comments or closing the blog completely to comments don't reflect either normal practice, nor Ecademy's wish to allow members to utilise Ecademy to demonstrate their value and expertise. As a result with immediate effect Blog authors can choose to hide comments made on their content and position blogs in a more personally related manner and allow authors to demonstrate expertise more effectively. As a result of this change Subscribers can run an Ecademy blog much as they can with Wordpress, Blogger or other blogging software, but with a large audience already visiting the site every day. Your Blog hosted on Ecademy now also has a vanity URL based on your username set in your login details for your account here >. This is in addition to your vanity url for your profile, they both use the same username, for example: Blog URL: http://www.ecademy.com/blog/penny.power Profile URL: http://www.ecademy.com/user/penny.power Blogging is another benefit for BlackStar and PowerNetworker™ subscribers, host your Blog on Ecademy by upgrading your membership here now > Changes to Messaging Function This month we have introduced an archive facility to network messaging. This enables members to mark messages as archived so that they do not appear in the inbox, Archived messages can be re-displayed through the use of the appropriate filter tickbox at the top of your Inbox. The settings you choose on the filters is now remembered too, taken together this gives the greatest possible level of control over the view of messages in the Inbox on Ecademy that we have ever had. As always we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group, where the need for Message archiving was extensively discussed and we would like to thank all members for the collaborative approach shown in developing the requirements. Future Web Site Developments There are major changes coming to the background functionality, usability and presentation of the Ecademy site. We are aiming to bring these significant changes to you in the autumn. Throughout this period, as always, we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group. Sneak Peaks are available here and here. We will be seeking comments on the new design in that group as development progresses too, if you want to take part in that process please join the club here >.

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The Ecademy Team

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Like, Twitter, Social Media, BlackStar

May 2009 Subscription price reductionLike - Helping others to find the best content and peopleTwitter IntegrationPermalinksEcademy Web Site and Social MediaBlackStar Subscription price reduction Remember to take advantage of the current membership offer of a 60% discount that will help with growing your business in these tough times. You can upgrade to PowerNetworker for just £49.99 in the UK (inc VAT) €49.99 in Europe and $ 49.99 in North America. You will have access to a host of social media tools including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your profile and content to help with your marketing, as well as unlimited networking messages helping you to connect with new contacts more quickly. Join the thousands of PowerNetworkers using Ecademy to grow their business - upgrade now here > Like - Helping others to find the best content and people We've made a few changes following feedback from members and a review of the early operation of the "Like" system. We've been delighted with the quality of the blogs that have been identified by members as most liked - we've changed the list of most liked blogs to show the ones most liked from those posted in the last 30 days, this list will change regularly and reflect what's current and topical and being liked by the community. We may add other lists from time to time so keep watching. We've chosen the blogs to feature in this newsletter from the most "Liked" blogs written in May - you can see them all by following the earlier link. We'll continue to include some of the most "Liked" content every month. You can help make sure that the very content is recognised and featured by giving the author an electronic thumbs up and "Liking" the content you want to see. We've made it a lot easier to mark the content that you do like as "Liked" and now when you do this the page doesn't need to refresh - that makes a big improvement in speed. We've also integrated the new Twitter function (see below "Twitter Integration") into "Like" - so when you click the "Like" link you are also asked if you want Twitter the content as well making it quick and easy to extend you're profile and the content you Like on Ecademy to a wider audience. We've made some changes to the default view of blogs as follows now with 5 sort orders: - By Date (default) - By Date and Liked (date posted, but sorted by most liked within each day) - By last Comment - By recently liked (date liked and then by most liked within each day) - By most liked- last 30 days (highest score for blogs posted in last 30 days) You can see each view by selecting from the drop down on the top right of the blogs list. We've made sure that authors of content can't "Like" their own content, so the "Liked" score reflects the views of others entirely. In the list of blogs we've added pictures of the authors so you can see the people you want read frequently more easily. We've also added some checks to ensure that robots and scripts can't automate the like process or artificially support people or content unfairly. Twitter Integration Twitter helps you to share knowledge, and on Ecademy we want to help members leverage their activity everywhere using Social Media, to do that best members should: be creating content (on Ecademy) to be found - this way you can tweet your content Have a network as knowledge sharing without a network means no one can hear you. Ecademy is a great place to build your network of business people that share in these values. You'll see the twitter next to most content titles throughout the [public] areas of Ecademy. This enables you to twitter a link to that content (highlight some text first and we'll send that in the tweet too!) We've simplified this now using the offilcial Twitter Authentication (which doesn't require you to reveal your twitter password) and once authorised with Twitter you can tweet content quickly and easily. You only need to authorise this once, and we'll also automatically set up your twitter feed account into Ecademy when you first authorise your account. We strongly recommend running and authorising your Twitter account as a great additional tool to use alongside the content you are generating here and also just as importantly, highlighting and Tweeting other peoples content you find of value. This is another way to help other people by getting their message out to your audience in Twitter and for others to help you by doing the same. We're using technology that means Tweeting content is fast and doesn't require a page reload, so you can carry on reading whilst Ecademy does the work in the background. Permalinks When you find a good comment, or a comment in a club thread that you want to highlight to others it's quite hard to find the link to it that makes sure others see what you want to highlight. We've added permalinks to allow you to copy the right link to pass to others, or twitter, or email. Like many other sites, the timestamp of each post is now a link and you use that as an anchor to the specific post, comment or thread. In most browsers, hover over the time of the post, and right click, select 'copy link location' and paste that address where you need it. Ecademy Website and Social Media Significant integration with the Social Media tools, starting with Twitter this month and more sites and functions over the next few months is a key strateguc focus for Ecademy. Making it easy for members here to have extensive reach from Ecademy to other sites, making it easy for people to find, follow and interact when they want to do business is critical to success using these tools. Ecademy is dedicated to supporting its members in these important areas. This month we have added FriendFeed as a prominent bookmarking link and if you are a FriendFeed user this works in the same way as other bookmarks. Highlight some text and then click the relevant bookmarking button and follow the prompts from there. It's simple and quick and shares content with your audiences quickly on each of those sites. Social Media Training Social Media creates the width needed to find and build the relationships through Social Networking and both are at the heart of Ecademy. Nick Tadd, Ecademy's Accredited Social Media Training partner, and Ecademy Chairman Thomas Power are jointly running the Social Media Graffiti club which demystifies and simplifies the whole range of Social Media sites and ways to link them. Join the club here >. Membership is free to all Ecademy Members. Nick is running a training course on Wednesday 24th June from 8:30am to 7:00 pm in Guildford, UK. This intensive day is a brilliant starter for those who need to get their social media work up and running quickly - Book here > Future Web Site Developments There are major changes coming to the background functionality, usability and presentation of the Ecademy site. We are aiming to make these significant changes in the autumn. Throughout this period, as always, we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group Club. We will be seeking comments on the new design in that group as development progresses too, if you want to take part in that process please join the club here >. News from BlackStar This month we had winning by sharing in Europe as Bob Nicoll toured various countries spreading the word about BlackStar and BNI and how both have helped him to build a consulting business from Alaska. Bob met many of the BlackStars and has been amazed at the support and help he's had. Ask him, read his profile and watch the video's there and you'll get a flavour for the man behind 'Remember the Ice and other paradigm shifts" The London BlackStar Meeting was a great success with a 90 minute engaging presentation from Jonathan Jay, 8 BlackStar Boardrooms giving focused support to BlackStars business challenges, one to ones and dinner. They are amazing days, see more here >. Do you want to know more about how to utilise BlackStar as the central hub of your social media strategy? BlackStar Open Days are available here >for those who can reach London or send an email to William Buist for more information.

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The Ecademy Team

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Subscriptions, Like, Contacts, Invites, Social Media

April 2009 Subscription price reductionLike - Finding the best content and peopleAdding ContactsInvitesEcademy website and social media - upcoming changes Subscription price reduction We all can see the impact of the recession around us, and the challenges that is giving to members throughout the world. We know that the power of on-line networks in building relationships for generating business is immense. Members will recall that in February we offered a much reduced price membership when you purchased PowerNetworker for a year (60% discount!) and we've know that made a big difference to some members who took up the offer and have had great results from the SEO, Marketplace and Messaging facilities it provides. Many people missed the chance to take advantage of that offer so from today for a limited period you can upgrade to PowerNetworker for just £49.99 in the UK (inc VAT) €49.99 in Europe and $ 49.99 in North America. Come and join the thousands of PowerNetworkers using Ecademy to grow their business as and upgrade now here > Like - Finding the best content and people We've introduced a new function to allow members to recognise content which they like. Throughout the site you'll find this link "Like" appearing just below content such as Blogs and comments, profiles, club threads and comments, etc. Clicking the link registers that you 'Like' this content, displays this icon "Liked" and increases the "Liked" score. (If you make a mistake or change your mind then clicking it again switches it back). Clicking on the number in brackets (the number of "Likes") will take you to other people who "Liked" the content - a great way to connect with people in context of what interests you. We've added a new tab to profiles called 'Like' where you can see what the member has liked in all areas of the site, such as the other blogs or marketplace listings that they like, or clubs that they like. You can also see what content they have provided that others have liked. It's a great way to find other like minded people and connect with them, and a great way to recognise the quality of the content provided. You'll also put an entry into NetNews which your contacts can see - that also helps to attract visitors to the good content and make authors of quality content, providers of great services and products and helpful contributors more visible. Indicating that you 'Like' content is a great way for any member to contribute to others and help them to become more recognised for the contribution that they have made. Subscribing PowerNetworkers and BlackStars will have more weighting when they recognise others and give their endorsement to content by "Liking" and this is reflected in the system. Using the new "Like" feature combined with the use of the Twitter, Facebook or other bookmarking links (now moved for easy use under each title of the content and profile name next to the "Like" feature) will help to spread the word of the great contributions and expertise within the Ecademy community. Adding Contacts and Testimonials After the changes last month we've been delighted with the feedback in relation to contact requests which support the change to require a reason to connect. Initial indications are that there is more thought going into request connections which has resulted in more focus on quality. We wil continue to monitor that aspect of the system and seek further enhancements. Since the change last month we have also made sure that actioning a contact request marks all the relevant messages read so that they don't appear in your new inbox. We would like to thank those that provided feedback to us in that are to ensure that the operation of the various functions involved worked in an efficient way. Members will recall that we restricted the right to leave testimonials to subscribers because of some abuse of the system by a few seeking to use testimonials as an alternative messaging system thus devaluing the Testimonials area. We have now amended the complete restriction to allow free members to leave up to 3 testimonials per day as we felt it was unfair to deny members the right to reward others for good work. Recipients of testimonials can delete the testimonial if they feel it is inappropriate. Inviting others Inviting your friends and colleagues to your network on Ecademy is easy. You can invite individuals when you write a blog or post a marketplace listing - that's useful if you want someone specific to see a particular piece of content or to join a Club. Look out for the fields as you add content or work with your Clubs and build your network and presence here. You can invite people by adding their email addresses either individually, or via your Outlook, Gmail and other accounts directly. There is more detail here >> For free members we'll give you a free months PowerNetworker subscription for each 10 people you invite who sign up. We recommend bringing all your contacts into Ecademy because they can see more of your contributions, and support you through testimonials and comments of their own. When you invite someone to Ecademy you'll be notified if they join, so that you can welcome them. You can chose whether you would like Ecademy to remind them if they don't join for up to three months after you invite them. You can quickly reinvite people that haven't joined yet by going here>> and selecting the appropriate options. Ecademy website and social media - upcoming changes Last month we announced that we were working on some major changes to the design and look and feel of the website and that work has been continuing well. The changes this month to allow members to mark the content they rate as 'Liked' is a further step of our strategy to encourage the community to identify, and influence others to contribute quality content to demonstrate their expertise and values. Significant integration with the Social Media tools and sites is also a key focus, making it easy for members here to have extensive reach on Ecademy and other sites, making it easy for people to find, follow and interact when they want to do business. There are major changes coming to the background functionality and usability and presentation of the site. We are aiming to make significant changes through the year the first of which are detailed above and we intend that the work will be completed in the autumn. Throughout this period, as always, we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group Club. We will be seeking comments on the new design in that group as development progresses too, if you want to take part in that process please join the club here >.

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The Ecademy Team

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Testimonials, Spotlight, Netnews, Inbox

March 2009 Testimonials and ratingsAdding ContactsSpotlight, Netnews and inboxBookmarkingSearchesUpcoming Changes Testimonials and Ratings A number of members have become concerned about misuse of the Testimonial system and we would like to thank them for raising this in the Ecademy User Group (see this thread here >). Ecademy is one of the most open networking platforms on the web and we are keen to keep it as open as possible. Testimonials should be very special, a means for those who have received great service or support to thank the person concerned for doing that. Some, primarily non subscribing members have been using the service to post cut and paste messages to many people. That significantly devalues the service for the subscribing members, *so with immediate effect leaving a testimonial will only be available as a benefit of subscribing as a PowerNetworker and BlackStar member. We are sorry those non subscribing members who used this facility occasionally and appropriately will now be disadvantaged. There are no restrictions on who a subscriber may leave a testimonial for. [*EDIT. Note we have amended Testimonials to enable free members to leave up to 3 testimonials in any 24 hour period] We're also looking at ways to allow members to recognise the great content they see and highlighting it to those in their contact lists and network. We'll continue to make changes that assist members in making content in Ecademy visible in other networks and places. Members who take the opportunity to promote great content for others tend to have their own content supported too, that's all part of the ethos of winning by sharing which is central to Ecademy. One aspect of this means we have changed the "Good" rating to more closely reflect how it has been used by most members for some time. Members are now able to 'Like' a profile they come across which impresses them. When they do that their contacts will be notified through NetNews which will raise the visibility of the person whose profile they liked. Vibrant informative and dynamic profiles will tend to be 'liked' more than blank or bland ones. Adding Contacts Last month we introduced the means of people providing a short message when they wanted to make contact with another member. This was done as a result of feedback from members who wanted to understand what had prompted the request. We've decided to make this field compulsory so all contact requests will require a reason for the request to be added before the contact request is issued. Again we would like to thank those members who engaged with us to help determine the best way to ensure that Ecademy remains an open platform whilst remaining focused on real connections, relationships trust and trade. We've made some presentational changes to some of the functions related to messaging sets of your contacts to display progress to help those with large networks avoid issuing messages more than once. Spotlight, Netnews and Inbox. A further change introduced this month is the first on journey to allow subscribers and free members to segment their contacts. For some time we have allowed members to identify up to 20 others whom they put in their Spotlight. To help members focus on the people in their network who are important to them we have linked Netnews, InterNetNews and Status to this group too, as well as allowing you to see just the messages sent to and from the people you select in your spotlight - so you can now look at the widest Netnews, your contacts, or focus right in on those you select in your spotlight. You'll find links to these views at the top of the relevant pages. We've increased the size your Spotlight can contain to 50 people (up from 25), and recommend that you include those with whom you have built strong links and relationships. By checking your NetNews for your spotlight regularly you'll be able to keep up with the people who are important to you without their content being lost in the volume from the rest of your network. You can see who is keeping up with you by checking who has you in their spotlight here. Add people to your Spotlight by clicking the relevant link on their profile (Spotlight tab) when you visit their profile. We understand that members often only have a few minutes to check on the activity of the people they support in the network and we are looking at other ways to help you focus your efforts, we'll announce further details of developments in this area soon. We've also added more filtering to you Inbox, Outbox and Messages per person pages. Checkboxes at the top of your message pages now allow you to view the following: - Contact Messages - Contact Requests - Spotlight Only - BlackStars Only The above means the default view for your messages is just network messages. Simply click the check boxes for alternative views of your messages. [EDIT The "Contact Messages" and "Contact Requests" are now defaulted to on] Note that now when you reply to a message from your main Inbox, you will be returned to the same place in the Inbox after sending (instead of going back up to the top). This will make it easier to "cherry pick" the messages you want to respond to first. Further update on Bookmarking Last month we simplified the bookmarking icons and functionality making it easier to alert your networks on other sites about great comment. The number of bookmarks being made has risen significantly, but we are getting feedback that suggests members aren't clear about the advantages. Many members are also members of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Those sites offer the possibility of you displaying links to content hosted on other sites for visitors to see your presence there. By linking to relevant, interesting content for your visitors you make yourself more interesting, and attract people to come back to you often. That tends to lead to great conversations and of course business transactions and/or referrals. You don't have to just promote your own content, indeed, we would recommend that you don't. When you read a good piece written by someone else you can highlight it to Facebook, Linked-in or Twitter (or indeed may other sites listed under the + icon) . That demonstrates to your widest network the things that you are interested in and who you recommend. That's all part of winning by sharing and all part of your wider marketing (when you point people to value they value you!) We encourage all members to bookmark content regularly. Searching The revised search procedures introduced last month had a few teething problems, some of which affected the performance of the site. We'd like to apologise for any inconvenience this caused members. We have ironed out these issues and we hope that you are seeing much faster results and more accurate return sets from searching. Upcoming Changes We recognise that, like all major websites, the user interface can seem complicated and hard to learn when there is a wealth of functionality. We are currently working on some major redevelopments that will simplify and clean the visual appearance of the website and make it easier to learn and use. In addition to the existing InterNetNews, we will focused on adding significantly more integration with social media tools and web sites, making it easy for Ecademists here to have extensive reach both on Ecademy and other sites, making it easy for people to find and interact with you when they want to connect and do business. These further improvements will give you the best of both worlds, much more reach "width / quantity / marketing" while still enabling you to connect and build relationships on Ecademy "depth / quality / advocates"). These are major changes to the background functionality and the usability and presentation of the site, we are aiming to make significant changes through the year, the first of which are detailed above and we intend that the work will be completed in the autumn. Throughout this period, as always, we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group Club here >.

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The Ecademy Team

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Survey, SEO, Status, Search

February 2009 Survey ResultsSEO and EcademyStatus and bookmarkingSearching Survey Ecademy's annual independent survey has been completed by Contact MCS. Over 3000 members completed the survey this year and we would like to thank them all for doing so. This survey showed a smaller percentage of respondents based in the UK and considerably more respondents based in Asia and North America which reflects the changes in the membership on the site in the last 12 months. Some key features of the results are:- Ecademy has a smaller percentage of low earning users than the online universe. Typically, Ecademy users with BlackStar membership are found to have the highest average incomes and significantly more BlackStars than other membership groups have a household income of over £100,000 per year. Ecademy users preferred hobbies and interests continue to show a remarkable consistency over all surveys . Reading is still clearly the favourite pastime for most Ecademy users - The only changes (of more than 3% against the last survey) were Watching DVDs, eating out and going to the pub - all of which were mentioned by fewer respondents. Nearly half Ecademy users spent more than £500 online in the last 12 months. A quarter spent over £1000. On average, 45% bought something online at least every month. Comparing types of Ecademy member, PowerNetworker and, to an even greater degree BlackStar, members shop more online, buy more products and spend more than other members BlackStar members use business networking significantly more than others to get trusted advice, to find revenue and reduce costs. Thanks once again to all who participated - you can download the survey results here > Special Offer Ecademy is pleased to be able to offer all Ecademy members a 20% discount on all surveys conducted by Contact MCS booked during March and April. They can do all types of online survey, so if you want to know what your visitors think of your site or your company or you just want to know more about them, email Tony Evans on tony@contact-mcs.com. SEO and Ecademy We made a number of changes this month to the way that the Search Engines view Ecademy. Full details are in this post > Since making this announcement a number of questions have been expressed of which we address below: Ecademy is one of the only top business and social networks that encourage blogging, group discussions in Clubs, Marketplace listings and events. There is always lots of genuine and useful content being posted. Because of this, Google loves our business content and visits Ecademy to check it many times a day. As a subscriber, whatever you post on Ecademy will get found fast. The Search engines use complex algorithms to determine relevance because they are seeking to ensure that when someone uses their services the results they get are relevant and appropriate. In line with most other large networks and websites Ecademy has added an indicator (called "nofollow") to the external links provided by members in the content that they write, because Ecademy cannot guarantee that these links are relevant and some are clearly attempts to use Ecademy to gain credence for unrelated sites. Internal links and the external links on your profile, to your website and blogs, and the URL incorporated in Marketplace listings are considered relevant and an important part of using Ecademy in a wider SEO strategy for your websites and other external content and these links will be seen by the Search Engines as relevant to follow. Building good relevant content is linked to your profiles automatically by Ecademy and your profiles are linked to external content through the provided links on those pages. By ensuring that your content on Ecademy is ranked as highly as possible we also ensure that you get the best possible SEO support for your website and blogs and other sites linked in the Marketplace URL. Most major sites which have significant volumes of user generated content take a similar approach, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Twitter being examples. These changes ensure that all members continue to benefit from SEO for their Ecademy content and that the value of the approved links to their sites through profiles and Marketplace listings are maximised. Some members have expressed concern that automatic reposting of Marketplace listings for BlackStar members would be creating multiple pages of identical content, this is not the case as they retain the original URL and the listing is not duplicated - this is in line with best practice. Have you downloaded your comprehensive guide to SEO yet? >. The free guide provides clear advice on how to optimise your activity on Ecademy, and use the facilities here as a PowerNetworker or BlackStar subscriber, to maximise the impact of your profile and your content. To take advantage of the all SEO benefits upgrade your membership to BlackStar or PowerNetworker here > Status and Bookmarking We have moved the status entry box to the top of the Home page so that you can more easily update your current status. The bookmarking links on all pages have been further improved and if you highlight text in content before pressing the bookmarking link then the facebook and linked-in bookmarks pass the highlighted text to those platforms. The Twitter link now uses bit.ly for shortening URL's which can provide additional information about click's from twitter. When you are reading content that is relevant on Ecademy you can use these tools to pass the content to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn accounts and provide relevant knowledge to your networks and contacts on those platforms, and help others by making those references to them. If you contribute high quality content here on Ecademy, others can now more easily highlight it to their networks and contacts, helping you. Ecademy will continue to develop and work with other networks and tools to ensure that using Ecademy is an effective part of your overall social media strategy and that it is as easy as possible to use Social Media through Ecademy to grow your visibility, your reputation and your business. As well as posting content from Ecademy to other sites via the bookmarks you can add your content from other sites into your profile on Ecademy through "NetNews". Add and manage your NetNews feeds here > Searching Being able to search for people and content is an important benefit of Ecademy, particularly the ability to save searches and be alerted to new entries which match the search terms. For some time Ecademy have been redesigning and rebuilding the search facilities and building a new search engine behind the scenes. That's also required the data to be fully re-indexed and the indexes redesigned and tested. This work is now complete and members will not see any difference in the way search is used on Ecademy but the results should be faster. Of course, some searches may not perform exactly as they used to but in almost all cases that will be as a result of accurate results! The new engine supports additional search options to help you find the content you are seeking, in particular, search now supports AND, "+", OR, NOT "-" etc. Additional guidance will be provided in the help system and there is a link to detailed search guidance by the search box. For example there is greater flexibility in searches. eg Search for town:farnham AND last_name:power. The indexes used by the search system are now updated as soon as a change is made to the underlying data. These are major changes to the background functionality, so, as always, we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group Club.

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The Ecademy Team

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SEO Update and Clarification

February 2009 When members use Ecademy as part of their marketing strategy it's important that the content on the site is as effective as possible and that it can be found by people seeking the skills and talents that are abound here. Over the last few years Ecademy has delivered great results for BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers through the effective indexing of content by Google and other search engines. Search Engine Optimisation is a complicated area and is one in which Ecademy is supported by experts. Ecademy are constantly reviewing the way the site works at a technical level and making improvements and changes as the algorithms and approach of the Search Engines change and as a result of a changing activity from other sites, which also impacts the relative effectiveness of any one site, or SEO approach. Ecademy is one of the only top business and social networks that encourage blogging - as well as club discussions, Marketplace listings and meetings. There is always lots of genuine and useful content being posted. Because of this, Google loves our business content and visits Ecademy to check it many times a day. As a subscriber, whatever you post on Ecademy will get found fast. Recently, concern has been expressed by members that there is some confusion about the presentation of comments on Ecademy blogs to the search engines (logged out visitors to the site cannot see the comments but logged in members can). We have decided to resolve any confusion by hiding all comments on blogs to both the search engines and not logged in visitors to the site, effective immediately. Be assured we are not aware of any issues whatsoever with Google or indeed any other search engine, however, some members have been worried by what they have heard in relation to SEO and we apologise for the concern. One of the SEO benefits of Ecademy is how quickly your content posted on Ecademy appears on Google - helping you to get found. In a separate but related issue, as Ecademy has grown, a few members have tried to abuse the system by embedding unnaturally large numbers of links to external sites within their content - particularly within Marketplace. Overtime, this type of "spamming" could start to lessen the importance of genuine Ecademy member content on search engines, as they may start to trust Ecademy content less. The website and blog link that you can add on your Ecademy Profile (that appear towards to top of your Profile) and the link you can add when posting a Marketplace listing (this is the item called "URL" on the Marketplace Post form) will continue to be able to be read, followed and indexed by Google and other search engines. This ensures that BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers still receive SEO benefits as before. All other links that are entered within "body" content - e.g. the main text within a Marketplace listing, Profile text or signatures on Blogs etc - will now not be "followed" by search engines. "Human" visitors will still be able to read and click on these body links. So, when someone finds your Ecademy content on Google etc. and visits it on Ecademy, they will still be able to find the web pages you would like them to visit. This ensures that no "spamming" of Google takes place and the focus is on the right aspects of Ecademy's SEO effectiveness. Please read the free Ecademy Guide to SEO here > which fully explains how best to optimise your Ecademy content so that it is more easily found on all major search engines. We'll continue to monitor the impact of the changes and, inevitably, make further changes in future to continue to optimise the impact of Ecademy content for BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers to the site. To upgrade and start getting these SEO benefits from your membership click here >. As always we welcome feedback in the Ecademy User Group on how we can continue to improve our services, please post your comments here >, thank you.

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The Ecademy Team

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Birthday Offers! Survey

January 2009 Happy Birthday Ecademy!Annual Member SurveyHappy Birthday Ecademy! Ecademy is 11 years old in February and to celebrate we've got some great offers for members! Ecademy has evolved in to the home for small business and in particular business owners, providing a trusted place where business happens through Social Media and people. It has never been a better time to be incorporating Social Networking and Social Media as a part of your strategy, and during 2009 we'll be teaching and supporting you, helping you to build and extend your profile and reputation to further grow your business. Thank you to all members for your continued support - you'll be able to hear more about current thinking in this area at the Ecademy Birthday party in London and shortly afterwards on Ecademy TV. Take a look at these two great offers to celebrate our 11th Birthday - they are only available in February: OFFER 1 - Upgrade to PowerNetworker Upgrade to PowerNetworker during February and get 12 months membership for just £49.99 in the UK, €49.99 in Europe, $49.99 elsewhere. That's less than £1/€1/$1 per week - over 50% off! PowerNetworker membership gives you access to a host of benefits, (see the full details here >> ) including significant Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your profile and content as well as unlimited networking messages. For more information on PowerNetworker and to upgrade click here > OFFER 2 - Upgrade to BlackStar Upgrade to BlackStar during February for just £999.99 in the UK €999.99 in Europe and $999.99 elsewhere for 13 months membership. SAVE 40% guaranteed for life! BlackStar is Ecademy's premier membership. A community of talented and influential people that can provide referrals, support, expertise and services for each others businesses and specific projects. For more information on BlackStar and to upgrade click here > For both offers UK Pricing includes VAT, Other prices exclude VAT which will be added only where Ecademy is required to do so. Have you downloaded your comprehensive guide to SEO yet? >. The free guide provides clear advice on how to optimise your activity on Ecademy, and use the facilities here as a PowerNetworker or BlackStar subscriber, to maximise the impact of your profile and your content. Come and Celebrate the 11th Birthday with the Founders Come and celebrate our Birthday with Founder Penny Power, Chairman, Thomas Power, Chief Executive Glenn Watkins and other members of the Ecademy Team in London UK on February the 19th. Half price tickets are currently on sale for just £10, note a limited number are available at this price. Thanks to the Grosvenor Victoria for sponsoring this event. The entry fee includes a welcome drink (red or white wine, beer or soft drink) expert speakers and networking sessions. Payment on the door is £25. Expert Speakers: Thomas Power, Ecademy Chairman "Bleeding Edge Networking" Thomas will be sharing some of the highs and some of the challenges of building a Business Social Network and why they are now critical for every business. David Smith, Chief Executive, Global Futures and Foresight: "All Change" People, society, technology, economies, business and the weather are all changing and all changing relatively rapidly. David will talk about some of the key drivers impacting us and discuss some of the consequences and opportunities. Book here > now to secure your place. Membership Survey We have launched our annual survey to help us all understand who is in the network, and to help us make sure that the site reflects the users who are here. Last years record response of over 2,000 replies was fantastic, help us to make this another record breaking year. We will, as always, share the results with all members and we would like to thank you all in advance for your participation. The survey is conducted according to the Market Research Society Code of Conduct by an independent marketing company. Click here > now to take part - thank you! A minor change has been made to the online calendar - the "Meetings" tab has been renamed "Events" to reflect the majority of usage.

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The Ecademy Team

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SEO, BlackStar, 2008 and 2009

December 2008 Contacts, IMA's and SEOBlackStar 2009Review of 2008 - What a year it's been! Contact's, IMA's and SEO. When you reject a request to connect you also block the person from contacting you again. We've added a function to allow you to see the people that you have blocked - to access this page, click on the contacts tab and then select it from the left hand list. You can then chose to unblock contact from those you have blocked in the past. This page will also tell you how many people have blocked you. On your contact list you can also now see who is in your full contacts list, or those who were recently online and filter to those who are in each of the four colours. Have you downloaded your comprehensive guide to SEO yet? >. The guide provides clear advice on how to optimise your activity on Ecademy, and use the facilities here as a subscriber, to maximise the impact of the content you provide. We know the best results come to those who complete these SEO elements for every piece of content. Subscribers are able to set up default keywords or descriptions for Blogs, Marketplace listings, and meetings and we've brought the fields for Profiles and each club that you run to one page. To take advantage of these features and to improve your search engine visibility as quickly as possible - Upgrade here >> Download your free guide to SEO here >> BlackStar 2009 2008 has been an outstanding year for BlackStars. We've recently launched the BlackStar Academy, and build on an extensive suite of face to face training sessions which are being rolled out around the world. In 2009 we'll be delivering training to BlackStars through Webcasts and teleconferences as well. There are Members in 32 countries around the world, supported by a growing team including seven City Leaders and others. A key element of BlackStar is the off line elements. In 2008 Ecademy supported BlackStar Meetings were held in London, Surrey, Manchester, New York, Atlanta, Dubai, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bristol, Mechelen/Brussels and other cities. Many meetings took place between smaller groups around the world. One aspect of joining BlackStar is that everyone comes in with the intention of being a member for the long term. When you first meet someone in most networking environments it's difficult to judge how long the relationship you are starting to build will last, and it's hard for you and the other person to demonstrate that they'll be around to help you if you help them now. It's unfortunate, but none the less true, that there is a resistance to helping someone you have just met, over someone that has demonstrated their intention to be around for a long time, because only with the later is the investment of time likely to see a positive return. That intention to be around for the long term is clear within BlackStar, that's why new members find the environment considerably more supportive than they imagined before they join. There is more information about BlackStar in 2008 and our plans for 2009 in this Blog >> and in this club >> which is open to all Members of Ecademy, and if you want to upgrade - Click here >> 2008 What a year it's been! There's been a lot of additions and new features added to Ecademy in the last year, here is just a summary. January: We launched the Training Video's, here>>> now available in the Institute of Networking and New Messages Inbox >>, a feature which many of us find invaluable in making efficient use of our time on Ecademy.February: We launched the Institute of Networking along with a series of guides and downloads available here>>> and celebrated Ecademy's 10th Birthday.March We introduced the SEO keywords and descriptions to your profile and other content.April: We completed the largest infrastructure and supporting software upgrade in Ecademy's history, providing resilience and redundancy to the backbone of the system.May: We revised the home page >> and made significant changes to the Net News >> section, and introducing external feeds >>, allowing members the opportunity to alert their contacts to activity all over the web.June: We introduced the Ecademy Advisors group, and updated and improved the support and feedback systems.July: we introduced functionality to let you see the most recent threads across all your clubs >> and provided club leaders with explicit authority to moderate and manage their clubs.August: We enabled watch thread functionality allowing members to opt in or out of alerts for individual blogs and club threads. This provided a step change in the amount of control over email notifications from Ecademy.September: we provided functionality to all members to request a connection with another member, who can choose to accept or decline that invitation.October: we introduced the IMA profiles and since then over 13,000 people have been profiled and display the result on Ecademy, allowing others better to tailor their messages to the style of the recipient.November: We improved the SEO support for Members and introduced a free SEO guide to help all subscribers maximise this critical benefit.December: We've added some additional functions to support Members wishing to make better use of IMA profiling and to manage your contacts. See the full What's New Log here >> Site Usage through 2008 This year Ecademy's usage, both logged in, and importantly for the visibility of subscribers, logged out increased significantly. The impact of the SEO changes has been dramatic in terms of enabling content on Ecademy to be found by those searching the web for answers and high quality postings in Blogs and Public Clubs are building visibility and awareness of Members to the world. In 2009 this will be critical as competition for attention continues to intensify. We've taken a look at the activity on the site in 2008 and, because the absolute numbers of each type of activity vary considerably in scale, re-based the numbers to the average of the first quarter of 2008 to create an activity index. Whilst there is some monthly variation (and we can see that members took holidays in August!) the overall growth in Blogs and Comments on them is significant, and there is growing engagement with the blogs too. It's worth remembering that comments are visible only inside Ecademy to logged in members, but subscribers get visibility outside Ecademy in the search engines for the original post. Highly commented blogs get more visibility because they return to the top of the 'recent comment' list of Blogs. It's not just the blogs that have grown. The number of clubs has risen dramatically, with well over 1,600 new clubs formed this year to a total of over 5,100 and the total number of Club Threads in public clubs is up by over 40%. It's likely that means that most clubs are seeing similar activity to a year ago, but that more member are more active in more clubs. The range of clubs is phenomenal - the full list is here >> Running a club is a great way to gather a group of people who are interested in what you do and where you can have great conversations with those of a like mind. BlackStars are a relatively small proportion of the membership yet they run nearly 1,500 clubs between them, that's nearly 30% of all clubs. They tell us that successfully running a club has a significant impact on the number of referrals and connections that they make. The biggest change though, has been in personal messages between members, here the growth has been dramatic, with a four fold increase in conversations between members throughout the year. This is a critical measure against Ecademy's key purpose of connecting business people and we are all delighted with this result. In total this year there will be around 24,000 Blogs, around 120,000 comments, approaching 50,000 Club threads and over 12 Million private messages, and 140,000 New Members from all over the world registering on the site and confirming their account. Looking to 2009 2009 looks set to be a year of change in many of the economies of the world. Members who are working together in the Ecademy Community, sharing their knowledge and expertise, and supporting each other in the spirit of collaboration can gain the opportunities they need to achieve success. We will continue to innovate and develop the site to ensure we remain focused on Ecademy's purpose, which is to provide the right environment for business people to thrive and grow. A huge THANK YOU to all members - especially BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers and we wish all Ecademists all the very best in 2009.

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The Ecademy Team

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SEO Guide & Tools, Contacts, Messaging, Help

November 2008 SEONew Video'sEcademy Information by WebcastVAT Changes in the UKContacts and MessagingRatings and StatisticsSupport and FeedbackBlackStar SEO SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Put simply, SEO is giving you the best chance possible to be found when people search on Google or other search engines for phrases - known as "keywords" - that relate to you and your web pages. Ecademy provides a fantastic resource to support you and your businesses SEO strategy, and today we can announce some changes to help support subscribing members building visibility in the search engines as part of their networking and web marketing strategy. Firstly, we have produced a comprehensive guide to SEO that's free to all Ecademy members here >. The guide provides clear advice on how to optimise your activity on Ecademy, and use the facilities here as a subscriber, to maximise the impact of the content you provide. Ecademy has been building pages with your content with the search engines in mind for a long time. Many members find that using Ecademy dramatically improves their visibility on the Search Engines quickly. The design of these pages has been improved to ensure that the SEO benefits to you are maximised and both the background structure and the visible layout changed from today to maximise the SEO benefit for Members. BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers have been able to add keywords and descriptions of their content specifically for the search engines for some time, which means that subscribers can write content 'into the search' that's really relevant to their business. We know the best results come to those who complete these SEO elements for every piece of content, so, from today subscribers are able to set up default keywords or descriptions for Blogs (note this also ensures any banner advertising will not be shown in the blog), Marketplace listings, and meetings and we've brought the fields for Profiles and each club that you run to one page. By completing these vital SEO fields you'll find that when you post a Blog, Listing or Meeting the default values you have set are pre-filled - these can of course be changed for each post if required. In a global economy that will be more challenging in 2009 than for some time, being found in the search engines is an important part of business strategy for any business, and these changes will help to ensure that Ecademy supports your activity and helps you to be found. To take advantage of these new features and to improve your search engine visibility as quickly as possible - Upgrade here >> Download your free guide to SEO here >> New Video's We've introduced some short information video's featuring Ecademy Founder Penny Power to provide advice on various aspects of the site. They are embedded on relevant pages, such as the upgrade page, and play once when members first visit that page, but not on every visit. If the video has played recently you'll see a play video button on these pages should you wish to see the video again. All Ecademy members can now also take advantage of this great technology - for more details including a special Ecademist rate click here >> Ecademy Information by Webcast Ecademy Founder Penny Power recently delivered a webcast covering a lot of information about social networks and networking in general and Ecademy in particular. You can watch the webcast here > If you aren't a member you'll need to register and subscribe to the channel which is free. VAT changes in the UK From today the Chancellor has reduced VAT to 15% from 17.5% for a limited period of 13 months and it will increase at the end of that period to at least 17.5% again. Ecademy made a commitment this year to maintaining subscription rates for existing subscribers (subject to terms). Whilst that means that the small reduction can't be passed on, any future rise won't be either, and existing subscribers continue to benefit from subscription rates, which for PowerNetworkers have not changed for nearly 5 years and for BlackStars will be at the present rate before 30% price increase on January 1st 2009. VAT receipts will reflect the new rate from today. Contacts and Messaging Making Contact - Update Since introducing the ability to request contacts (connecting others to you) to messaging (having conversations) last month we've been listening to the feedback we've received and as a result are making some changes to make the process of connecting more personal and making the rejection of a contact more permanent. When a member asks to be connected they can now add a short (255 chars) reason for the connection and this can be reviewed prior to accepting the request, it'll also be included in the email notification. If you decide not to accept the connection request then the connection is blocked and cannot be requested again. The recipient can initiate a connection later. Ratings and Statistics We've also introduced some new ways in the Ratings and Statistics area to identify active networkers on the site: You can see the members with the largest contact lists here >You can see who has provided the most content and who has invited the most people to join Ecademy here >You can see who has had the most profile visits here > (Right hand column) You can see the members with the most good ratings here >You can see who most recently had a testimonial here >(Left hand column)You can see the members who have received the most testimonials in total here > (Right hand column)You can see the members who have appeared in the most spotlights of others here >(Left hand column) No single list provides a definition of who is the 'best' but each provides information about who is most active in that area. Connecting with others, providing good content and being seen through visits to your profile, demonstrate visibility and awareness by others in the community. Good ratings and testimonials provide an indication of credibility for what the member does, and the testimonials themselves provide detail that demonstrates the depth of that credibility. Members can only choose a maximum of 20 people at a time to spotlight so a high number of appearances in the spotlights of others is probably a strong indicator of people who have build a depth of relationship and credibility with others. These changes address a number of concerns raised with us and we'd like to thank the members who assisted us in the improvements in this area. Support and Feedback Support The support functions help members get information about using the system themselves. It's accessed from the support tab on the profile, and from the left hand menu when on the home page. We're continuing to make background changes to the support and feedback systems > to improve the communication to members with a support issue or raising feedback about other members.We have made further changes to the messaging around Support and now provide an immediate response for most common enquiries providing signposting and links directly to the information related to the questions asked. For Members there will be a much faster, but generally automated, response to enquiries about how to use the system, how to upgrade or close an account, and password issues. For Subscribers we've provided enhanced support covering a wider range of areas of the system, relevant to their membership level. Support enquiries which cannot be handled by a standard message are reviewed and normally answered by the team within 3 working days. Feedback The feedback functions help members to provide information to Ecademy about the use of the system by others and is used by the Ecademy team to provide information to the members concerned where the feedback is relevant and appropriate. Sometimes members don't understand the etiquette of using a site like Ecademy and cut across the customs of the community (for example - by selling in blogs) and some guidance and support can help them to become effective networkers on the site. Misuse of the site, for example, seeking to obtain personal details like Bank Account Numbers, or using a false identity, will lead to Ecademy taking action to ensure that Members are protected. Feedback has been better integrated into support system and is reviewed by the best practice team regularly. All feedback is acknowledged on the system. You can now view any relevant feedback provided to you by others, or Ecademy, on the support tab on your profile, no one else can see this information. Similarly if you have provided feedback you can review it from the support tab. To provide feedback about another member there is a 'Feedback' link on the blue bar at the top of their profile. This opens a feedback form for you to complete. The more information you provide at this point the easier it is for Ecademy to help the members. Working together as a community to provide feedback and to utilise the feedback to drive appropriate action will improve the community for us all, these changes make it easier to provide and address the feedback given by members. Usually it's not necessary to identify the members providing the feedback to the member that feedback is about, but if that is the case then Ecademy will seek permission first. BlackStar New City Leaders We are delighted to announce the appointment of Geert Conard who will be the City Leader for Belgium, based in Brussels. Find out more and apply to become a BlackStar City Leader here > Beat the BlackStar Price rise 4 weeks left to beat the BlackStar 30% price rise 1/1/2009. Choose the annual subscription payment option and get 3 months free - you will make no more payments throughout 2009. Upgrade here: http://www.ecademy.com/subscription.php

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Contacts, Messaging, Support and Feedback

November 2008 Contacts and MessagingSupport and Feedback Contacts and Messaging Making Contact - Update Since introducing the ability to request contacts (connecting others to you) to messaging (having conversations) last month we've been listening to the feedback we've received and as a result are making some changes to make the process of connecting more personal and making the rejection of a contact more permanent. When a member asks to be connected they can now add a short (255 chars) reason for the connection and this can be reviewed prior to accepting the request, it'll also be included in the email notification. If you decide not to accept the connection request then the connection is blocked and cannot be requested again. The recipient can initiate a connection later. We've also introduced some new ways in the Ratings and Statistics area to identify active networkers on the site: You can see the members with the largest contact lists here >>You can see who has provided the most content and who has invited the most people to join Ecademy here >>>You can see who has had the most profile visits here >> (Right hand column) You can see the members with the most good ratings here >>>You can see who most recently had a testimonial here >>(Left hand column)You can see the members who have received the most testimonials in total here >> (Right hand column) You can see the members who have appeared in the most spotlights of others here>>(Left hand column) No single list provides a definition of who is the 'best' but each provides information about who is most active in that area. Connecting with others, providing good content and being seen through visits to your profile, demonstrate visibility and awareness by others in the community. Good ratings and testimonials provide an indication of credibility for what the member does, and the testimonials themselves provide detail that demonstrates the depth of that credibility. Members can only choose a maximum of 20 people at a time to spotlight so a high number of appearances in the spotlights of others is probably a strong indicator of people who have build a depth of relationship and credibility with others. These changes address a number of concerns raised with us and we'd like to thank the members who assisted us in the improvements in this area. Support and Feedback Support The support functions help members get information about using the system themselves. It's accessed from the support tab on the profile, and from the left hand menu when on the home page. We're continuing to make background changes to the support and feedback systems to improve the communication to members with a support issue or raising feedback about other members.We have made further changes to the messaging around Support and now provide an immediate response for most common enquiries providing signposting and links directly to the information related to the questions asked. For Members there will be a much faster, but generally automated, response to enquiries about how to use the system, how to upgrade or close an account, and password issues. For Subscribers we've provided enhanced support covering a wider range of areas of the system, relevant to their membership level. Support enquiries which cannot be handled by a standard message are reviewed and normally answered by the team within 3 working days. Feedback The feedback functions help members to provide information to Ecademy about the use of the system by others and is used by the Ecademy team to provide information to the members concerned where the feedback is relevant and appropriate. Sometimes members don't understand the etiquette of using a site like Ecademy and cut across the customs of the community (for example - by selling in blogs) and some guidance and support can help them to become effective networkers on the site. Misuse of the site, for example, seeking to obtain personal details like Bank Account Numbers, or using a false identity, will lead to Ecademy taking action to ensure that Members are protected. Feedback has been better integrated into support system and is reviewed by the best practice team regularly. All feedback is acknowledged on the system. You can now view any relevant feedback provided to you by others, or Ecademy, on the support tab on your profile, no one else can see this information. Similarly if you have provided feedback you can review it from the support tab. To provide feedback about another member there is a 'Feedback' link on the blue bar at the top of their profile. This opens a feedback form for you to complete. The more information you provide at this point the easier it is for Ecademy to help the members. Working together as a community to provide feedback and to utilise the feedback to drive appropriate action will improve the community for us all, these changes make it easier to provide and address the feedback given by members. Usually it's not necessary to identify the members providing the feedback to the member that feedback is about, but if that is the case then Ecademy will seek permission first.

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The Ecademy Team

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Colour Profiling, Messaging, BlackStar, Support

What Colour are You?Contacts and MessagingBlackStarSupport and Best PracticeOther ChangesThis Months Featured Blogs What Colour are You? The better you are at connecting with people the faster your business grows! Ecademy is delighted to announce a new partnership with BlackStar James Knight who has developed a fast, simple and effective Personality Profiling system to help you build rapport in seconds and adapt to the differences in people. By answering a few questions in the Personality Profiling Questionnaire > you will be given valuable insight about yourself and others including: Personality traits, How you like to give and receive information and tips on how to get to know you better. All leading to increased cooperation, compatibility and sales! Imagine how much more effective you could be if you knew how to approach a conversation with someone you don't know well, and be more certain that you tailor your approach so that it fits their style. Imagine the impact of others talking to you in a way that fits with your way of working. When it's time for a contact to become a close business connection, when the networking moves towards building a relationship based on trust and respect, then some guidance on how they like to be treated will accelerate that process. Last month Ecademy introduced the Add Contact tools to help build wide contact networks, this month, with the Personality Profiling system being made freely available for all Ecademists, we've added the tools to help facilitate building deep relationships more quickly. James also runs four clubs for the High Yellow >, High Red >, High Blue > and High Green > communities for like minded people to meet, share information, exchange ideas and experiences. Once the short questionnaire > is completed it identifies your preferred communication style automatically adds the result and the associated information to your Ecademy profile enabling others to see how to connect with you effectively (you can toggle this on or off in your display settings here >) . You will also be automatically joined to the relevant IMA Club to connect with many other Ecademists there! If you are serious about building high quality trusted relationships in your network then you can learn more by attending the official launch event at the Tower Hotel in London > on Monday 10th November and also the in-depth seminar "How to Win More Friends and More Business with Rapport Building Technology" on Thursday 20th November. What Colour are You? Complete the short questionnaire here > now! Contacts and Messaging Making Contact, Having conversations, Building relationships - Update Since introducing the ability to request contacts (connecting others to you) to messaging (having conversations) last month we are delighted that both the number and, according to the feedback we have had, the quality of the messages between members has significantly improved. There remains some elements of this change which are causing some concern, particularly that some members are not taking the time to build a relationship through the connections that they make. As a reminder - Free Members can't initiate a message, so to start a conversation the member has to request contact, or be messaged by a subscriber. If you are a free member and want to be able to message members of your network without having to receive a message from them first then upgrade here >. BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers can send unlimited messages as well as send contact requests. Your contact list is not the same as the list of people that you network and converse with regularly. For most members that's a much smaller group where relationships are being built and developed and business opportunities are strongest. One of Ecademy's strengths is that it can be used in different ways by different people, and we know that some choose not to engage in the contact system by switching off the email alerts notifying them of a request, and taking no action, others choose to accept all requests, and others none. Some take time to review the profiles of those seeking a request and messaging people they are interested in conversing with. In many ways the contact system is the virtual handshake equivalent of meeting at a networking event. From some "handshakes" conversations will develop, bringing deeper business relationships, referrals and transactions. BlackStar New City Leaders We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jan Mulder who will be the City Leader based in Amsterdam. Find out more and apply to become a BlackStar City Leader here >> New BlackStar Offer You can now upgrade to BlackStar (subject to acceptance and terms) for a monthly subscription payment for life, or a regular payment equivalent to 10 monthly payments and receive 3 additional months membership free of charge. BlackStar has always supported its members with training and support, either through organised training courses or through 1-2-1 meetings. BlackStar Members are immediately eligible for membership of the BlackStar Academy, in which participants undertake a structured 10 module training course delivered on-line with support and review throughout. BlackStar Birthday Party! On November 13th, BlackStar will celebrate the 4th anniversary of its foundation with a party in central London. Upgrade now > to join us and enjoy the celebrations! New Pricing With effect from the 1st January 2009 BlackStar subscription pricing will be increased by up to 33%. Act now to beat the price rise and lock into the 2008 prices for life. Find out more and apply for BlackStar membership here >. Support and Best Practice We're continuing to make background changes to the support and feedback systems to improve the communication to members with a support issue or raising feedback about other members. These changes are mostly related to the support and best practice teams but we've also improved the emails sent to members raising and receiving feedback as well as increasing the number of categories on which feedback can be assigned, Further changes will be introduced soon which enhance the support given to subscribers seeking help with using Ecademy and introducing better signposting to existing support information for Members. Other Changes We've continued to work on eliminating minor flaws and problems to improve the experience of using the site for all Members. Ecademy is a feature rich site and we welcome feedback from members in the Ecademy User Group to help us identify and iron out any aspects of the site which are not working as intended. We'd like to thank all members for their assistance in these areas. In particular, the links to follow/not follow club threads and other postings now mirror your general notification settings as a default, and act more intuitively following feedback from members in this area. Featured Blogs The Ecademy Advisors have also proposed a number of great blogs for inclusion in the Newsletter this month and will do so ongoing. The high quality blogs are in the next section of the newsletter.

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The Ecademy Team

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Contacts & Messaging, BlackStar, EAP

September 2008 Contacts and MessagingBlackStarSupport and Best PracticeChargeable MeetingsSubscribing and Associate ProgramOther Changes Contacts and Messaging Making Contact, Having conversations, Building relationships As Ecademy continues to grow, the need to build both a contact list and a network has become much more apparent (see recent blog Mile Wide vs Mile Deep here >), so we've now introduced support to do both. From today we've made changes to enable members to seek to build their network and connect with people in a simpler way. We understand the need to easily make new contacts and then to engage in conversations to build the critical relationships which form a trusted network for business success, support and friendship. When you visit a profile, you will now see a link to Add as a Contact. Clicking this will link will take you to a Contact Request button that will send a request to the member, who can then decide to either: Accept the request, which adds you to their connected contacts network and sends a message to confirm that the request has been accepted. Decline the request, which removes you from their contact request list and does not send a message. There is a new notification option in your notification settings here > that allows you to receive an email when someone requests a contact. This is defaulted on. When you arrive at your home page, there are links in the Inbox area (top right) to take you to the latest contact request or a list of outstanding Contact Requests here >. You can set checkboxes to accept or request multiple people from this list. BlackStars can automatically accept all requests if they wish here >. Anyone can send a contact request to anyone at any time. BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers can still send a network message to anyone at any time. Non-subscribers can reply to all network messages but cannot initiate them. There is now a new main Tab called 'Contacts' separated from the existing "Messages" tab, note contacts messages don't appear in your main Inbox although there is a check box to include them (at the top of your messages). We highly recommend the presence of a picture and profile information to make requests for contact far more effective and increase the likelihood of entering into a conversation with the community. To subscribe and take advantage of direct unlimited messaging to any member there is the special 'Starter Pack' which is now available giving 2 free months PowerNetworker membership (four months for the price of two). BlackStar New City Leaders We are delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Cowan and Diane Cowan, City Leaders based in Dubai and Tina Jonasen who will be the City Leader based in Copenhagen. Find out more and apply to become a BlackStar City Leader here >> New Training and Support BlackStar has always supported its members with training and support, either through organised training courses or through 1-2-1 meetings. This month we launched the BlackStar Academy, in which participants undertake a structured 10 module training course delivered on-line with support and review throughout. The BlackStar Academy is for all New Members of BlackStar to help them learn about ways to improve their Marketing, enhance their reputation and become more efficient through the use of the Ecademy platform and the BlackStar community, and its off-line meetings and events. With content and support which would cost sgnificantly more to buy than the costs of subscription to BlackStar members who undertake the training and work through the modules will receive a great return on the investment they make in BlackStar. With the option to make annual subscriptions at a significant discount (see below) BlackStar offers even more value than ever before. In addition BlackStars benefit from a number of individual training courses that re also provided to BlackStars free of charge. New Meetings BlackStar City Leaders around the world are organising regular BlackStar Meetings, scheduled over whole days, or half days, lunches, dinners and events. In addition we now run and international teleconference to enable BlackStars throughout the globe to 'meet' regularly and discuss issues, share knowledge and experience and find connection for each other. We'll be adding European and Global events to the schedule throughout 2008/09 with meetings already planned in Brussels, Copenhagen, Dubai, Atlanta, Amsterdam and London. New Pricing With effect from the 1st October 2008 BlackStar pricing will be as follows: Annual Subscription £1,000/€1,000/$1,000 per annum for life. This new payment plan is being introduced with a special introductory offer for the next three months, effectively giving 3 free months BlackStar membership every year! The price for BlackStar Membership will rise by 30% on January 1st 2009. There are a limited numbers of memberships available on this option at this price. Monthly Subscriptions (unchanged) £105/€105/$105 per month for life. Accepted applications on either of these two options guarantees these monthly or annual payments for life. The cost of membership will rise on 1st January 2009 for new subscribers after that date, but existing subscribers will be unaffected by that increase. Single lump sum payments options also exist for Foundation membership, which, once paid, mean never having to pay another subscription for BlackStar membership again. Email william.buist@ecademy.com for details. Find out more and apply for BlackStar membership here >> Support and Best Practice We've made some background changes to the support and feedback systems to improve the communication to members with a support issue or raising feedback about other members. These changes are mostly related to the support and best practice teams but we've also improved the emails sent to members raising and receiving feedback as well as increasing the number of categories on which feedback can be assigned, Chargeable Meetings We've added support for every currency which paypal supports so that members can run chargeable meetings in their local currency. Ecademy do not take a share of revenue for providing this service. Subscribing and Ecademy Associate Program With the introduction of the BlackStar City Leader programme ( see here >>) Ecademy Associate Program (EAP) payments in relation to BlackStar Membership will cease and EAP will apply solely to PowerNetworker subscriptions. Existing payments in relation to BlackStar members who upgraded before 1st October 2008 will continue to be paid in accordance with the terms of the existing EAP agreement. Other Changes A number of minor flaws and problems have been corrected to improve the experience of using the site for all Members. Ecademy is a feature rich site and we welcome feedback from members in the Ecademy User Group to help us identify and iron out any aspects of the site which are not working as intended. We'd like to thank all members for their assistance in these areas. Network size was being reported with slightly different numbers on different parts of the site, this has now been corrected. The watch Checkboxes now default to your personal settings according to context. In a club where you already get immediate emails and the watch check box will default to on, allowing you to deselect threads you no longer wish to watch. In a club where you don't take immediate messages it will default to off, allowing you to select those threads you wish to watch. Similarly for Comments on Blogs. If you're default notification setting is off for email notifications, the Watch this Blog checkbox will default to off.

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The Ecademy Team

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What's New:Watch Blogs, NetNews, Home & Profiles, EAP, Messaging

August 2008 Watching BlogsWatch Club ThreadsConnecting via NetNewsHome Page and ProfilesSubscribing and Associate ProgramMessaging on Ecademy Watching Blogs We have added a check box that allows you to 'watch' a blog without commenting, if you check the box then you'll be sent emails when someone comments on the blog, just as you are now if you comment. Conversely, if you comment on a blog, but don't want the email updates you can un-check the box to stop watching it and you won't get the emails. The former allows you to keep track of blogs you want to read, the latter to avoid lots of emails on a blog that you were happy to pass comment on but didn't want to be inundated with lots of mails when others comment. We know that the email traffic puts some people off commenting, and so we wanted to free them to comment without automatically getting follow up emails. Watching Club Threads We've added a similar check box to club threads that allows you to watch specific threads in clubs, or turn off updates for others. This setting over-rides your club notification settings at a thread level. For example, if you belong to a club and take no notifications you can ask to be sent updates on interesting threads by checking the watch box. You'll get an email for each comment made on those threads only. If you are set to immediate all then you already receive emails for every thread, but you'll now be able to de-select updates on a thread by thread basis and yet retain updates on all the other threads. Activity in clubs has increased considerably and many clubs have a variety of thread topics, this change allows members to tailor their updates to met their own needs and results from consultation with members here and in the user group as well as in the community as a whole. Connecting via NetNews You'll now be able to see who else has loaded links to feeds from other networking sites into the NetNews system. So, if you are Last.FM listener, or a Facebook user and have loaded the links others will be able to see that you are active on those other sites and suggest linking up there as well as here. Connecting across many networks and connecting with people who are well connected in other networks helps to ensure that you can get connected to great people wherever they are, through the people you know. To see who is using what and connect with others using the systems you use click here >> Home Page and Profiles As well as a link directly to the latest message the home page will also include a link to the latest club message from clubs threads you have started or contributed too. You'll also be able to see the number of profile hits you have had, not just since you joined but also just today. This will allow members to measure how effective activity on the site is at driving people to look at their profile. For example, you might see a big difference in the number of profile hits if you write a great blog, or contribute in a busy club. Members tell us it is hard to see who is contributing to the site from profiles without turning lots of pages. We've added a quick navigator at the top of every profile called "Activity" which shows the activity each member has undertaken on the site, with quick links to each of the relevant sections. The first use of a particular activity adds the relevant link to a profile, so when a new member posts their first blog, the relevant icon and link is added and so on. See what activities you have already completed on your own profile page, click here >>. Subscribing and Associate Program We are pleased to announce that the special 'Starter Pack' is now available to all new members at any time after joining (instead of just in the first month) giving 2 free months PowerNetworker membership (four months for the price of two). To claim your PowerNetworker Starter Pack click here >> We'll be announcing more details of BlackStar subscription rates for 2009 next month, but you can lock into the existing costs for life now. For more details and to upgrade to BlackStar click here >> Changes will be made to the Ecademy Associate Programme (EAP) with effect from 1st October 2008. The current EAP programme provides subscribing members with a share of the revenue generated from subscriptions in the first year of membership for people they invited who joined Ecademy. With the introduction of the BlackStar City Leader programme ( see here >>) EAP payments in relation to BlackStar Membership will cease and EAP will apply solely to PowerNetworker subscriptions. Existing payments in relation to BlackStar members who upgrade before 1st October 2008 will continue to be paid in accordance with the terms of the existing EAP agreement. Messaging on Ecademy Unfortunately one of the side effects of the continued growth in membership is that some people join in order to send unsolicited commercial emails and correspondence via the network message system. This is against the terms and conditions of Ecademy which is built around relationships as we feel it is important to create the connection with other members and take time to understand their needs before seeking to sell your own products and services. Unsolicited commercial messages result in the entire community being less enjoyable for everyone and we would ask you to help us eliminate this practice by reporting it whenever it is seen via the feedback functions provided (top right of each profile). Using Feedback alerts the Best Practice Team who will take appropriate action to support appropriate use of the system in the interests of all of the community. Whilst we appreciate the contribution that all members make to the open parts of the community it is due to the inappropriate use of Ecademy by a few, but growing number, that we have restricted the sending of private messages to subscribing BlackStars and PowerNetworkers >>. Free Members will still be able to reply to all network messages but not initiate a new message. Members wishing to initiate direct contact with other Ecademists will need to upgrade to BlackStar or PowerNetworker here >>.

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The Ecademy Team

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Membership Terms and Conditions

July 2008 Membership terms and conditions updates The terms and conditions of membership and subscriptions have been updated to clarify usage limitation of the Ecademy website, membership terms and conditions are detailed here >>. Subscription terms and conditions are detailed here >>. In addition changes have been made to the BlackStar membership terms and conditions to further clarify the commitment to joining and participating in the BlackStar community, BlackStar Life Membership terms and conditions are detailed here >>.

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The Ecademy Team

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Leaders, Clubs, Best Practice & More

July 2008 BlackStar City LeadersClubsTestimonialsFeedback SystemBest Practice - Club GuidanceMembership Terms and Conditions updatesGoogle AdsenseFeatured Blogs BlackStar City Leaders Announced Ecademy is pleased to announce that Simon George and Tony Pybus have become BlackStar City Leaders in the UK and Jim Ziegler will become the BlackStar City Leader for Atlanta, Georgia, USA at the end of the summer. Read more here >> Clubs Clubs section of your profile There had been further changes made to the display of the clubs you lead and belong to on the Clubs section of your profile page, to aid building a picture of your interests and activity on Ecademy and helping others to connect with you in the places where you are active. Recent Comments in clubs When you are in any club there is a new Menu option (on the left hand side) shown at the top "My Club Threads", this allows you quick access to the threads you have started or commented on in all of the clubs that you belong too. This function can dramatically speed up your ability to keep up with the conversations that you are having across Ecademy. The list is ordered by the most recent comment as a default, so the recent comments are at the top, but as with most lists on Ecademy you can click the column headers to re-order the list by any of the columns, clicking again reverses the list order. Testimonials Testimonials are a great way to tell other Ecademists about the work that someone you know is doing, and they provide a means of showing others that the person you recommend is worth getting to know. They help build business and help build awareness through the NetNews System, attracting others to connect. We've added some guidance to the Testimonials page to help guide those writing testimonials to cover the areas that provide the best value in a testimonial and we hope this guide will help ensure that the testimonials you receive are helpful and relevant. The guidance says: Effective testimonials often include: What the person has specifically done for you,What they were like to work with,What changed as a result of their efforts Remember that rating someone as 'Good' will give you the opportunity to leave them a testimonial. If you haven't rated someone as good leaving a testimonial will do that automatically. Feedback System Occasionally on Ecademy personal disputes and disagreements result in 'conversations' between members taking place when the disagreements should be resolved between the individuals in private. Often these disagreements result in other members, or those involved, raising complaints through the feedback system seeking intervention and arbitration from Ecademy. Together with the Ecademy Advisors Ecademy have improved the processes that the Best Practice Team will use when disputes arise. It is intended to ensure that Ecademy remains a Trusted Business Network by allowing any member to highlight offensive behaviour and enable any member to maintain the ethos and professionalism of the community and alert Ecademy to apparent breaches of the terms and conditions of membership through the feedback system. Ecademy does not monitor blogs and comments so when apparent breaches are seen by members we encourage each of you to use the feedback functionality to alert Ecademy to the issue. For clarity, the terms and conditions of membership highlight that Ecademy will not intervene in disputes between individual members which result from the breakdown of the relationships between individual members. (more information is here >>) In line with the Guide to the Ethics and Values on Ecademy (see here >>) we do expect personal disputes to be handled professionally, in private between the parties concerned, and Ecademy may assist in facilitating meetings between members to enable them to address the issues that have become apparent. Ecademy may remove content which appears to relate to personal disputes. Read more here >> Best Practice - Club Guidance Following consultation with the team of members in the Ecademy Best Practice Club we've looked at the guidance given to members of clubs in relation to resolving disputes that arise from membership of or content in a club. It was also felt it was necessary to clarify the right of Club Leaders to moderate the content of the club and their right to determine and maintain the membership of the club. This clarification (shown below) will be added to the club terms and conditions as a result. Ecademy would like to thank the members of the Best Practice Club for their help in developing and supporting this approach. Authority to moderate and Club Dispute resolution procedure Ecademy provide all Club Leaders with the ability to moderate content in the clubs they run, this means they can edit or delete threads added by club members. Club leaders are expected to use this facility with their sole discretion to ensure that the club operates within the Ecademy Ethos (see here >>) and Terms and Conditions (see here >>) which apply to all members at all times, and the Terms and Conditions of running a club on Ecademy. Subject to that constraint Club Leaders are entitled to run their club as they see fit, including setting additional requirements on Members of the Club, and may, without needing to give reasons for so doing, remove any Members of the Club, or refuse to admit any Ecademy Member. Where a dispute arises in relation to the content of the club, any Ecademy Member (whether a member of the club or not) should raise the matter with the club leader(s) in the first instance. If the matter isn't resolved to the satisfaction of the Ecademy Member, they may then raise the matter with Ecademy through the feedback system for review. Membership terms and conditions updates The terms and conditions of membership and subscriptions have been updated to clarify usage limitation of the Ecademy website, membership terms and conditions are detailed here >>. Subscription terms and conditions are detailed here >>. In addition changes have been made to the BlackStar membership terms and conditions to further clarify the commitment to joining and participating in the BlackStar community, BlackStar Life Membership terms and conditions are detailed here >>. These changes take account of the nature of the contracts and how they are formed and ensure they are consistent with the latest regulations. Ecademy values fairness and will ensure that the terms and conditions of membership are fully compliant with relevant legislation and regulation, and regularly reviews these areas to ensure that best practice is applied. Google Adsense We are pleased to announce we are working closely with Google to enable Google Adsense links at the top of most pages on the Ecademy website. This partnership should provide you with highly relevant ads targeted to your areas of expertise and interests. Subscribing BlackStar and PowerNetworker members have the option to enable / disable the feature in their Privacy and Display settings here >>. Featured Blogs The Ecademy Advisors have also proposed a number of great blogs for inclusion in the Newsletter this month and will do so ongoing. The high quality blogs are in the next section of the newsletter.

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The Ecademy Team

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NetNews, Photos, Clubs, Messages & More

June 2008 NetNews ChangesUploading PhotosClubsMessagesProfile NotesBlackStar BoardroomsFeedback SystemEcademy Best Practice Club There had been further changes made to the NetNews system. On the home page (when logged in) there are now six entries of Ecademy NetNews and three of Internet NetNews. The home page when logged out will shortly also include the latest four entries of NetNews. We have also added some new events to the NetNews feed, including rating people good. Uploading Photos There will be additional prompts for people to upload a photograph of themselves with the upload function improved to enable larger photo's to be uploaded with oversized photographs resized automatically by the Ecademy system. Clubs Available to all members who lead or co-lead a club, we've added an auto-responder to clubs so that a Network Message from the club leader can be automatically sent when new a member joins the club. If you moderate people joining by approving them the auto-responder will be sent when you do that, if join is not moderated then the auto-responder will be triggered when they click the join button (add text in the club admin section). This will allow Club Leaders to improve the service they give their club members by automatically providing more information about the club as a welcome message. We've also added a club members online now using small profile photos on the page. Club Leaders Last month we announced some changes to the terms and conditions for club leaders and some concern was expressed that those changes were an attempt to shift some new responsibilities from Ecademy to Club Leaders. That is not the case. Running a club has always carried responsibility, and it's important that if you choose to run a club that you make the effort that is needed to ensure that it runs smoothly. All members are bound by Ecademy's terms and conditions and the change in club terms does not affect that. Ecademy is keen to ensure that club leaders are free to run clubs as they see fit and the changes in terms make their right to moderate explicit. Club leaders have always had the ability to edit and delete inappropriate content, but until the changes last month there was no explicit authorisation to do so. The changes clarify that issue and that means that club leaders can manage their clubs in the knowledge that they have Ecademy's support for them to do so, and that Ecademy won't get involved unless asked to do so. In general and in the vast majority of cases, clubs will be run without any intervention or review by Ecademy. Members are, of course, still entitled to raise issues with Ecademy, or with the club leader, and club leaders can refer any issue within the club to Ecademy if they wish. Messages One aspect of Ecademy that we know from feedback from new members is that it's not clear how to build new contacts on Ecademy. We've made some changes to the design to help clarify this. Now, when you first visit a profile page from someone not in your network, then both in the menu on the left and on the profile header bands there will be a link to 'Add them as a contact' which links to the new message panel. Similarly when you go to someone who is in your network you are now invited to send them a message. (SEE UPDATE BELOW) As a result of usage feedback we've moved the message entry box to the bottom of the page so that the most recent message will always be visible, and linked by the menu and header links, which avoids scrolling down to read the latest message and then back up again to send a reply. UPDATE We have changed the way the message box appears - to ensure the latest message is visible above the fold of the page (when viewing messages from an individual) the message box will be hidden until you click the "Reply" link, it will then appear at the top of the page (in the usual position). Clicking Reply when in your overall Inbox will go straight to the message box at the top of the page. Members will now be able to delete Private Messages until the message has been read by the recipient. Profile Notes There has been a facility for adding notes on others profiles, this enables members to store comments and information relating to another member, for example, 'Call on Thursday' and when you are on your own profile you can review all the notes you have made. Profile notes are only visible to the person making the note. You can now also add notes on your own profile that not related to another contact. BlackStar Boardrooms We've made further changes to these Collaborative Team tools available within BlackStar to allow small groups to use Ecademy for projects, to act as a virtual board, or as an inner circle of close contacts. For more details of BlackStar Boardrooms click here > Feedback System We recognise that 'complaining' about someone's approach on Ecademy could appear heavy handed when something relatively minor was happening. We've made some changes to the system this month, renaming the function to 'Feedback' We are keen that all members engage in improving the quality of the network and interactiions that take place on the platform. There are a number of areas in which feedback can be given and providing feedback allows the Ecademy best practice team to help provide support and education to members who are not utilising the site in the most effective manner. The best practice team and the new best practice club (see below), utilise the feedback given by members about members to help develop and improve the site, and the training and education provided to new members in welcome e-mails and similar materials. Feedback allow us individuals to be given guidance by the best practice team in order to improve their networking experience on Ecademy for themselves and all other members. consequently we encourage all members to give appropriate feedback when they feel it is necessary. Ecademy Best Practice Club Ecademy is pleased to announce the launch of a new Ecademy Best Practice Club. The members of this Ecademy club will all be approved advisors, and will be experienced in the use of the Ecademy site, and will be experts in one or more of the key areas of the site including Blogs, Marketplace, Leading clubs, or running meetings. The club will allow for discussion of issues relating to member activity on the site, the Ecademy user group (click here...) will continue to discuss issues around the functionality and operation of the software that supports the site. If you wish to be considered for membership of the Ecademy Best Practice club then please apply to join and a member of the Ecademy team will be in touch with you. The Best Practice club will also suggest which elements of the content on Ecademy should be highlighted (such as in the newsletter) and will provide input to the Ecademy Best Practice team when dealing with member feedback as the site continues to develop and grow.

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The Ecademy Team

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Home page, NetNews, SEO

May 2008 The Home page has changed! NetNews reaches outside Ecademy Adding External Services to your profile Using NetNews - Leading by example, Raising visibility, Demonstrating credibility Google and Profile data Changes to Terms and Conditions The home page has changed! Once you are logged in to Ecademy the Home page has changed to a much simpler design. The central section of the page now shows NetNews in two sections with your latest inbox messages and other alerts on the right. Ecademy NetNews continues to incorporate many of the activities on the site, and this feed enables you to see what the people in your network and the wider Ecademy community are doing, as well as your own activity. We've introduced a significant number of small graphics (glyphs) to help you quickly see what people are doing. For example you'll see when someone posts a testimonial, and when you receive a testimonial, so when someone does a great job for you and you leave them a testimonial people it's much more visible to Ecademy members. Each entry includes a mini-thumbnail picture too which helps you to spot the people you already know when they are active on Ecademy (we've also added these to all the lists such as search results). You'll see when someone adds a new Marketplace listing and when someone is added to another person's Spotlight, when you post a blog, this will be added to your Netnews and when someone comments on the blog you'll see this . There are many others, and of course everything is linked to the content and to the people who provide that content. Active members who enjoy the activity of the Blogs, Clubs and the many MarketPlace listings will see vibrancy and immediacy to the home page (and of course profile pages) enabling you to see and connect as their activity interests you. You'll find the latest message, and links to the latest vistors to your profile (profile hits) along with mini-thumbnails are now repositioned in a column on the right. But, Ecademy has gone much further.... NetNews reaches outside Ecademy You can now add a whole host of other external services to the Ecademy Internet NetNews feed. If you run a blog, use Twitter, or Linked-in, use My BlogLog, or are active on a host of other sites you can now easily add the links to your public feeds from those sites and then the activity you undertake on those sites will be pulled into Ecademy and displayed on Internet NetNews. This exposes your publicly published activity wherever you publish it to your Ecademy Network, helps to promote visitors to your content and enhances your exposure and links to your content for the search engines. Adding Internet Services to your Profile and NetNews To add a new Internet feed click the link in the menu on the left of the home page "Internet Services', or go to your profile (you'll see that every profile now includes a summary of the members latest Ecademy and Internet activity (where there are services set up) and click the NetNews tab and then select 'Add/Manage feeds' from the menu. Choose any one of the 57 feeds that are pre-programmed ready, you only need to add your user-name in most cases...the system will guide you. The relevant icon will be displayed on your profile and is a link to the relevant account at that service, so anyone reading your profile can also visit the other places where you are active as a result of finding you on Ecademy. The result for Ecademy Members is to benefit from increased traffic for all their activity as their visibility increases. Finally, if you want the content fed to your Internet Ne News feed on Ecademy check the Fetch RSS box. Using NetNews - Leading by example, raising visibility, demonstrating credibility These changes allow Ecademists to concentrate their actions on many sites and provide a window to them which all members can see through the NetNews Feeds, on profiles and through the links. This provides significant visibility enhancements as a results of your Ecademy membership. By highlighting and drawing to the attention of a large Ecademy audience, the detailed information and content throughout Ecademy and the Internet it's possible to quickly assist people in finding the material that builds and defines your credibility. Often newer members aren't sure what activity brings results but when existing members lead by example newer members will see the activity via NetNews and will be able to more immediately engage with members here, connecting and emulating those they benefit from to build their network and the value they derive from it. Changes to the presentation of SEO data to Google - Profile titles Ecademy continue to work hard to ensure that the SEO benefits accrue to all BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribing members. In mid May a further change to the SEO feed to search engines including Google was made which means Google now use your First Name and Last Name as well as the SEO keywords if you have provided them in a sightly different order. This change was based on an ongoing analysis of the results of members through private feedback and the analysis of the impacts of various changes in the feeds to Google. Results are always complicated by the processes that Google follow as well as the way that they apply their own algorithms, which change constantly too. Ecademy would expect there to be continuing changes in the future too. The key is the optimisation of the results, and that's something that requires continuing effort and change to achieve, it's not just affected by what happens on Ecademy, but also by what is happening in all the other sites on the Internet, as they change their content and feeds to improve their positioning. Changes in terms and conditions Ecademy enables excellent SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for subscribing members, a few have taken the use of Ecademy to extremes in relation to seeking to optimise their SEO results from Ecademy. However, such activity is not only frowned on by the search engines, but also by Ecademists. The Search engine companies tend to downgrade the importance of all content from sites which over use links and keywords, potentially affecting everyone's results. For clarity, the following has been added to the terms and conditions section on the rights of members to include links to Third Party Sites: Members may include external links within their Marketplace adverts, profiles, blogs and other posts on Ecademy. For example, the inclusion of a link to their website in their signature. Members who are found to be using hidden or repetitive links, blatantly attempting to spam Ecademy and / or search engines, may have their content removed or account closed without warning. These changes apply with immediate effect.

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The Ecademy Team

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Clubs, Navigation, Member facilities, Downloads, NetNews

April 2008 Hardware Upgrade The hardware upgrade was completed as previously announced and the Ecademy infrastructure is now running from a completely new set of hardware with upgraded underlying software. The site is now much more responsive and is set to be able to deliver improved service for the increase in growth we are experiencing. Congratulations to Julian Bond and his team at Qmediastream for the hard work in planning, preparation and delivery. Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding during the upgrade. BlackStar Boardrooms BlackStars can run small, highly confidential groups currently known as BlackStar Inner Circles. These allow small groups of BlackStars to come together with a common purpose to form virtual boards of advisers and mentors. We'll be incorporating some additional functionality to these groups over the coming months, and Ecademy already provide specific training to improve BlackStar Boardroom facilitation skills, hence we have now renamed to "BlackStar Boardrooms". For more information on accessing these facilities by joining BlackStar please contact William Buist here >. Club Changes: Members Members will now be able to run or co-lead one Club, taking advantage of all the features and benefits of running a Networking Club on Ecademy. Access to the advanced tools and facilities of Clubs (as well as running more than one) such as emailing the members of the club (all or a selection), club statistics, setting the club as private, Google SEO descriptions, making the club chargeable are privileges reserved for PowerNetworker and BlackStar subscribers. Revised Terms and Conditions for running Clubs Ecademy currently supports 'Regional' Clubs and 'Approved' Clubs within the Ecademy brand, and as a result of the introduction of the BlackStar City Leaders programme a third type of Ecademy Club - 'BlackStar Regional' Clubs - will now be available to City Leaders. These Ecademy clubs have additional support from the Ecademy brand, positioning within the site, and are subject to specific terms and conditions. Members who seek the support of the Brand will be asked to ensure that the club meets the requirements of the terms and conditions which have been amended to ensure that the clubs meet the current Ecademy branding guidelines. Some other changes have been made to the general cubs terms and conditions to recognise the right of Members to operate a single club as described above, and in relation to responsibilities of club leaders to maintain the confidence that members have that clubs will continue to operate within the principles and standards of Ecademy's ethos and terms and conditions. The revised terms and conditions take immediate effect and can be found in your club terms and conditions page (shown at setup of a club and at the bottom of Club Administration page) Ecademist Phil Calvert has updated and revised the Club Leaders Guide and is available for all Ecademists to download from the download section here >. Site layout Some minor changes to the site design are introduced this month to ease usability.The 'Network' tab has been renamed to 'Messages' more accurately reflecting what is displayed from there. The BlackStar Market tab has been removed. A new Tab 'NetNews' has been added which allows easy access to the stream of information about the activity of others on the network. This allows you to see what is happening, and link you to the activities of others as they provide testimonials, write or comment on content, link to other members, add listings, and add threads in clubs. You can filter this list to the activities of your contacts, everyone, or just your own. This functionality has been available under your own profile and additional functionality and activities will be added to the feed very shortly to enable you to snoop on more activities enabling more connections over the next few weeks. Ease of Navigation To increase the common look and feel, all the permissible profile sub-page links for all members will be enabled (currently those with no content are hidden) and where content exists a tick will be added to the sub-page link. This will aid the visibility of elements of the profile that each member has and avoid the need to navigate to sub-pages pages to see if content has been added. Revised Privacy Policy We have updated the privacy policy which is part of the membership terms and conditions here > Widgets and Tools: Widget for Mac Users Ecademist Nigel Crawley has build a widget for Mac users to place on their dashboard. This links to the RSS feed from the Blogs page and allows Mac users a stylish and quick way to scan blogs and click through to those of interest to them. More details are here > Blog Bookmarklets When on any web page, highlight some text, click on the link in the toolbar and an Ecademy blog is created containing a link to the web page and containing the text you highlighted. Please note these are not links. They need to be dragged to your browser toolbar and used from there: IE Bookmarklet: Right click on the link, Add to Favourites. %27)+escape(d.title)+escape(%27%27);if(s!=%27%27){u=u+escape(%27%20:%20%27)+escape(s)+escape(%27%27)};var%20p=window.open(u);p.focus();">Ecademy: Blog It Firefox Bookmarklet: Drag the link and drop it on your links toolbar. %27)+escape(d.title)+escape(%27%27);if(s!=%27%27){u=u+escape(%27%20:%20%27)+escape(s)+escape(%27%27)};var%20p=window.open(u);p.focus();">Ecademy: Blog It For IE users, load this registry entry and you get an extra right click entry. Just highlight some text on a web page you're viewing, right click, choose "Ecademy Blogit!" And a new window opens up with the Ecademy blog entry screen. The URL, Title and you're highlighted text are already entered waiting. Please ensure that you comply with any copyright restrictions in relation to the material you copy using these tools, it's your own responsibility to ensure that you have the right to quote from websites. The tools do automatically provide links to the source of the material which you should retain in your blog entry. Extended HTML [EDIT: Added for clarification] PowerNetworkers can now use the Embed and Object HTML tags allowing the inclusion of content such as video's in profiles, blogs, clubs and Marketplace listings (please note all content that appears on Ecademy is subject to the terms and conditions >). New Downloads: Club Leaders Guide An essential guide to running a Club on Ecademy, packed with great ideas and techniques - click here to download > (pdf) Seth Godin Book The Marketing Guru's thoughts on Squidoo Lenses and why they are important. click here to download > (pdf) More downloads are available in the Downloads and Deals area here > BlackStar City Leaders programme Ecademy can be your business too! Ecademy's goal for the next 10 years is to create the Professional Business Networker. As part of this advancement in networking, Ecademy is working with BlackStar City Leaders to champion this standard in their local area. You and your business can become the leader in the most forward thinking ways of networking, being the expert in Collaboration and Advocation and connecting business people in a way that has never been achieved. What is a BlackStar City Leader? BlackStar City Leader is an opportunity to grow a BlackStar business with the support of the Ecademy brand. Your business will draw on the proven framework in an agreed city or territory. When you choose this opportunity your business will benefit from the brand that Ecademy's ten years of social networking experience and their core values have established. Over 150 people are now seeking to become the BlackStar City Leader for their territory. Once appointed the agreed territory is exclusively theirs, so if you wish to be considered please express your interest now by applying to join the BlackStar City Leader club here >

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The Ecademy Team

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Scheduled maintenance - hardware upgrade

April 2008 As announced in the monthly newsletter here > Ecademy is shortly to upgrade the infrastructure supporting the site and the functionality. These changes have been confirmed to take place this weekend: Saturday 19th April 2008 We would anticipate that the site will not be available for most of Saturday while this essential work takes place. Some major changes are being undertaken including replacing the servers and upgrading the system software, all of which will significantly improve the user experience, speed up the site, and improve it's resiliency. We'd ask members to bear with us as we make this major transition. A temporary information page will display whilst the site is unavailable. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this will cause.

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The Ecademy Team

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Wizard, NetNews, Backup, SEO

March 2008 Quick Wizard to find / invite your friends and colleagues Ecademy has integrated a new Quick Wizard tool (on the right of the invite page here >) which allows you to: (1) Seamlessly import contacts from multiple address books including Microsoft Outlook and Plaxo (2) Select which contacts you are interested in (3) Automatically import them into the Ecademy invitation system which then checks and connects you to friends and colleagues already on Ecademy and invites those who aren't to your network. In addition, the invitation system now has an auto re-invite feature which is a convenient way resend your invitations each month to your contacts who have yet to join your network, this feature is defaulted to on and will go live on Friday 4th April 2008 - this can be controlled in your Notifications settings area here > (we'll be sending you a network message reminder later this week). NetNews Improvements We've updated the Latest Status area on the home page (when logged in) with Latest NetNews (which includes Status). NetNews is updated by a variety of events you do on Ecademy, such as connecting with another member, leaving a testimonial, posting a status, blog, comment, marketplace listing or club message. When members contribute to Ecademy their NetNews feed is updated automatically giving visibility to all other members. It's worth making sure you have a photo loaded as that encourages people to connect to you. Back up your Network All Subscribing members may now backup their Ecademy Network. To undertake a backup, navigate to your profile and select the contacts tab, Back up contacts is an option shown in the blue bar. (Note the data visible in each contact record is determinded by each member account settings - so email address for example may not be included if it is set not to display on the profile) Country and Global rankings - changes to the lists The lists showing country and global rankings (Navigate to your profile and click either the "Country Ranked XX" or "Global Ranked YY" links in the grey bar) show the top 100 networkers, by network size or "Good" ratings. These lists now include Members as well as subscribers (BlackStars and PowerNetworkers) and so the ranking on your profile is accurately reflected in the lists. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) A reminder that BlackStar and PowerNetworker subscribers now get additional Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) features to increase visibility: "Google Keywords": Keywords will be passed as a quoted middle name when search engines spider the site - such as 'William "Membership Manager" Buist "Google Description": The text that is displayed underneath the link in search results is now a new field on your Profile, Blogs, Meetings, Clubs and Marketplace - improving the control you have over what is seen when others find your pages in a Search on the internet. Add your SEO keywords and description here >> Hardware Upgrade Whilst preparing for the hardware upgrade some risks were identified that meant additional work was required in advance. The upgrade was postponed as a result, to ensure that the impact on members during the transition will be minimised. We will make further announcements in the near future.

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The Ecademy Team

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Members & SEO

March 2008 We have replaced "Basic Member" with a more inclusive Membership level - 'Member', increasing the extent and effectiveness of BlackStar and PowerNetworkers with Search Engines and adding additional features for subscribers. All current Basic Members have automatically been upgraded to this membership level. "Member" is Ecademy's new free to join membership. All Members at all levels will be entitled toCreate a profile, post meetings, add comments to blogs, join and post in clubs, add profile notes, and link to external content on their profilesLink to a profile video hosted at YouTubeReduce the prominence of advertising by logging inPost Status and appear in contact and member search lists and be displayed on relevant mapsRetain up to 20 saved searches without email alerts BlackStars and PowerNetworkers get additional Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) features: "Google SEO Keywords": Keywords will be passed as a quoted middle name when search engines spider the site - such as 'William "Membership Manager" Buist, add your SEO keywords here >> (scroll down once entered your SEO Profile Description to the SEO Keywords field) "Google SEO Description": The text that is displayed underneath the link in search results is now a new field on your Profile, Blogs, Meetings, Clubs and Marketplace - improving the control you have over what is seen when others find your pages in a Search. Send unlimited Network Messages per day thus unlimited Network size as each message with a reply increases your Network (Members are restricted to 10 per day) Start blogs, run clubs and use Marketplace - all of which assist your visibility in Ecademy and search engines rankings such as GoogleSaved searches and email alerts increased to 20 for PowerNetworkers - for information on setting these up see here >> In order to make the first name and last name fields clean (thus appearing correctly in search results on Ecademy) non-alphanumeric characters will be stripped from the start of first and last name fields. "Members" will not display a star thus increasingly the visibility of subscribers. Changes to the invitation and sign up process Further changes have been made to the Join Ecademy pages to simplify them and make signing up to Ecademy faster. With the change of membership levels, Members who invite their friends and colleagues will receive a free full one month PowerNetworker (previously Network Pass) and a further month free for each additional 10 people who join. It's therefore possible to access all of the paid features of PowerNetworker by expanding their network. BlackStars and PowerNetworkers continue to enjoy the rewards from the Ecademy Associate Program for expanding their network. Inviting your friends and colleagues via the invitation system quickly increases your network value and crucially checks to see if they are already within the Ecademy Network and connects you to each other. These changes will create a more open and inclusive environment for Members, PowerNetworkers and BlackStars to interact, build relationships and develop their businesses through the connections that they make. Improved control of external visibility to search engines will help BlackStars and PowerNetworkers to leverage their use of the Ecademy site and beyond.

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The Ecademy Team

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10 years of Ecademy!

February 2008 February 7th 2008 is Ecademy's tenth anniversary, we want to celebrate all that we have collectively achieved and thank you for making it happen. In recognition of the contribution you have made to Ecademy, we've created a celebratory badge "Connecting on Ecademy in the first 10 years" (see above) to display above your photo on your profile page - you can enable your badge here >> We have also provided our Basic Members an opportunity to experience PowerNetworking benefits, giving a one month PowerNetworker Pass, effective from today 7th February. The 10 Year Celebration page here >> is where we are featuring BlackStar and PowerNetworker company logos / photos with links with every page refresh. The next 10 years have started with the launch of a new area on Ecademy, The Institute of Networking where we have information and links to networking resources including brand new training videos that show you how to maximise your network and business on Ecademy, all the videos are freely available to all members here >>. 10 years ago today! Ecademy was born, please read my article here >>. Penny Power - Ecademy Founder Please visit the 10 Year Celebration page here >> to view BlackStar and PowerNetworker members and their companies who have been vital in the growth of Ecademy - thank you!

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The Ecademy Team

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Training Videos

February 2008 Ecademy was founded on February 7th 1998 as a place for business people to learn, network and develop their business and careers. Today, over 300,000 people visit the website each month with members in all 222 countries. Since 1998 Ecademy has always been dedicated to connecting business people and supporting networking through shared learning and training. We have launched a series of training videos that are available free of charge to all members that cover most of the main aspects of growing your network and business on Ecademy. Click the links or the screen below to watch the Training Videos: Ecademy Founders - Caught on Camera - Uncut! The out-takes from the filming of the videos below! Why Ecademy? - Ethos, community and tools Getting Maximum Results - Know yourself and how to communicate effectively Find Your Flame, Leave The Rest To Others - Creating attraction, spending time on the right things Mastering Your Ecademy Profile - Communicate who you are - your passions, your expertise, your legacy Mastering Invites - Bring contacts together for effective time saving and create opportunities Mastering MarketPlace - Boost your Google ranking Mastering Blogs Publishing into the demand - Sharing your expertise

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The Ecademy Team

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yourBusinessChannel

January 2008 yourBusinessChannel launches on EcademyAvailable to all Ecademists, yourBusinessChannel is the online TV channel that provides no-nonsense advice and guidance on many aspects of business. Feast your eyes on the latest shows - now viewable on Ecademy - from some of the world's top business experts, including "Six surefire strategies for social networking profits" by Ecademy Founder Penny Power. The current shows include: Six surefire strategies for social networking profits The secret to getting business from networking Expert tips from the networking guru Sell more! The next internet wave Watch the shows here >> Thanks to yourBusinessChannel features Editor, Mark Sinclair, connect here >>

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The Ecademy Team

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NetNews, Messaging, HTML, Videos

January 2008 NetNews This is a major new feature that helps to spread news of your activity, your network of contacts and the wider Ecademy network, NetNews is a tab on your profile and is updated with information about activity on the site in three ways (there are links at the top of the netnews page): Contacts' NetNews (this is the default view)Your NetNewsEveryone's NetNewsNetNews also appears on the right hand side of the home page (when logged in). NetNews is a dynamic, real time feed of activity across the Ecademy site, entries are created for:Profile updatesStatus UpdatesLocation UpdatesBlog Posts and comments Marketplace listingsAdding a meetingAdding a testimonialStarting a club (excluding starting a BlackStar Inner Circle)Joining a club (public clubs only)Posting a club thread (public clubs only)Responding to a club thread (public clubs only)People joining your connected contacts This means that most of the public activity you undertake on Ecademy is visible to the membership network (activity is not visible to non members) with the relevant links. Ecademy's mission is to connect business people, this development is a great improvement for your visibility as your activity will drive connections from interested people within the network. To see NetNews for your network of contacts - navigate to your own profile, click the NetNews tab and click 'Contacts' NetNews'. to see what others are seeing about you click 'Your NetNews' (this is also a great short cut for regular activity you do) and to see all members news click 'Everyone's NetNews'. Training Videos During February (our 10th birthday!) we will be launching a series of training videos that will be available to all members, to watch a highlight from one of the series "How to Boost your Google Ranking" click here >> Ecademy Founders Thomas & Penny Power's knowledge was productized at SmartLearn Studios. To learn more connect with Giorgio Burlini here >> Private Message Notifications There is a new Privacy and Display Setting for BlackStar members. "Private Message Signature". If it's turned on then signatures and the profile photo thumbnail are automatically added to the notification email that goes out when a Network Message is sent within Ecademy. The resultant notification also includes a thumbnail of the BlackStar sending the message and is rendered in HTML. This option is defaulted to off and must be opted into before it becomes operational. Network Messages Many members have welcomed the 'New Inbox' feature, allowing them to look at all the new messages from members and mark them as read or reply. As a result of further feedback we've changed the default behaviour when you complete a message or reply so you are returned to your New Inbox rather than remaining on the profile of the person you are messaging. This change will make sending messages and working in the 'New Inbox' message view much quicker and easier. Automatic HTML Tidying HTML checking is now done when editing your profile or signature, with warnings when saved with errors in the HTML. The warning message is displayed (only to you), you can choose to ignore the warning and save anyway or choose to edit where the system will highlight what is incorrect. Blogs, comments, club pages and Marketplace listings are also HTML checked and repaired at display time. This will help for example when a signature displayed in a blog or comment affected all the other comments below it. Upcoming hardware upgrade A reminder that as part of Ecademy's ongoing commitment to members (and as a result of continually increasing usage of the site) the infrastructure that supports the site will be undergoing a major upgrade now scheduled for late February, early March 2008. As well as improved servers some of the background software will be updated and upgraded. These changes will provide additional capacity and deliver an improved, faster and more reliable delivery of the web pages. It's a major change and whilst we are working to minimise the impact during transition it's likely that there will need to be some downtime. More information will be provided nearer the time.

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The Ecademy Team

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2008 Membership Survey

January 2008 We have launched our annual survey to help us all understand who is in the network, many thanks to everyone who has completed it so far, it's still running and there are 10 £50 / E67 / $100 prizes which will be drawn at random from those who complete the survey and provide an email address (surveys can be completed anonymously too). We will as always share a summary of the results, thanks in advance for your participation. The survey is conducted according to the Market Research Society Code of Conduct by an independent marketing company. Click here >> now to take part. Many thanks for your help and best of luck in the draw!

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The Ecademy Team

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Hardware, Members, BlackStart, Pricing, Facebook

November 2007 Upcoming hardware upgradeAs part of Ecademy's ongoing commitment to members (and as a result of continually increasing usage of the site) the infrastructure that supports the site will be undergoing a major upgrade currently scheduled in January 2008. As well as improved servers some of the background software will be updated and upgraded. These changes will provide additional capacity and deliver an improved, faster and more reliable delivery of the web pages. It's a major change and whilst we are working to minimise the impact during transition it's likely that there will need to be some downtime. More information will be provided nearer the time. UnsubscribeThe method of unsubscribing from mails from Ecademy has been overhauled and the links on the bottom of emails have been changed to redirect recipients to the simplified page. If someone is logged out they can still unsubscribe (this wasn't possible before) and they'll receive a confirmation email to the email address they put in. Member improvementsMessaging - We've added the ability to cc (send a copy of a network message) to two additional people in your network rather than just one Network Pass Improvements - New Basic Members with a current Network Pass can now additionally comment on Blogs and vote in, and comment on, polls. Additionally they can now start a club, and they as well as Basic Members can now start threads in the clubs they belong too. We believe that these changes will assist new members in evaluating PowerNetworker services while helping all club leaders in developing active and vibrant clubs that benefits all members of the club and helps BlackStars and PowerNetworkers to build a relevant group of connected active members The interrupt screen shown from time to time for logged in Basic Members to encourage them to upgrade has been removed. Feedback from Basic members was that this was a significant disincentive to using the system Importing contacts from LinkedIn and WebMail services - The options to import contacts from your LinkedIn and webmail accounts was not readily visible, so that page has been improved to make this function more readily accessible plus the invitation screens have been improved and simplified. Invite your contacts to join your network on Ecademy from here >> Marketplace improvements - The usage of Marketplace has been accelerating steadily this year, members have not been as well served as they could have been by the current default layout of Marketplace, particularly outside the UK With immediate effect the default Marketplace listing displayed to you when logged in will be those listings from the country recorded in your profile. This makes listings around the globe more effective for advertisers, whilst still allowing all users to view all listings through the use of the filter controls on the top right of the Marketplace listings page, or through clicking the new 'See all' link which has the same effect in one click Search improvementsAs part of Ecademy's commitment to off-line networking as well as on-line two saved searches now have automatic alerts added for new members. These mean that when someone local to you (in your town), or from your organisation joins Ecademy you'll receive an email alert with a link to their profile. For existing member the underlying searches are already set up but alerts are defaulted to off. This article here >> provides details of how to set up additional alerts to help you find the people and content relevant to you automatically. BlackStart Fast Track Executive ServicesTime is precious. A professional image and reputation is mandatory to success. Now available to BlackStar members, BlackStart Fast Track Executive Services takes the pain away of setting up and maintaining the key elements of your online networking such as your profile, responders, marketplace listings, clubs as well as ongoing advice to ensure you get more visibility (both on Ecademy and via Google) and help in accelerating and building your reputation and credibility. Ecademy have designed a range of highly flexible services to suit individuals at whatever level of support needed. More details on BlackStart Fast Track Executive Services here >> Find out more about BlackStar membership here >> We are also developing a service for all other members - watch out for PowerStart services available in early 2008! PricingWe have reviewed the pricing for 2008 and thanks to feedback and consultation with members we will be doing the following: Basic membership will remain free of charge in all territories. PowerNetworker membership monthly subscription will remain the same for the time being:-£10 (+ VAT) in the UK€14.00 Euros in the Euro zone (plus VAT where applicable)14.95$ in the USA and elsewhere$5 in emerging countries. BlackStar membership will increase to:-£100 per month (Including VAT) in the UK€100 Euros in the Euro zone (plus VAT where applicable)$100 in the USA and elsewhere Introductory pricing offers such as Starter Packs for new members including 2 free months membership, Network Pass membership, and sponsors and promotional arrangements will remain but may change from time to time and without notice. Note UK subscribing members continue to benefit from more networking events with free or discounted access to Ecademy Events and regional meetings as well as special deals and discounts such as Avanta virtual offices, meeting rooms and office space Ecademy Contacts on FacebookEcademy Contacts is a Facebook application to add into your Facebook profile. It adds a link to your Facebook profile that points back to your Ecademy profile that is visible to any of your Facebook friends. If you add the application, you can also view a list of your contacts on Ecademy and navigate from there to their contacts and so on. If they have also added the application then their entry has a link to their Facebook profile. If not, then there is a shortcut to find them on Facebook. To install the application just click here >> (you need to log into your Facebook account before installing) and follow the usual Facebook prompts. The application attempts to work out who you are but if it fails then the first time you run it, it will ask you for your Ecademy ID. This page has a link to Ecademy so if you are logged in to Ecademy already, you can just follow the link and it will get your ID automatically (your ID is at the top of this page here >>).

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The Ecademy Team

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Site improvements, tools and 2008 Pricing

October 2007 Changes to the Testimonial FunctionsTestimonials are a great way to help those who have helped you. The display of testimonials has been tidied up and the picture of the person leaving the testimonial has been added. This should aids quick recognition of the testimonials left by the people you know well. There is a new toggle at the top of the page so you can display the testimonials left by a person as well those left for them. This allows you to see quickly whom someone recommends. We believe these changes make a further significant improvement in the way that Ecademy can help you to develop and grow your reputation and credibility in the network, and find the people with the best reputations as reflected by the recommendations of others - login and visit your testimonial area here >> Changes to Network MessagesYou can now mark all existing messages as read from your own Inbox or mark all messages from another member when reviewing the messages between you. This enables you to 'catch up' and then use the existing "New Inbox" functionality to review just the new messages you receive. Read your new network messages here >> Auto_Responders Notification SettingA new opt out for Auto-responders has been added to the notifications section of your profile - you can manage your notifications here >> BlackStar PhotosAs well as the BlackStar Private Directory, there is now a BlackStars Photos here>>. A page with all the Blackstar thumbnail pictures to help connect more quickly and to help you spot the people you have met or know. We continue to add more and more value to BlackStar membership - the update list which now features 30 additional tools and services which automate and simplify Ecademy are displayed on the BlackStar club home page here >>. We have also produced a BlackStar Information Pack - you can download it here >> Members Online, Contacts online, photosThese pages now show a tick mark if the member is in your network, to help you spot the people you have met or know - view the last 100 members who are currently online now here >>, members online in your network are here >> Subscription cost guarantee and Subscription cost changes with effect from January 1st 2008Members are critical to the success of Ecademy and, therefore to recognise our paying members including long term contributors, with immediate effect Ecademy is introducing a subscription guarantee that ensures that, provided you maintain your subscription within the terms and conditions and continue payments, Ecademy will never raise the price of your PowerNetworker or BlackStar subscription. It's been four years since the price of PowerNetworker subscriptions was reviewed during which time a significant increase in functionality has been provided, see here >> for the long list! Note the PowerNetworker pricing announced in October has been updated as per the pricing announcement on November 30th 2007 - below is the amend pricing: Basic membership will remain free of charge in all territories. PowerNetworker membership monthly subscription will remain the same for the time being:-£10 (+ VAT) in the UK€14.00 Euros in the Euro zone (plus VAT where applicable)14.95$ in the USA and elsewhere$5 in emerging countries. BlackStar membership will increase to:-£100 per month (Including VAT) in the UK€100 Euros in the Euro zone (plus VAT where applicable)$100 in the USA and elsewhere Introductory pricing offers such as Starter Packs for new members including 2 free months membership, Network Pass membership, and sponsors and promotional arrangements will remain but may change from time to time and without notice. Note UK subscribing members continue to benefit from more networking events with free or discounted access to Ecademy Events and regional meetings as well as special deals and discounts such as Avanta virtual offices, meeting rooms and office space Terms and Conditions of Membership Some changes to simplify and others to ensure the terms and conditions reflect the current functionality of the site have been made. The current Terms and Conditions can be found here >> and the linked pages. BlackStar Terms and Conditions have also been simplified and can be found here >>

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The Ecademy Team

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Banner Advertising on Ecademy

October 2007 We have launched an exciting new advertising service with our partner Adify, giving every member the opportunity to advertise on the Ecademy web site in the same areas normally reserved for advertising agencies and brands. Four banner advertisement slots are available, giving you the opportunity to promote your products and services - not just to other members - but to all 300,000 unique visitors who visit the Ecademy website each month! Starting from just £4 / E6 / $8 you can spend as little or as much as you like. There are no long term contracts or anything like that, which means you can use the system as and when you need it. The service gives you complete flexibility, control and statistics. To find out more or to get started right away visit: http://www.ecademy.com/advertise.php

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The Ecademy Team

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Automated productivity and communication tools

September 2007 BlackStar ToolsBlackstar members continue to get additional help to accelerate and focus their networking to fast track their business. We've already enabled BlackStars to automate reposting of their marketplace listings which are regularly indexed by search engines such as Google, there are now a significant number of other automated features. The full list of BlackStar benefits and features is now available on the home page of the BlackStar Club here >>> Key additional Benefits are: Private network message auto responses to BlackStar Marketplace Listings visits - follow up prospects and potential clients with a tailored message automatically, these messages can be personalised. Private network message auto responses to BlackStar Advertisement visits (rotated banners) - follow up prospects and potential clients with a tailored personalised message automatically Personalised private network message auto responses to profile visits from unconnected contacts - grow your network more effectively and never miss out on a profile visit again Personalised private network message auto responses to visitors to club home pages run by BlackStars - growing club membership more quickly and easily Tools to communicate with selected groups of connected contacts to advise them of meetings, club events and other important news - save *lots* of time with group messaging to your network (*see note)BlackStars now enjoy over 20 additional tools to accelerate their business growth More details on BlackStar membership here >>> BlackStar and PowerNetworker ToolsWe've also added some tools to help all subscribing members to communicate information about the meetings and clubs that they run. Key additional Benefits are: Send a standard private network message to all or some of your contacts to alert them to a meeting you are running (*see note) Send a standard Ecademy invitation to non-members whom you wish to invite to alert them to a meeting you are running (You can upload a list of email addresses) Send a standard private network message to all or some of your contacts to tell them about a club you are running (*see note) Send a standard Ecademy invitation to non-members whom you wish to invite to invite to join your club (You can upload a list of email addresses) More details on BlackStar and PowerNetworker here >>> All Member ToolsWe've also added tools to help all members to upload and invite contacts to expand their network, plus send information to their contacts about meetings, events and clubs that may be of interest. Key additional Benefits are: Links to other contact and management and email systems have been improved to enable you to expand your network more effectively - you can now easily upload and invite your contacts at LinkedIn, Hotmail, Gmail etc. to your network on Ecademy here >>> We've added more filters on lists to enable all members to view subsets of content Send a standard invitation as a private network message to all or some of your contacts (*see note) or an email to non-members to invite them to join a club on Ecademy Send a standard private network message to all or some of your contacts (*see note) or a standard an email to non-members to alert them to a meeting or networking event Opt In / OutWe've also added a number of new opt in / opt out features to allow all members to control the messages and email that they receive from Ecademy members. Club Messages, and Club Admin MessagesNot ticked means you get NO notifications for forum messages from any clubs you belong to regardless of the club notification settings you have chosen. This allows you to choose a globally turn off club notifications - useful if you go on holiday for example. Ticked means that you will be sent mail according to the notification settings in each club that you are a member of.Club/Meeting InvitesNot ticked means you get NO notifications sent by members you are connected to who send an invitation to their network to join a club/meeting that you are not registered with.Ticked means that you will be sent those invites.Message all ContactsNot ticked means you get NO notifications sent by those you are connected to and who have sent their network a message.Ticked means that you will be sent those messages. To get to these settings go to your profile and click notifications in the left hand menu (then scroll down the page) here >>> * Note: Group messaging to multiple network contacts is restricted to one group message per function per month.

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Training Course

September 2007 Compared to traditional forms of marketing, Online Social Networking is proving to be one of the best investments a business can make. Using the tools and resources that Ecademy has developed, a small business can quickly and effectively find the right kind of people it needs to grow. In normal networking situations you need to dress up, travel to the venue, and meet a limited number of people. Meeting the right people to do business with can take a long time and cost a lot of money. Ecademy allows you to search and attract the exact people you would like to meet 24 hours a day from your office or home. It can rapidly speed up your accumulation of "social capital". Having a powerful online presence can also help you to position yourself as an expert, become more visible in your marketplace, establish credibility and leverage your existing products and services. The Ecademy Training Course will teach you: How Online Social Networking is changing the face of business How to get business through Ecademy How to use Ecademy to boost your Google ratings How you can position yourself as an expert in your field How to find customers, suppliers, staff, partners and investors on Ecademy How to use Ecademy for fun and socialising in the real world How to get the most from clubs, blogs, market place listings and polls About Your Host - Thomas Power Thomas co-founded Ecademy.com in 1998. Since then Ecademy has ridden through the dot.com boom, subsequent crash and the climb back up again. Ecademy.com has grown to almost 200,000 members globally and has seen almost 100% growth a year in membership. All this without big corporate backing, offices or huge marketing budgets. Thomas is one of the most respected networking and dot.com experts in the UK. He is passionate about emerging social networking patterns, shapes and trends. Cost The cost of this training course is just 42.50 +VAT. Look out for announcements with the dates and locations in the events calendar here >>>

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Streetcards - Business Cards That Work

September 2007 Ecademy have a new partnership with Streetcards for the perfect solution, great offers with is the easiest way to create and order your business cards online...just a few clicks and you're done! Special offers for Ecademy Members on Business Cards As a or you'll receive your first order of 50 matt laminated Streetcards, printed FREE! Thereafter, repeat orders from PowerNetworker and BlackStar members benefit from the following: When you order between 50-250 Streetcards, you will receive 50% extra in your order at no extra charge When you order 500 or more Streetcards, you will receive 25% extra in your order at no extra charge To learn more and/or place your order click on the button at the bottom of this web page here >>> As a , the following FREE upgrades are available:When you order 100 or 250 Streetcards, you'll receive 50% extra in your order at no extra charge When you order 500 or more Streetcards, you'll receive 15% extra in your order at no extra charge To learn more and/or place your order click on the button at the bottom of this web page here >>>

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The Ecademy Team

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Support, Invites, Contacts, Clubs & BIC's

August 2007 A number of changes have being released today which continue to improve the experience on the Ecademy web site: Ecademy SupportEcademy's support functions have now been integrated into the Ecademy networking platform to help provide a better service to all members and make it easier for members to raise and track the answers to questions. Once logged in, a new menu option on the home page and your profile page 'Support Request' allows you to raise support requests and these are then displayed on that support page, along with the response from the Ecademy support team when it is sent. These requests are visible only to you and the support team. Before raising a support request consider whether the question has been asked (and answered) before - remember to look at the FAQ section - (Click Help on the top right and follow the links from there) - The FAQ's are here >>>. Also it's always worth doing a search in the blogs section to see if others have raised the question there before, or raising the question as a blog to get the view of other Ecademists too. In the event of not having access to Ecademy (such as forgetting your password) it is still possible to log a request or use the support@ecademy.com email for help. There is quite a lot of functionality included here which goes on behind the scenes to help the support team to respond to requests, and we'll be reviewing it in the light of usage over the next few months to align the system with actual needs. OpenIdWe now have support for a new internet standard for single sign on called OpenId. This allows you to use a single identification to login to any web site that supports it. You can get an OpenID at MyOpenId.com and find out more about the service there. Once you have an OpenId, go to My settings, OpenID to associate it with your account. Once this has been done, you can log in to Ecademy on the normal Login page using this ID instead of your Ecademy ID and password. Just scroll down to the second box on the login page. Network, Contacts, MembersWe've made some changes to the descriptions used to make these terms clearer and consistently applied. Changes to the Menu's also apply to make navigating the network (of members) and your contacts (people that you have connected with on Ecademy) easier. The Network menu has been changed to have a section at the top related to your messages, then a section related to your contacts, then a section to see who has been on-line recently, both just within your contacts, and then members generally, and finally there are sections that let you review wider views of Members to help you identify additional people to contact. Clubs "Like Me"The number of clubs has grown considerably and we are keen to help people find the clubs that match their interests and needs. This is particularly true for new members who can feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clubs. The wide variety of subjects and content being generated in the clubs is great news for individuals who find the right clubs and can demonstrate their expertise and build relationships in an environment of like minded people. We've therefore introduced a function which utilises your 50 words on your profile to search for clubs which are 'like you'. This feature is on all profiles so you can find matching clubs to profiles that interest you. This is bound to throw up some very interesting matches and we look forward to hearing about some of the unexpected club connections that happen. Add or edit your 50 words here >>> BlackStar Inner Circles (BIC's)These special private mastermind groups of BlackStar members operating to support each other in small groups have had some changes to the functionality following feedback from members (up to 16 people may now join any one BIC). BIC's enable Blackstars to build strong relationships, support, both business and personal, and refer business in a confidential, closed enviroment. Invites - People who have joinedThe "Invited and Joined" list has been improved so that you can easily see a list of people you've invited and are on Ecademy with a drop down filter box at the top right hand side as to whether they're in your contacts network or not. This allows you to easily find and connect up with people who you know who have directly rather than from your invitation.

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The Ecademy Team

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Location, Search and BlackStar Features

August 2007 A number of changes are being released today which will provide improvements to the experience of using Ecademy. Location and StatusImprovements in the Status page mean that you can now update your location and status at the same time.The address search function has been rewritten making it faster and more reliable. The map now allows you to drag and drop the marker, and double click to zoom in. Ecademy SearchesSome additional improvements have been made to the extent of the search indexes, which now include the help elements of Ecademy (the indexes will be live in a few days time). BlackStar ListingsA new filter for listings has been added to show only Listings by Blackstar members. When you visit the Marketplace tabs you can select the filters on the right hand side. There is now a new check box filter "Blackstar".The left hand Menu includes a link to this filtered list as well as a new tab. Automated Advertising - Blackstar members now get a new optional parameter when posting a Marketplace listing. "Repost weekly on expiry". When a listing expires with this setting, it is marked back as current with a one week expiry. BlackStar Profile PageBlackStar members now have an extra profile page that is visible to BlackStars only, useful for special announcements and offers within the BlackStar community.

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The Ecademy Team

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Additions and Improvements to Ecademy Functionality

July 2007 Additions and Improvements to Ecademy FunctionalityA number of changes are being released today which we hope will provide improvements to the experience of using Ecademy.InformationStatusContacts MapSaved LocationsLoki ToolbarBlackstar Inner CirclesClubsAdditional support and helpEmails to MembersProfilesMember Information Since the redesign a number of members have highlighted that it is quite hard to find the benefits of membership when they seek to upgrade. Additionally existing members could not easily reference the information relating to their level of membership. We have added an Upgrade tab to the Main tabset which allows quick access to this information to all members tailored to their current membership level. StatusContacts Map There is a new Status map available by clicking on this link in your profile - This shows status for your contacts only. Saved LocationsWhen you chose a second and subsequent location when setting your status these are automatically saved and you can return to them from the drop down shown in the image. This allows you to quickly reset a commonly used location without having to remember the postcode or find it on the map.Loki SupportThe Loki Toolbar provides a means of estimating your position from wireless hotspots. If you live in an area with lots of hot-spots the accuracy will be higher than if you have none. It is particularly accurate in parts of America, but it's accuracy elsewhere is currently more limited but improving. It's useful if you travel a lot with a laptop that is wireless enabled. BlackStar Inner CirclesBlackstar Inner Circles (BIC's are specialist mastermind clubs for Blackstar's only and the list of all clubs has been amended to sort the BIC's that a Blackstar is a member of to the top of the list. ClubsHelp and InformationClubs and activity in clubs is growing fast and a larger number of Ecademists are taking advantage of the functionality to set up and run clubs in their area of expertise or interest. Members have been increasingly asking for support for their activities as a a club leader. Helen Winder has been running the Mentoring Ecademy Club Leaders forum to do this and she has now been joined by Phil Calvert to assist her in that role. Both Helen and Phil have significant experience in running clubs and the forum they have created already has a significant body of knowledge to help club leaders to build their clubs. This forum is akin to a dynamic jointly developed help system where Club Leaders should be able to get quick help for their club issues. From today members forming a new club will be automatically joined to this forum if they are not already connected to it.Emails to MembersSome minor bugs in the club administration functionality have been iron out and it now possible to filter any mailings form the club leaders to some quite specific subsets of the membership, including subscriber level and the date the member joined the club. That allows you (for example) to mail all members who joined in the last month and highlight threads they might wish to comment on as a new member without having to give the message to established membersProfiles When you visit a profile of another member you can add a note to their profile which you can see and they cannot. When you are looking at their profile click 'your notes'. You might, for example, leave a note such as 'Call before August 12th. From your own profile you can click 'your notes' and see all the notes left on all profiles you have visited. You can edit them or delete them at any time. This is not new functionality but the links to it were not obvious and are now much clearer.

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The Ecademy Team

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Current Status

June 2007 Ecademy's aim is to connect business people and to achieve that it has built functionality around private messaging, meetings, blogs, advertising and clubs, as well as providing resources and space for profile and other information. All of this allows people to come across others who are using the site, read about them, form a view from their contributions, be those as blogs, or club contributions or Marketplace Listings, or from face to face and organised meetings off-line. (as well as Ecademy.TV for the monthly meetings in London) In addition a number of features exist to help create random connections, with lots of quick links from contributions to allow messages to be sent, and statistics and lists of members, along with searches and search alerts. Developing more interactive informationOne thing that has been commented by a number of members is that there is no functionality to record current status so it's not possible for example to readily record when you are away on Holiday, or even sitting in a coffee shop in Memphis watching the world go by. From today Ecademy has introduced this functionality. It's accessed from your profile (we've added a "Status" tab) Adding your status This is really quick to do and the single entry box on the home page when logged in or via the new "Status" tab on profiles allows you to enter a one line statement about your current status. Examples might be: In a meeting until 3On holiday until the 23rdAvailable to Skype - Skype text first - ID AnEcademistJoin me for a coffee in Leicester Square, LondonThe latest members who change their status will be shown at the bottom of the logged in home pageViewing the status of your contacts / all MembersYou can view the latest status updates from people in your contact network or the whole of Ecademy by clicking the relevant links. Setting your locationIt's also possible to set your current location, from the relevant link on the status tab, which, once saved is shown (by name) against the status you have entered. You can display your location on a map and so link up with people close to you. The map for all users shows people's status dynamically as well as their global location. The text will be open to Google. These elements should allow members to display real time information about their location and status (if they choose to do so) and also to leave status messages when you do not wish to be disturbed or are unavailable. Checking someone's status will be useful before contacting them too, as a clear current status should help make the contact more effective.

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The Ecademy Team

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Website Design Updates

May 2007 Thanks all members for the detailed feedback in a number of areas following the redesign a month ago. In particular a number of important comments have been made in the Ecademy User Group Club that have helped inform some amendments that have been made. Logged Out PageFeedback about the visibility of Marketplace has led to changes. The most recent Marketplace advertisement with a link to all listings will be shown on the logged out home page and the Marketplace tab (with Blog and Club tabs) have been restored to allow those who visit to take a look at the site (if they wish) before making a decision to sign up. These links were available on the bottom of the page but were not as visible. Logged In pagesMessagesThe introduction of the new message functionality in the last release has been well received, but members highlighted that it wasn't possible to remove the new status unless they replied to the message. As a result "Mark as read" functionality has been added to message displays when a message is "New". If you're in single person's messages then marking as read will remove the "New" status of the message and return you to the same page. Elsewhere it returns to the "All New Messages" display. Spotlight Formally called Top Ten, the functionality will help people who visit your profile to meet other people that you know. You can spotlight up to 20 (up from 10) people (which adds a link and a thumbnail to the spotlight page on your profile). If you choose not to spotlight any particular contacts then the page will display the people in your network who have been on-line most recently. The reverse direction is also added "In other's spotlight". that list will show up to 100. Clicking on any photo will go to the Spotlight area for that person. Recently on-line Defaults to the thumbnail pictures view. The thumbnail layout has been improved and shows a dummy picture if they don't have one. Three links at the top to Photos view, list view and map view. These functions allow members to identify active networkers and connect with them if they choose to do so. InvitationsWe've changed the invitation default text to help to make the invitations more effective. Members can still amend the text to their own of course. The automated headers and footers on invitation emails have been improved. Marketplace ListingsThe listings block in the left margin has been moved up to improve the visibility of Marketplace entries. Clarifying External Visibility of PostingsWe've added a warning message when starting a thread or adding to an existing message has been added for private clubs saying that content is private and cannot be seen outside Ecademy or by non-members. Addresses on ProfilesMoving contact details to a separate tab has proved annoying, especially when printing the profile.so the address and Contact detail have been returned to the main profile page and the addresses tab removed. AdvertisementsSome changes to the positioning of the advertising has been made to make it less intrusive to non-logged in visitors to the site. Other ChangesBasic members are not be listed in the Ratings, Statistics pages and Top Networker lists Some cosmetic and usability changes have been made on the links at the top right of the screen.

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The Ecademy Team

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Web site design

April 2007 Welcome to the new look EcademyThis revision in the look and feel of Ecademy is the result of feedback from members, input from specialist Designers and, of course the work of the IT team headed by Ecademy's CTO Julian Bond. The aims of these changes and the main benefits were discussed in this blog. There are some changes in the design from the screenshots we used then, as a result of continued optimisation of the design and the code. What do you need to do?No changes to any of your existing material, profiles, clubs and content are required. All HTML formatting will continue to work as before. The old three column layout has changed to a two column layout, so the flow of text will change slightly. A Shifted EmphasisThis new design moves the focus further onto the people in the network, it increases individuals visibility and it helps to make the interactions between members easier. It is more obvious how to help people build their reputation through ratings and testimonials. Ratings help people to be recognised by their peers for what they do, and leaving testimonial's helps your reputation too, because people see that you support the people who help you. In a new feature you can now highlight up to 10 members who you rate as your personal top 10. This helps others to see who you really recommend and allows them to connect. You can change this list at any time. In the old design it was hard for people to find your Marketplace adverts and public content (blogs) and these are now more visibly linked to your profile. That means that from one page people can see the knowledge that you are sharing publicly - allowing you to blog your opinions and expertise without the material disappearing down a rapidly moving list of public blogs. From the same profile page all your current Marketplace advertisements are readily viewable too. In effect your profile provides a much more rounded view of you, your expertise, your knowledge, skills, products and services, and one that is more dynamic. It will be continually enriched as you add Marketplace listings, blogs, articles and comments and help that you provide others when interacting on the site. Note : All the existing Blog postings and Marketplace listings and the existing functionality on the respective tabs remains and is unaffected by the change, and all postings, comments and listings will still be notified to Google for indexing as they were before the change. Building your networkMany members expressed concern about the impact of the old design in terms of the impression it left on people who visited the site. Many told us that they felt that the wrong impression could be created and it was too complicated. The new design addresses those criticisms and, we believe, makes the site look very professional and businesslike. We know from the experience of members that when a member's supplier and associate networks are also members that it is easier and quicker to leveraging the members expertise and skills with that personal network. It means that your network can quickly get a deeper and more robust understanding of your work and where you add value. Mutual support works at its best when all the parties are together. Inviting your network to join can help you build those close networks here, with your personal page including links to enable you to invite and track your invitations to join 9and also check to see if your contacts are already members). Anyone you invite who joins as a result of your invitation is automatically linked into your network. Help for new membersThe new design is intended to take much of the complexity out of the system for new users whilst retaining all the functionality for existing members. The new three step guide includes the important links to get people up and running quickly but without confusion. For established members it should help fill any gaps in your knowledge about using Ecademy too. Simplicity and SpeedFor all members the shift from a three column to a two column design, the simplification of the navigation and improvements in the positioning and quantity of advertising mean that the site is both simpler and faster to use. The simplicity will help us all get more value for less effort form the site and the speed improvements are a testament to the coding simplifications in the background. I hope you'll all agree that they are a great help. FeedbackInevitably there may be some niggles and bugs which have been missed in testing, although we expect them to be quite minor. If you do wish to make a comment on the general feel of the site please do so on this thread, but for suggestions on further improvements or reporting problems please can you make those comments on this thread in the Ecademy User Group. Many thanks We look forward to hearing how the new design is helping you develop your network and build / share your knowledge.

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The Ecademy Team

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Improved Ecademy membership benefits plus Networking Guide

March 2007 Summary of changes From today the level of activity which Guest Members can engage in will be increased to enable them to react to activity within Ecademy and engage with others to help to build value for all members. Feedback from members highlights the need to support appropriate interactions between all members and to help grow the activity of members off-line as well as on-line. Guest member's interactions, particularly in relation to 1-2-1 messaging and attendance at meetings and events organised by members, would benefit from more support from Ecademy and will help add value throughout the community. The purpose of these changes is to enable all existing people on the Guest Membership level - which we are rebranding to Basic Membership - to interact with subscribers and the site to enable the formation and development of business relationships with other members and to participate more effectively in off-line meetings and activities. The three levels of membership: BasicMember - Reactive networking PowerNetworker - Proactive Networking BlackStar - Accelerated Networking Existing GreenStar members keep their existing benefits - see note 1 What can a BasicMember do? BasicMember membership allows members to engage with other members in a reactive way and to become involved in a wide range of activities both on-line on Ecademy and off-line at events and club meetings. In detail, a BasicMember can: Respond to personal messages sent to them to engage with those who contact them. Previously when a Guest member received a private message they could read it, but not reply on Ecademy - meaning subscribing members weren't encouraged to connect knowing Guest members coudn't respond Join an unlimited numbers of clubs and participate in the club's activity.BasicMember cannot start threads in a club, but they can comment on threads that already exist in all clubs they belong to Be seen more readily, BasicMember will appear in the lists of people on-line. Full profiles will be visible to logged in members but not to those who are logged out (including the search engines) Use basic search Unlimited network size (Network list not visible, messaging restricted to replying only) Register and attend meetings BasicMembers will not be able to participate in the Blogs and Polls, Marketplace, or use the networking tools and advanced search features. What can newly joined members with a Network Pass do? When a new member joins Ecademy they are automatically provided with a Network Pass for 14 days (30 if they join from an invitation). Members using a Network Pass are provided with most of the benefits of PowerNetworker during that period. The key elements are: Send up to 10 Personal Network Messages a day Join an unlimited numbers of clubs; participate in the clubs activity and start threads in a club; comment on threads that already exist. Advertise using the Marketplace Use advanced search options and tools such as profile hits Extend their Network Pass by one month for every 10 members they invite who then join Ecademy. The allocation of those who join has been simplified and there is no longer a need to claim this reward, as it will be allocated automatically (this is also available to all BasicMembers) BasicMembers using a Network Pass will not be able to participate in the Blogs and Polls. What changes are there to PowerNetworker and BlackStar? Existing Powernetworkers and Blackstars continue to be able to interact as they do today, including: Fully interact with the site, including Blogs, Polls, Marketplace and Articles Form and run Clubs including chargeable Clubs Hold Meetings (including chargeable Meetings) Form and participate in confidential mastermind groups called Blackstar Inner Circles (Blackstar only) Send unlimited messages and manage their Network Use advanced search options including saved searches (now increased to 10 from 5) and search alerts Share in the revenue from new members through EAP (Ecademy Associates Programme) Embed objects in postings (Blackstar only) I am currently a Guest Member - what do I need to do? Nothing, your account will be upgraded to BasicMember automatically. Free 10 minute Guide to Social Networking In addition to the improvements above I'm very pleaseed to announce that all new and existing Ecademy members can now download Ecademy's brand new "Ten Minute Guide to Social Networking" here: http://www.ecademy.com/guide. Note 1: Existing GreenStar will continue to benefit from GreenStar membership until their next renewal. All GreenStar are offered a special PowerNetworker rate to upgrade. With immediate effect GreenStar membership includes the right to join unlimited clubs and have an unlimited network size.

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The Ecademy Team

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Free e-book - Winning by Sharing

February 2007 Winning by Sharing™ is a collection of true stories combined with market research and analysis about the future of work, how profoundly it will affect people in the next decade, and how this will take most people by surprise. Our thanks to the author Leon Benjamin for making his e-book available to BlackStars and PowerNetworkers™. Click here to download your copy >>>

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The Ecademy Team

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Survey Results

February 2007 Thanks to everyone who participated in the recent Ecademy membership survey, we had 2,521 people take part! Congratulations to Michelle Hooijmaijers who is the winner of the prize draw of one year's free PowerNetworker subscription! All Ecademy members can now download the summary of the survey here (Adobe PDF file). In the survey we asked you what one thing you'd like to enhance your membership to Ecademy, there were some very helpful answers that will ensure we continue to improve and add even more value to your Ecademy membership, some of the more popular ones included: Better interface, improved navigation, less clutter Barter scheme Live chatroom / instant messaging Better jobs and opportunities section Better access for Guests (either by opening up free access or bringing back a cheaper level) so people can interact with them and those who don't use site enough to be a PN or above can still add value/get involved Improve search Better step-by-step guides for beginners Enhance the messaging system (basically make it more like Outlook or hotmail) We are already addressing some of these - the interface, guides and Guest experience, more details coming soon! Thanks once again to everyone who took the time to participate.

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The Ecademy Team

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Enhanced Club funtionality

February 2007 Club Functionality and other changes launched today A significant change in a number of areas in Clubs (including Blackstar Inner Circles (BIC's)) on Ecademy is now live. These changes can make a huge difference to the way that members interact with the site and do business here. I've been delighted to see the changes which take account of the thoughts and feedback from many members over the last few months. Thank you for helping us to identify the need for these enhancements. Summary of New changes Menu choices: Menu's have been simplified and rationalised. Forum Categories: Categories for Club Forum posts. Regional/Approved Clubs: New categories of clubs have been created - Regional Approved Clubs and Approved Clubs Automatic joining: New Members will be automatically joined to their regional club. HTML Emails: Club Owners can send HTML or Plain text Emails to its members and also target specific groups of members to receive the email. Chargeable clubs and meetings: Clubs and meetings can have charges associated with them - paid directly into your Paypal accounts. Using the charging features: Some examples of how this new chargeable functionality can be used. Linking related clubs together: Enabling club owners to collaborate in groups of clubs, to the benefit of members Other features: Flags, Statistics, Searching, Navigation.Menu choicesA start has been made on rationalizing the menus although there is more Menu simplification that will be done soon. In this release certain options such as "Post a blog" have been moved to the top, and appear consistently where the action is in context. Some menu items have been moved to be links above the forum listing allowing other menu items to be combined for simplification. The menus have been rationalised by moving some of the options to drop down filters above the main content. We believe that the user experience will be simpler, particularly for newer members finding their way around the system. Return to summary Categories in forums.A Club leader can optionally define one or more categories for the club forum. These categories can then be selected when writing material to enable blogs of a similar type to be grouped together and to make reading the forum much easier. When viewing the forum (and in the menu) there is an option "Categories". When you select this link you are presented with a list of all the categories defined in that club, and the number and time of the last message in each category. You can drill down to see all the messages in just one category, and if you post a new thread while in that view the new thread will default to that category, making it easier to maintain multiple conversations on different topics in the same club forum. Club Leaders see an additional link "Add a forum category". Club leaders are encouraged to take responsibility for ensuring that the categories they define are appropriate for the discussions they wish to promote, but the number of categories is effectively unlimited. When a club leader or the author views a forum thread they get a drop down box of categories to move threads to a new category. Initially all existing threads will be uncategorised, When starting a new thread a category drop down box is available defaulting to the current category. Return to summary Approved and Regional ClubsClubs can be Regional Clubs, meaning that they are an Ecademy branded Club that covers a geographic area, Approved Clubs, meaning that they are approved by Ecademy (i.e. a partnership is in place) , or, for most clubs, neither. There are two new menu options "Regional Clubs" and "Approved Clubs" which take you to lists of just this type. A club owner may choose in Club Admin to identify that their club is specifically for promoting Ecademy and networking events within a region. This sets it to "Ecademy Regional Club" and sends a notification email to their local regional, country or group of countries leader. Return to summary Auto-joining country club on signup to EcademyWhere a club is associated (by Ecademy) to a group of countries (i.e. Asia-Pacific), or to a Country ( i.e. France) and a new member joins Ecademy specifying a matching country in their profile then they are automatically added to the associated club, and both the club leader and new member are notified that this has been done. Please note the restrictions about joining clubs (in terms of the total number of clubs for Guest members) are suspended for this one instance. This means that new members can be integrated into Ecademy more quickly and will be networking within the club with people who are in their locality. Leaders of these regional clubs will be able to build activity and support more rapidly in their areas. If there's a country club and an group of countries club defined, the new member will be added to both. Return to summary HTML/Plain Text emails to membersClub Leaders can now send emails to the club members in either plain text or in HTML. There is also a limited filter available to restrict who gets the email. One example of what the filter will allow is to select people who recently joined your club and interact with them alone to help their transition to membership. You can also select only those who are a particular category of member (Blackstar, PowerNetworker or Guest) if it makes sense for you to do. Blackstars who run clubs can make use of additional HTML tags to embed objects in these emails to enable things like embedded video to be sent to members of the club. Return to summary Chargeable clubsClubs can now be defined as chargeable and when this is done the club owner must complete 4 additional fieldsChargeable The amount to charge The currency to charge (UKP, USD, EUR are supported) The Paypal Account (the email address which will receive the money)There must be a valid PayPal account using that email address to access it and Ecademy cannot take responsibility for any errors made in completing that field. VAT and other purchase taxes are not taken into account and you should verify that the figure that you pass to Paypal (which may depend on the settings you have chosen at Paypal) will generate the right payment. When somebody attempts to join a chargeable club (whether confirmation of membership is required or not) a second page with a paypal button will be presented to enable payment. If payment is successful they are returned to a page thanking them. If the club has been set up requiring confirmation then the applicant remains in the pending queue. If confirmation is not required then they immediately become full members of the club. The Pending queue now has an additional column for Unpaid / Paid date. As a club owner you can override the need for payment by simply approving applicants allowing you to give free membership if you wish. The payment process is a one time transaction - regular payments are not supported. Ecademy takes no share of the revenue generated. Chargeable meetingsAs for Clubs, you can specify that a meeting is charged by setting a toggle, adding a price and a paypal account. The owner of the meeting can give free registrations from the Attendees list. Again Ecademy takes no share of the revenue generated. Return to summary Using Chargeable Features The addition of chargeable meetings and chargeable clubs opens up the possibility of Ecademy supporting and easing a number of critical to business functions that members tell us that they struggle with. A few examples are given here, but we would love to hear the ways in which you use or intend to use this functionality. Example 1 - A business coach whose clients are Ecademy members (or anyone offering services to Ecademy members directly). You wish to offer a one hour coaching session by Skype, at a cost of $100. You can post a chargeable meeting on Ecademy and send your client a link asking them to register and pay. When they register and you receive payment the meeting is confirmed and you can proceed knowing that you will not have any administration chasing payment. Example 2 - You wish to offer training to a number of people - some of whom are Ecademy members and some not, and provide follow up support for the attendees over a period of time. You can create a chargeable club, the charge for which includes the course and all follow up. You set up a non chargeable club meeting within the club. Using the invitation system you invite people to the club as part of the marketing for the course. Attendees get 4 weeks membership on a network pass as a result of your invitation and can join the club, making the appropriate payment. You run the course and post follow up material and answer questions in the club forum. The club home page can be set up as a good advertisement for the course and will be indexed by google if the page is public. Attendees who subsequently subscribe to Ecademy will credit your EAP account (Ecademy Associate Program) with a share of revenue, thereby adding to the income stream generated. Additional courses can be offered to your clients through additional chargeable meetings within the club. Example 3 - You provide a product to your customers. You can set up a user group club on Ecademy with a charge that covers the product and support fees for operating the club. Customers who are not Ecademy members should be sent an invite to join from which they get free membership of Ecademy for a month (and if they subscribe you will make revenue via EAP - Ecademy Associate Program). Customer joining the club pay and receive the product, and provide you with feedback in the club forum. You can communicate with your customer bases and gain valuable insights into how to develop and improve the product. Over time a good knowledge base about your product builds up in the club forum providing a differentiator for your product over the competition. Return to summary Related Club Groups There is a new section in Club Administration (at the top) for "Related Clubs". From there you can define a "Club Group". Now when you visit a club, in the left sidebar, there is a box "Related Clubs". At the bottom of the home page you'll find options to add a club to a Group. The Group owner, or the club owner can add this club to a group of clubs. The group owner can remove clubs from the group and alter the order. This functionality allows members to create collaborative groups of clubs which operate in a similar manner or cover a common subject matter. For example the Blackstar Club will be associated with all the Blackstar only clubs that members of that community also have access to. When people visit your club they can easily find the related clubs through the menus and we hope this will help club owners to act in a collaborative and co-ordinated fashion where there are areas of common interest, Return to summary Better Club page navigationAt the bottom of club pages there is now a list of other pages for this club instead of just page numbers as the link. When adding another page (a club can now have up to 10 web pages) the page title is used as the link and will automatically appear in a navigation box on all pages (this can be moved or removed when editing the page) - see Page Index lower down. More validation on Club create/editIt's now harder to create clubs with no name! Small country flags next to club namesCurrently added to Club Lists and the top of the left menu only. Flags also added to the menus top left against names. Flags appear against clubs which have a geographic purpose (associated by country selected for the club - no country means no flag displayed) Flags have been added against members in the top of the menu when viewing their profiles to give a quick view of the members country of origin (edit: thanks to member feedback these may be switched off/on in your notification settings under Information Display Settings here.). Statistics PageThere are now some useful statistics, displayed on a separate page accessible to club owners from the Club Administration page - including most active members, total number of messages and threads. Search ForumTo aid the experience of finding material in forums a search box has been added to the top of the club forum page. This makes it very easy to find how to search for content within the club. Search MembersSimilarly when you view the member list a search box has been added to the top of the page. It searches for partial matches on first name, last name, organisation, country, 50 words and profile notes. For larger clubs this will make it quicker to find details of members. Page IndexA new function has been added to Club Pages. Insert *PAGE_INDEX * into page text and a page index is inserted. This only displays if there is more than 1 page. When you create a new page, this is automatically added to the new page. When the second page is created, it is automatically added to the top of the first page. This will help club members and potential club members to find the relevant pages of the home pages of the club and enables club owners to take greater control over the layout and content of their home pages for members. We are very excited about this major development, please do tell us how they help and let us know how you are using them over the next few weeks.

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Membership 2007 Survey

January 2007 Ecademy Membership 2007 Survey http://www.ecademy.com/survey.php#start Please help us by completing a short online survey and enter our prize draw to win a FREE PowerNetworker subscription worth £120/ $180 / E168 or £100 / $150 / E140 cash. In addition we'll be sharing a summary of the results to all members. We had a fantastic response to our survey last year - thank you, it's important to keep our information up to date. It only takes a few minutes and you will be helping to make Ecademy an even better experience - you could also win a year's free PowerNetworker subscription worth £120/E150/$180! The survey is being conducted by Benchmark Research, a member of the British Market Research Association, and you can be assured that all the information you provide is strictly confidential in accordance with the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct. Click here now to take part. Many thanks for your help and best of luck in the draw!

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The Ecademy Team

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2007 Membership services

January 2007 In order to simplify the membership offering and focus on our two core products of PowerNetworker and BlackStar services we will be discontinuing the GreenStar membership level from January 1st 2007. All existing GreenStar memberships will continue as normal, no action is required as each GreenStar member will continue until the natural renewal time where there will be no further annual subscription charged, instead the option to continue to subscribe as either a monthly or annual PowerNetworker (see details below of a special upgrade offer) or BlackStar will automatically be presented at the time of renewal. Special GreenStar Upgrade GreenStar members can easily upgrade to PowerNetworker at a reduced price for an annual subscription of just £100/E148/$155 (+vat where applicable, $40 for emerging countries,) saving £20/E20/$20 on the upgrade. PLUS the first year of an annual PowerNetworker Membership will provide you with 15 months for the price of 12 months giving you 3 free additional free months of subscription as well as the saving of £20/E20/$20. Click to upgrade here: http://www.ecademy.com/membership.php We will continue to hold PowerNetworker pricing at the current levels for the foreseeable future while we continue to add even more features and services to ensure you continue to get extraordinary value. Get 25% MORE FREE The first payment for the annual subscription will provide you with 15 months for the price of 12 months giving you 3 free months membership! FREE E-BOOK: Get Ecademy's inspirational and practical guide to the art and science of networking when you subscribe annually. Click to subscribe here: http://www.ecademy.com/membership.php BlackStar Life Membership has developed significantly in a number of ways in the last year, membership has grown towards 300 members and a number of changes and improvements in the benefits and support infrastructure have been developed with more to come in 2007. The 2007 price will be (displayed in UK sterling - apply euro and US dollar conversions at current exchange rates): Foundation Membership UK - £6000 or 12 payments of £550.00 per month or 24 payments of £300. Other Territories - £3,600 or 12 payments of £330.00 per month or 24 payments of £180 Subscription Membership UK - £1,000 joining fee plus £60 per month (minimum commitment applies) Other Territories - £150 joining fee plus £60 per month Territories The pricing in each US State and each country will be reviewed when the membership reaches 25. It is anticipated that when membership reaches 25, the membership in that territory will be able to provide chargeable benefits to new members. This is why the price is likely to rise to the UK level. There will only be a maximum of 250 Foundation Members, in any one territory (US State and/or Country elsewhere). There will be a total maximum of 2012 Foundation members in total. More details and apply here: http://www.ecademy.com/blackstar.php Upon joining, Guest members will continue to enjoy their first two weeks using a PowerNetworker Network Pass enabling them to experience all of the features of PowerNetworker membership (with the exception of blogs and comments). Remember all people who join your Network from an invitation you send to them via the the improved contact management and invitation system will recieve a special free one month PowerNetworker Network Pass to ensure they have the ability to connect with yourself and your network, plus get involved and contribute to the whole community while trying out all of the networking and advertising tools that Ecademy has to offer.

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The Ecademy Team

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Clubs and BlackStar InnerCircles

December 2006 We've gone live with improvements to Clubs and also launched "Mastermind" mentoring groups (BlackStar Inner Circles - BICs) within BlackStar membership: Clubs In the Club menu the following has been added: Last club comments for MY clubs Last club comments for ALL clubs Group Chat URL for all members of a club (add the URL in the Club admin section) Plus: We've added a "Leave Club / Join Club button" at top right of all Clubs A Club image can be uploaded (in the Club admin section) which automatically appears on the home page and at the top of the Club menu Keywords for all Clubs have been added (similar to Marketplace listings), enabling easy search for similar Clubs BlackStar InnerCircles BlackStar InnerCircles (BIC) are small groups of up to eight BlackStar members - ideally with a number of different Wealth Profiles to ensure a balance of natural strengths and skill sets within the group - who commit to supporting, mentoring, learning and inspiring each other for life. Each BlackStar member may start and run one InnerCircle and apply and join (subject to the owners approval) an unlimited amount of other InnerCircles BIC can be "public" or private Membership of a "public" BIC is visible to all BlackStar members. Private BIC's do not display the membership. BlackStars will see new menu entries related to BIC's and changes to the text on Tabs The forum within either type of BIC will be confidential and not visible to people other than the group themselves An automatic link may be added to conference tools such as Skype chats (which will auto launch) to the group to enable instant communication Each BIC has a forum and the BIC leader has control over the front page of the BIC and any additional pages Any member of the BIC can message all members of the BIC at once BICs support suitable links to the meetings system on Ecademy to assist in arranging face to face meetings of the group BICs support the upload of an image to the BIC home page The BICS allow the use of Wealth Dynamics as a basis for building a team if choosen to do so, in some ways BICs provide an extended version of the "virtual tables" run at BlackStar events and provides a means to develop a deep relationship group which will significantly improve everyone's ability to support and help those with whom they work most closely InnerCircle Guidelines are provided to help all BlackStar members get started and ensure maximum value for all participants

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The Ecademy Team

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Additional Email Addresses and Contact Report

November 2006 Additional Email Addresses for Contact Management / Invitations The "My Profile tab" now has an option in the menu called "My Other Email" which lets you add all your other email addresses to your account (note all email addresses you add are totally private and are not displayed anywhere on the site or your profile). This allows the contact management and invitation system to automatically find and connect you to other members as they upload their contacts / invite their friends and collegues and when new people join Ecademy using one of your email addresses in the invitee field. The system also ensures invitations to join Ecademy are not sent to you using any of your emails submitted. PowerNetworker Network Pass for all your invitations Remember every person you invite to join your network will receive a free one month PowerNetworker Network Pass. Weekly Report We've also added a weekly report which will send you details of your invitations, the number of people invited / joined with links to the lists to help manage your contacts. The report also features the Referral Rewards totals. For PowerNetworker™ and BlackStar members through the Ecademy Associate Program (EAP) and the PowerNetworker Network Passes for GreenStar and Guest members. The default setting for the report is on, you can switch this on / off in your noticifation settings here.

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The Ecademy Team

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100,000th member has joined Ecademy! Free Gifts for all members

October 2006 As business people we are all on a journey together on Ecademy, building our business with the help of one another; learning, adapting and growing in our knowledge, our branding and delivery of our products and services. This week Ecademy has reached a milestone which is a great celebration for us all as we can announce that we now have over 100,000 *members on Ecademy. In addition to this great milestone we've taken a look at what else has been happening this year - there is some amazing activity! Over a 1,700,000 people have visited the site this year, over 200,000 unique visitors in September alone! Over 40,000 members have logged in and used the site so far this year with over 15,000 members logging in and using the site in the last 30 days. We also now have well over 10,000 members who subscribe to GreenStar, PowerNetworker and BlackStar membership services - thank you! We will would like to thank you all personally, for all your sharing, your support, your encouragement, your content, the club leaders for their Leadership and each of you for telling others about us and helping us to grow each day. We would like to thank our Guest members, for attending events, for getting involved when you can, for always keeping your profile available for others to reach you, for leaving your Blogs and knowledge for others to learn from. We would like to thank our GreenStars for your first leap of faith into subscribing; for all that you contribute in the clubs, Blogs and in connecting through private messaging. We would like to thank our PowerNetworkers for your commitment and the contribution you make to running clubs and helping others, each of you who connect and proactively help one another each day, week, month and year! We would like to thank our BlackStars, our Life Members, for the commitment they show this community, for saying they will stay around for the long haul, for the Mentoring they give other and the amazing way that you have supported the Management Team of Ecademy. We would like to thank our Buddies for the incredible way they help new members, and our Mentors for the powerful commitment to the Ethos of Ecademy. To show our appreciation and respect we are giving a gift to each and every member: To our Guest members, one month upgrade as an Ecademy PowerNetworker and two free chapters of Ecademy's e-book "A Friend In Every City". To our GreenStars, an upgrade to a PowerNetworker until the end of this year. To our PowerNetworkers, a copy of our e-book "A Friend in Every City", the e-book "How to Make Money on Ecademy" and the e-book "Your Life Your Legacy". To our BlackStar Life Members, in addition to the PowerNetworker gifts; a free company logo / profile photo featured on the special Centurion celebration page (value: £100 / E150 / $185) and a copy of the e-book "Network to get Work". And finally to our **100,000th member Ryan Keenan: - Inclusion in Ecademy's PR campaign as a case study - A hardback copy of "A Friend In Every City" - A copy of "How To Make Money on Ecademy" e-book - A copy of "Your Life Your Legacy" e-book - A 1-2-1 Ecademy networking training session - Free company logo featured on the Centurion page - 100 months PowerNetworker subscription We hope you all enjoy these celebrations on Ecademy and feel a part of this achievement, as I always say, you are the pulse of Ecademy, the heart-beat and it is you that makes Ecademy the special place that it is today. Claiming your gifts To claim your gifts please click though to our celebratory Centurion Page here - which features the company logos or photos of many of members, details on how to add your logo are here. *Confirmed and logged in accounts since the web site launch February 1998. Some Guest accounts may be not be fully active, as per Ecademy terms and conditions of membership all members may keep their accounts as they may choose to attend events or their circumstances change and often update their profiles periodically. **Subscribing valid account to ensure an authentic profile.

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The Ecademy Team

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What's New: Power Search, Referral Rewards and Tutorial

October 2006 New power search tools including saved searches with email alerts! As Ecademy continues to grow, it's important that you find the right content and connect with the right people to ensure you get the most from your membership. With this in mind this on Monday 2nd October we are launching a new suite of search tools powered by our partner Locayta - the unique, advanced probabilistic information retrieval technology. Across the site - including within member profiles, blogs, Marketplace listings and meetings - you will find "More like this" tabs and links to help you find more of what you are looking for. The new search tool also means that when completing regular site searches - looking for contacts, blogs, club forum messages, Marketplace listings, meetings and private messages - the results will be more accurate and you'll be able to easily "drill down" by clicking on further options in the results. Perhaps the most exciting and useful features are the "saved searches" and "search email alerts". PowerNetworker members will be able to save up to five searches for future use and once saved, create up to five email alerts so they are told as soon as something that they are looking for has been added to (or found on)  Ecademy. Never miss a thing again! BlackStar Life Members can create and save unlimited searches and email alerts! These saved searches and alerts are created from within search results pages and can be accessed via "My Searches" links across the site to your brand new "My Searches" page. In addition to the saved searches we have also created to useful pre-defined saved searches such as people in my town and people like me - recently joined. Try it out...visit someone's profile, click on "More like this", and see whom you can find! Free PowerNetworker subscriptions and referral rewards We've also improved the contact management and invitation system, launching on Monday October 2nd is a free one-month PowerNetworker subscription available to everyone you invite to join your network. This gives your contacts the ability not only to connect with yourself and your network, but also to get involved and contribute to the whole community while trying out all of the networking and advertising tools that Ecademy has to offer. Referral Rewards for ALL members Developing your network by inviting people you know increases your network value and the overall value of Ecademy for everyone, we have now improved the tools and rewards for all members: PowerNetworker and BlackStar Life Members (GreenStar members are now eligible for the new voucher reward scheme) may join the Ecademy Associate Program (EAP) and benefit from referral rewards by sharing in the subscription revenues - which can easily cover your Ecademy membership subscription! We have also introduced a new "Upload Contacts" tool which enables you to easily upload and invite your contacts from various sources such as LinkedIn, Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Gmail etc. Click the link below to learn more and to easily upload and invite your contacts with the new tool here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=refer&op=csv GreenStar and Guest members may now also benefit by developing their network as a one-month free PowerNetworker subscription voucher will automatically be made available to them when five or more people they invited join their network on Ecademy in any calendar month. As Ecademy approaches 100,000 members both referral rewards reflect Ecademy's ethos of "Winning by Sharing" - effectively you can now network for free! Develop your network and receive referral rewards by inviting your friends and colleagues to join you on Ecademy now: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=refer Tutorial Movie Update We've made some improvements to the Ecademy Tutorial Movie. Click the button to watch >>>> People Online We've consolidated the "members online" and the "visitors online" numbers in the online box to a simple single total for People Online which is refreshed every 15 minutes.

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Video

August 2006 We've released a short official video presented by Ecademy Founder Penny Power which explains Ecademy and demonstrates the benefits of membership, click the play button below to view: Watch Ecademy video full size

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The Ecademy Team

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New About Us, FAQ and renamed Tabs

August 2006 We've replaced the "Help" tab with "About Us" and "FAQ's" and also restructured the menus and pages within the tabs to make it easier to navigate to appropriate content. We've also renamed the following tabs: "Blogs Polls News" to "Blogs", "Upgrade / Shop" to "Upgrade" and "My Account" to "My Profile". All content and menus for each tab remain the same.

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The Ecademy Team

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Video Profiles, extended HTML tags and Guest messages

July 2006 We have now integrated video into profiles for all members (changed due to YouTube terms and conditions) PowerNetworker and BlackStar members which are available to watch for all profile page visitors. Add video to your profile in 3 easy steps: 1. Record your video 2. Upload your video to YouTube.com - it's all free! (No account? Click "Signup" and follow instructions to create an account then click "Upload" tab and follow the instructions, ensure its set to public view) 3. Add the video ID to your Ecademy profile into your profile and it'll automatically appear! (The number at the end of the video URL) We've added a graphic to your profile page to ease navigation to the video ID entry in your profile - we've also done this for company logo and photo's (note the reminder graphics are not visible to any other visitor). Profile HTML Tag extensions BlackStar members are now able to use extended HTML tags when submitting content to Ecademy, including profile, clubs, blogs and Marketplace content: "object" and "embed" tags allow video, Flash and audio to appear within content submitted. "area" and "map" tags have also been enabled for all members enabling clickable image maps within Ecademy content. All content is subject to the terms and conditions of membership. Guest members during their 14 day trial have full access to read and respond to all Network messages, after the trial Guest members may still read all individual network messages sent to them, replying to messages requires an upgrade to membership.

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy Introduction Guide and Contact Management

June 2006 We continue our commitment to enhance the value for Ecademy subscribing members and have implemented the following: Ecademy Introduction Tutorial - available to watch now, this fantastic animated tutorial is the introduction to Ecademy which explains about Ecademy, our values, vision and maximising your membership. Many thanks to Ecademy's Head of Global Development Andrew Widgery and BlackStar member Tom Evans of Shere Solutions for producing this tutorial - it's a must see! Click here to watch the tutorial: http://www.ecademy.com/tutorial.php Contact Management - we're adding more Contact Management tools to the site, the latest being a small form at the top of most web pages (edited as we've removed the Contact Manager form from the other web pages to ease usability and position it more in context after member feedback) the Network pages and My Account pages which makes it very quick and easy to invite and add people you've met to your Network. (Note the form is only visible to you - it's not visible to visitors to your profile). Looking further ahead, the Outlook Contact Manger Tool is finally under development and should be available in the third quarter of this year. BlackStar - the Club home page has been re-vamped and improved to clearly define the benefits of life time membership. Visit the BlackStar Club here: http://www.ecademy.com/blackstar.php The advanced search page now features the ability to search for BlackStar members in the Contacts and Subscriber Level drop down lists. Guest members - we've made more changes to ensure the value of membership is maximised for subscribing members. Guest members will still enjoy a free 14 day trial of most PowerNetworker services on joining. Once the trial period is over a choice of GreenStar, PowerNetwoker and BlackStar membership will need to be made to continue to receive the true benefits from the Network. The changes mean we are placing even more emphasis on four critical factors in online Networking to ensure Ecademy remains the Trusted Business Network as we continue to grow: 1. Identity - a valid credit card must be used to subscribe 2. Visibility - helps when building reputation 3. Commitment - paying subscribers use the system more and are serious about Networking 4. Trust - all of the above leads to trust which brings friendship, trade and referrals

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The Ecademy Team

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E-book: How to make Money on Ecademy.com

May 2006 NOTE THIS OFFER ENDED FOR POWERNETWORKERS ON JULY 31ST 2006 AS PER THE NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCEMENT HERE. Ecademy have partnered with Ecademist Fraser Hay who has produced an invaluable e-book, "How to Make Money on Ecademy.com". The e-book is packed with case study examples, sample emails, scripts, and dynamite business networking information, this volume is your route map for navigating and succeeding on Ecademy. Free Download If you are an annual PowerNetworker™ or BlackStar subscribing member, you may download this e-book - worth £47 / €69 / $88 - for free here. More information and purchasing For more details and to order your copy now visit the "How to Make Money on Ecademy" Club here.

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The Ecademy Team

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Google Maps for Subscribers & BlackStar tools

May 2006 Google Maps Subscribers Map A Google map of all Subscribers who allow postcode and street address to be seen on their profile. Available via the Network and Member search menu. Set my location This let's you set your precise location (Lat/Long) on a Google Map and to enable visibility on the Subscribers Map along with postcode and street address on your profile. Note you need to set your account to "Street Address" on to be included on the maps - set yours here in your Account Information Display Settings. BlackStar Tools BlackStar only Map This is a Google map of just Blackstars and is only visible to BlackStars. Additional profile options for BlackStars: a) Two best known organisations b) Wealth Profile Type BlackStars can specify these fields when editing their profile. BlackStars only Search View. This is a special directory display for when a BlackStar is searching for other BlackStar members. BlackStars only search criteria. Best known organisations and wealth profile can be used when a BlackStar is using Advanced Search. BlackStars can upload their Wealth Profile PDF to their profile. This can be seen by anyone viewing a BlackStar's profile. New Menu options * My Account, Upload Wealth Profile * My Account, Set Map Location * Their Account, View Wealth profile if they're a BlackStar and have one uploaded * Network, Subscribers Map * Network, BlackStar Map. Visible to BlackStar only * Network, BlackStar Directory. Visible to BlackStar only

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The Ecademy Team

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Skype intergration

May 2006 Ecademy has enhanced the integration of Skype for its subscribers. The Ecademy Web site now integrates SkypeWeb, Skype's integrated Internet presence feature, to help professionals find and connect with each other online (add your Skype ID into your Ecademy profile here). Member profiles now include Skype buttons to start a chat, view their Skype profile, send a voicemail and add to their Skype contact list. In addition, for subscribers who have installed the latest version of Skype with Web Presence enabled, the buttons display the member's online status. This gives Ecademy's subscribers an immediate indication of whether their contacts are online and available to talk. Throughout the site an icon is placed next to the subscriber's name showing their online status and allowing a chat to be started with one click. SkypeWeb makes it easy for Web users to connect through Skype. Available in 27 languages, Skype is used by people in almost every country around the world, and communication over Skype has become a global phenomenon. The latest version of the software has further simplified the Skype interface, making it even easier for people to connect online. Visit http://www.skype.com for more information.

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The Ecademy Team

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New book by Ecademy on Networking - A Friend in Every City

May 2006 Ecademy have produced a new book "A Friend in Every City" an inspirational and practical guide to the art and science of networking. PowerNetworkers™ & BlackStars can Download a free chapter "Your Profile becomes your Reputation" here >> One Global Family - A Networking Vision for the Twenty First CenturyBy Penny Power, Thomas Power, Andy Coote Networking is the key skill for the 21st century worker. As birth rates go down, life expectancy goes up and the business world continues to downsize to a core of permanent workers, more of us will find the 21st century a tough place to make a living. More of us will find ourselves working as freelancers or as part of 'fractional teams' that come together for a project and then disband. Fewer of us will retire on a pension - choosing instead to work on a portfolio of projects. A Friend in Every City looks first at the forces shaping the new ways of working, then at how online networks, such as LinkedIn, Open BC, Ryze and Ecademy, are evolving to provide support for them. The authors look at how an individual worker can leverage these changes to their best effect. Networks can provide us with support in all aspects of our lives. A good network will sustain us through bad times as well as good, providing emotional support as well as referrals. Contacts become connections, connections become advocates and advocates become friends. Can the new networks provide the basis for something more than personal friendship and business? If we can look forward to having a true friend in every city around the world, what changes might that bring? Can conversations change the world? Table of Contents 1 Living and Working in the Twenty First Century 2 Creating Sustainable Wealth 3 The Internet is Matching 4 Social and Business Networks 5 Ecademy 6 Social Capital and Citizen Journalism 7 Net-working and Global Labour Matching 8 Managing Networks 9 Net-causes 10 Networking - THE key skill for the 21st Century 11 Your Profile becomes your Reputation 12 Personality Tests and Profiling Tools 13 Wealth dynamics 14 Building a Network 15 Developing Content 16 The Power of Clubs 17 The Future of Networks Appendix 1 Edited Extract from Networking for Life by Thomas Power 2 Bibliography Order the hardback version here >> Order the softback version here >> PowerNetworkers™ & BlackStars can Download a free chapter "Your Profile becomes your Reputation" here >> The AuthorsPenny Power is a Director and Founder of Ecademy.com, an online social business network. She has a background in Sales Management and a keen interest in the development of Emotional Wealth through networks and in people generally. Thomas Power is Chairman of Ecademy.com, an accomplished speaker and author who spends much of his time meeting with and connecting people. He is also a non-executive director at QXL Ricardo Ltd. Andy Coote is a writer and Director of Ecademy Press. He has a background in retail and IT businesses and has written widely on e-commerce and Information Security. He has been networking, through many different routes, for many years but became engaged with it when he went self-employed in 1998.

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The Ecademy Team

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New Price Plan for Annual PowerNetworker

April 2006 A new price plan for the annual PowerNetworker subscription is now live which provides an additional free period of 3 months membership. Purchasing the annual PowerNetworker subscription means your next annual payment will be not be due for 15 months instead of 12. This is a saving of 20% - £30 / E40 / $50 If you're serious about Networking and advertising to thousands of people and their businesses, the annual subscription of £120 / E168 / $179 for the first 15 months delivers exceptional value; Advanced tools to find prospects, clients, suppliers, partners and advocates Unlimited messaging and people in the Network Unlimited, fully search engine optimised advertising on the Marketplace For full details and to subscribe as an annual PowerNetworker to save 20% click below: http://www.ecademy.com/membership.php Existing PowerNetworker subscribers who want to take advantage of this offer please email support@ecademy.com where assistance will be provided for the change over.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Web site improvements: Articles, Guests, Invites, Meetings

April 2006 The first five titles on the front page are now reserved for Articles (informative and detailed business content) thus giving the content and the authors more prominence - please ensure you use the correct category when submitting your content Articles, Blogs, Polls and Marketplace adverts now all have a link immediately after posting to invite people to read the content just submitted (people in your Ecademy Network or external contacts via email) Guests members (who've had the 14 day PowerNetworker trial) will see and use less of the site to ensure the real value of membership continues to be focused on the paying subscribers of the community. For example, profiles and testimonials are fully visible and search engine optimised for GreenStar, PowerNetwoker and BlackStar subscribers but no longer available to Guest members Article, Blog and Poll comments are only visible to logged in subscribers Rating and statistics pages are available to subscribers (site statistics page is now administrator accessible) The view count has been removed from the front page blog, polls and articles list to improve performance, the view count is still visible at the bottom of each individual blog New Meetings filter added: "Ecademy London" displays just the London monthly events Invitation reminders added to profiles Invite tab has been moved next to the Network tab as they are both very much related

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Website improvements: EAP, Invites, Notifications, Navigation

March 2006 We've made more improvements to the website: EAP - improved the reporting Invitation system - an alert and the ability to re-invite people who haven't joined your Network, send button moved to the top with a check box to remind terms and conditions of use Join form - field added for the email address if invited to ensure both people are connected in their Networks Join form - a tab has been added which links to a page with descriptions and links for easier navigation Network messages - notifications are only sent from the real email address if the target is a PowerNetworker™ or BlackStar, each person is in each other's Network and the sender allows their email address to be seen on their profile (default is off) Blogs, Polls and Articles page - the filter list at the top of the page now has polls included to enable all polls to be displayed from the drop down list Guest members - any Guest member who hasn't had the 14 day PowerNetworker™ trial will be presented with the option to start it Upgrade tab - has been renamed Upgrade & Shop to reflect the other products and services available in addition to Ecademy membership services

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Toolbar - Stay Connected to Business People

March 2006 I'm very pleased to announce the launch of the Ecademy toolbar, which is FREE to all Ecademy members and installs in seconds into you browser (available for Internet Explorer and Firefox), with no spyware or viruses, does not open pop-ups or hijack your searches, and no personal information is required. Ecademy is a feature rich platform, the Ecademy toolbar works for you by giving you: Easy navigation of the Ecademy site - learn it in just 10 minutes! Instant access to the Ecademy site from any site on the web Search from anywhere on the Web Check your email - Hotmail, Yahoo!, Gmail and POP3 Login and access top Ecademy features with one click Delivers the latest content: Blogs, Club messages, Marketplace Listings and business news (DailEnews) Instant What's New announcements straight to your toolbar A guide to the toolbar is here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?title=toolbar+guide Click the button below to go to the toolbar download page:

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Jobs Section

March 2006 We are delighted to announce a brand new addition to the site available to all Ecademy members: Ecademy Jobs, built in partnership with Exec-Appointments has a range of features and benefits to enable you to; Search for a job Find a job in consulting in association with Top Contract Consultant Advertise a job Advertise a business opportunity Find a non-executive appointment Get career advice

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy survey results

February 2006 We had over 1,800 entries to our recent survey, many thanks to everyone who participated, congratulations to Andy Calloway who is the winner of the prize draw of one year's free PowerNetworker subscription! All Ecademy members can now download the summary of the survey here (Adobe PDF file). In the survey we asked you what one thing you'd like to enhance your membership to Ecademy, we're still working through the (big!) list, there were some very helpful answers that will ensure we continue to improve and add even more value to your Ecademy membership, some of the more popular ones included: Better search facilities Buyers marketplace/directory/matchmaking Discounted products & services Jobs/recruitment Beginners guide/help section Spellchecker Internationalisation/languages Toolbars Chatroom/instant messaging Podcasting Videoconferencing I'm pleased to say that we already working / plan on many of these requests, specifically: Better search facilities: due in Q2 with our partner Locayta Matchmaking: due in Q2 linked to new search Discounted products & services: we already have special deals via our Marketplace Club partners, we are adding many more this year Jobs/recruitment: a new Jobs section is due this quarter Beginners guide/help section: currently redesigning the help and FAQ pages Spellchecker: we hope to bring this to you this year via our forthcoming browser toolbar Internationalisation/languages: this is a big development, we are still looking into the impact of fragmentation of the Network by language Toolbars: we are developing an Outlook toolbar to help you backup, manage and invite your contacts to your Network - due in Q2, plus a browser toolbar for search, quick navigation and news, due out this quarter Chatroom/instant messaging: we have already integrated instant messenger technology into profiles, including more improvements to Skype - we're adding additional Skype icons on March 1st on profiles for "My Skype Profile", "Send Voicemail", "Add to Skype Contacts", plus anyone in your Network who is online with Skype is instantly contactable as we show their presence on Ecademy, plus the latest version of Skype now has video Podcasting - we're currently looking into how we bring this to you in an easy and affordable way Videoconferencing: with Skype already integrated now with video we'll continue in this direction working and integrating with the experts rather than building our own Thanks once again to everyone who took the time to participate.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Website performance and infrastructure

February 2006 An update regarding the recent outage - there were three issues that descended on the hosting solution all at once, namely two different intermittent hardware issues, routing and switching. The latter were probably as a result of our technical support team replacing certain hardware parts, which then also became intermittent after replacement. Moving forward our technical team and partners will be migrating the current hosting solution to a more robust and completely dedicated infrastructure at our data suite at Globix. This is being meticulously planned and delivered over the coming weeks with a view to the new infrastructure in place by the end of the first quarter. The revised systems will provide a more resilient, scalable solution for the future as we continue to enjoy growth in membership and usage of the site. In the short term we will have to perform remedial work, which on a live environment makes even the simplest of tasks quite complex. As we all know Ecademy never sleeps, it just follows the time line around the world, we will of course give you prior warning to any expected interruptions in services as we proceed with the work. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Associate Program - Winning by Sharing

February 2006 Ecademy is approaching its eighth year(!) with the membership built almost entirely through the invitations and referrals you have sent, enabling Ecademy to be the thriving and successful Social Business Network it is today. We now feel it is time to share this success with you and through our philosophy of "Winning by Sharing" are delighted to launch the Ecademy Associate Program (EAP), where we will share the revenue generated to participating members for helping the Network to grow. What is EAP? Ecademy Associate Program (EAP) Ecademy has been trading since 1998 and is now in a position to share in the growth of its networked community with members reflecting our ethos of Winning by Sharing EAP is a referral program for professional business networkers (Associates), sharing the revenue generated to participating members for helping the Network to grow Participating members share 12 months revenue of all new referred members who join Ecademy and subscribe Available to GreenStar, PowerNetworker and BlackStar members Global reach - referrals apply to all members regardless of country (sterling, dollars or euros) Online system for EAP opt-in, inviting and tracking new members, and referral fees to Associates (similar to Amazon.com affiliates) Access your EAP summary and associated pages anytime through the "My Account" tab on the main menu by clicking the "My EAP" link. The Associate referral fee is the following % on the net subscription revenue for the first year: - GreenStar 40% - PowerNetworker 40% - BlackStar 20% Participants agree and comply with Associate Agreement and Associate Terms and Conditions Click here to join the Ecademy Associate Program What to do next Once you have joined EAP invite your contacts and connections to your Network on Ecademy either using the Invitation System, your own email program and/or your own web site with Ecademy banners and logo's. Ecademy is dedicated to providing you with a platform to leverage your connections, learning, reputation and value in your business, EAP is a further indication of our commitment to you and the growth of this very special business community.

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The Ecademy Team

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Polls, Blog Sorting, Sticky Threads, Send Pages & Calendar

January 2006 Polls The queuing system for Polls has been removed. Polls are a benefit for PowerNetworker™ and BlackStar members and are a great way to get a snap shot of members thoughts. The latest poll will appear immediately on the home page, click the Latest Poll link on the poll (or choose Poll from the drop down list in the main weblog page) to view and vote on all polls. Blog Sorting The lists of blogs (titles and full text) can now be sorted by Last Comment date as well as Latest submission date (default view). Last Comment is the date when the last comment was added or posting date if there are no comments, choosing the Last Comment date link will see the blogs with the latest comments at the top (thus most recently active). Sticky Club Threads A thread can now be marked as "Sticky" by the club owner and co-leader in club forums. This means the "Sticky" thread will remain at the top of the club forum at all times - this is really useful for announcements etc. To mark a thread as "Sticky" click into the thread then click the "Sticky" link at the bottom of the last message in the thread, when viewing the list of threads in the club forum the "Sticky" ones will be identified with a pin on the left hand side. Marketplace Listings The block of Marketplace listings on the home page is now limited so that the latest listing from any one person is shown. This means a member can upload a multiple listings at once but avoids them all dominating the display on the home page making it fairer to everyone.(they all still appear in the main Marketplace Listings page) Recommend this page via email A new function "Email this page" has been added for all subscribing members (GreenStar,PowerNetworker™ and BlackStar) and can be seen at the start of the "breadcrumb" on every page (the "breadcrumb" is at the top left hand side just under the Home tab next to your name when logged in). This great new feature lets you easily send the title and URL of any web page and a message to any of your contacts by typing in their email addresses and/or a person from your contact list within your Ecademy Network. (If you enter email addresses of people who already members of Ecademy the system will automatically use the message system rather than email). So for example you can now send content that you think will be of interest such as weblogs, articles, events, polls, Club forum threads etc. (note if the Club is private the person receiving the URL will need to be logged in and a member of the Club to read it) to anyone of your connections whether they are an Ecademy member or not. (The same controls for all emails entered are used as for Online Invitation system which allows opt out). Online Calendar The views of the Meetings tab in the online calendar has been updated to make it easier to see the meetings that may be of interest to you, click the links in the left hand menu (once you've clicked the Meetings tab) as follows: Private Meetings: typically one to ones Club meetings: Meetings associated with a Club events (not Ecademy branded) Ecademy events: Ecademy main events and all events associated with an Ecademy approved Networking Clubs Public events: Conferences, events etc. outside of the Ecademy Network All meetings & events Select from the drop down lists at the top of the Calendar for additional views (month, week, day, list) and (your country or global).

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

More improvements to the website and subscription levels

December 2005 Added "Invite Contacts" link to the top right of every page which links to your online invitation system making it quicker and easier to grow your online Network Simplified search for common search sources (Dailenews, Help and Meetings) and improved the data output for the search sources Moved Meeting type filter to the menu Enabled PowerNetworker full access to all of the Marketplace services and other improvements including: - Full Listings and notifications - Enabled latest listing on profiles and Account page - Enabled offered/wanted tags on Account page - Renamed Tags to Keywords or Keywords/Tags - Changed Marketplace default page to Titles only. - Redesigned Marketplace titles only layout - The VCR controls now remember the sort order on Marketplace Lists Added underlines to links in sidebar box headers to show they are all links Increased sidebar line spacing slightly to make the menu options easier to read and click Added the total number of Testimonials to your Account menu The complete Good rating block is now always shown on your Account menu even if the member is not in your Network Added "You rate them" line to any menu with a photo at the top External Content vastly improved with composite "All Services" link and display been added, new services types added for Digg, 43 places, 43 things, wordpress.com, livejournal, blogspot and msnspaces. Edit, Delete, Fetch have now moved to the left hand menu Added Google Blogsearch, Technorati Search and Digg This! to the links underneath a blog You can now edit your private messages. Note, you can only edit a message that is still new. This means that once the other person replies the message is fixed and can no longer be changed Guest Members are now able to enjoy most of the benefits of a PowerNetworker during the 14 day welcome period including connecting to an unlimited amount of members, use of the advanced search tools, interacting on the web site by commenting on club forums as well as advertising on the Ecademy Marketplace. GreenStar members can easily upgrade to PowerNetworker for the reduced price for an annual subscription of £100/E148/$155 (+vat where applicable, $40 for emerging countries,) saving £20/E20/$20 on the upgrade.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Full Marketplace features and benefits to all PowerNetworkers

November 2005 In order to deliver extra value to even more members, from 1st December 2005, all of the benefits of MarketStar membership with it's full access to the Ecademy Marketplace will be rolled into the PowerNetworker™ level of membership with the MarketStar membership level no longer existing. The price of being a PowerNetworker™ will remain the same at £10/E14/$15 ($5 in emerging countries) a month or £120/E168/$180 ($60 in emerging countries). All existing founder MarketStar members have been contacted and will be compensated for the support and commitment over the last few months in making the Marketplace a success. From the feedback we have recieved the additional value with the reduction in the number of membership levels will make it easier for members to understand the differences when making a choice about which subscription is right for them. If you are a PowerNetworker™ your membership benefits and features will be amended automatically on 1st December. If you are a MarketStar this process will be largely automated, and we will contact with further instructions. Paul Sherman and his team continue to run Ecademy Marketplace, and can be contacted here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=club&c=2601

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Comment voting, blogs and people online

November 2005 We've implemented more changes around Comments, Blogs and Currently Online Voting on comments in blogs and articles has been removed completely from all past comments and for all future ones enabling all comments on all blogs to be read in full. Blogs and comments now have full text search and the results can be sorted by relevance or date. This gives easy access to the current archive of 50,000 blog / article entries and 250,000 comments by simply typing the keyword in the search field (top right) and select Blogs from the drop down. The results displayed can be sorted by relevance or date order by clicking the appropriate link at the top of the page ("by Relevance" / "by Date"), move between result pages using the new navigation buttons at the top and bottom of the results "My Comments" link has been added underneat "My Weblog" (visible when you click the "Blogs and News" tab) link to easily access all commments you have ever made on any blog or article on Ecademy, move between result pages using the new navigation buttons at the top and bottom of the results. Currently Online box now also shows Visitors Online: - Currently online = number of logged in members who have requested a page in the last 60 minutes. Updated in real time. - Visitors = number of not logged in unique IP addresses that have requested a page in the last 60 minutes. Calculated every 15 minutes.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Update to complaints system and profanity filter

October 2005 Effective immediately we have decided to cease using the Jail Function, with a revised Code of Conduct now called the Ecademy Ethos and Best Practice Guide What does this mean? The Jail worked at its best as a method of educating members on better practices and helping to ensure the Code of Conduct (now called Ecademy Ethos and Best Practice Guide) was maintained. We no longer feel it is necessary to run it as a system that seeks to suspend members who fall out of line on the Code of Conduct. We are very happy with the atmosphere on Ecademy, professional business relationships are flourishing. In future, when you notice a member behaving in a way that offends you, you will still use the Complaint Button on the 'Offender's' Profile, but this is no longer linked to a points system or account suspension. When this complaint is received we will look into the offence and take the appropriate action to educate the member on effective Networking and Best Practices. Profanity Filter Additionally, effective immediately, we no longer have a profanity filter applied to paying subscriber's content. We know we can trust our subscribers to understand the need for respect for one another and the values that we all hold at Ecademy. The filter will still be active for Guest members who may not be fully aware of our Ethos and Values. Please refer to our Ecademy Ethos and Best Practice Guide to remind yourself what you should expect from your fellow members. To read more detail please refer to Ecademy Ethos and Best Practice Guide What to do if you want to complaint about a member What to do if you receive a complaint against you Our gratitude goes to all our members for the passion and commitment they show in up keeping the ethos of Ecademy and ensuring Ecademy remains a strong Social Business Network for all to enjoy and benefit from.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Amendments to the new website

October 2005 We've made a number of changes to the new site from feedback we've received: Visited links now visible (they change from blue to purple once clicked) Text on pages made greyer and other subtle changes to style sheets to help with contrast of the web pages Several changes to make the site more accessible, particularly on tables and lists Extend weblog and marketplace listings from 10 to 20 on the home page Comments voting on weblogs; the weighting has been changed – several votes have to be registered before any effect Comments voting on weblogs text descriptors have changed from; bad - none - good to poor - ok - good Network tab on the main menu goes straight to inbox messages saving a click Better VCR controls added to all lists (such as member search results, network and club lists) Marketplace listings are now indexed by Google Blogsearch AOL icons in profiles are now live and show presence for AOL users - add to your profile here Skype icons in profiles (also show presence) now launch a chat window instead of a voice call for users of the latest Skype client - add to your profile here.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

New Look Ecademy Website Launches 30th September 2005

September 2005 The work on the site has focused on navigation, usability and accessibility. We've worked hard to reduce the clutter and simplify the look and feel of the site, we've also managed to squeeze in a few new features. The main points of improvement are: HOMEPAGE/GENERAL DESIGN Redesigned the site look and feel to be cleaner, fresher and easier on the eye Reduced page clutter Kept the unique character of Ecademy in place All pages smaller in size so the site should be quicker to use Reduction of banner ads NAVIGATION, SEARCH AND BREADCRUMB All navigation has been redesigned Reduction in navigation so key navigation always tabs and top left Improved search so you can now search everything from one place (top right) Breadcrumb introduced to help stop you getting lost CONTENT & PROFILES Confusion in the past between what is the difference between weblogs and articles, so articles will be a blog type and will be combined in the lists (with a filter for each type on the main weblog page) An interim step for blogs with questionable content will be introduced, enabling the Ecademy moderators to relegate content from the front / weblog page but leave it on the authors profile Voting on comments will be simpler which will enable the community to decide what text in comments is visible on any thread Selling in blogs, the Complaint System will be tweaked (once we have the new site away) so any complaint using the category "Blatant Selling in Blogs" will remove the offending blog and send an email to the author with educational text as to why it has been removed Enchanced features for profiles have been added for PowerNetworker™, MarketStar and BlackStar members. The new features enable you to add much more content to your profile to give other people even more idea of who you are and what you do without having to repeat it. Content from external web sites can be pulled in to your profile such as Amazon (Wishlists and Listmania), Blogs (any external weblog you have that supports RSS), Flickr (photos), del.icio.us (bookmark management service) and Last.fm (tracks music you play). All this is easily setup by clicking the "My External Web Content" link in your profile menu, once setup, any member will be able to view your content. ACCESSIBILITY We want the website to be accessible to all and have designed the site using guidelines provided by the RNIB and key areas outlined within the Web Accessibility Initiative. Accessibility features of the site include: Users can resize and change text sizes to be larger or smaller The site can be used with style sheets turned off - making the majority of content available with or without colour All images have text equivalents Layouts can be read correctly and logically by screen readers All forms and navigation have a logical tab order Flickering images have been kept to a minimum HELP Improved help section with a new animations and comprehensive FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Profile and Club named URL's

July 2005 Two new features are now available to Ecademy members; named URL’s for your profile (via your user ID) and all your Ecademy Clubs (via the Club name – Clubs are available to PowerNetworker™, MarketStar and BlackStar members). This means it is far easier to promote your profile and Club(s) on business cards, emails, brochures and documents as the URL is easy to read and memorable: Your profile URL is: http://www.ecademy.com/user/userid For example: http://www.ecademy.com/user/glennwatkins Your Club URL is: http://www.ecademy.com/club/clubname For example: http://www.ecademy.com/club/personaldevelopment To check / edit your User ID (at the top of the page underneath Ecademy ID – click the edit link to change it) click here: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?op=view&type=information To check / edit your Club Name(s) (if applicable) click the admin link at the top of your club home page.

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The Ecademy Team

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"Ecademy Events" category added to weblogs

June 2005 We've added a new category to the weblogs called "Ecademy Events", which will appear with all the other weblogs for now under the new category (you can filter the views on the main weblog page or by clicking the link words Business, Ecademy Events, Social, Community on the home page) and look to moving them to a new events section in the newly designed site which is slated for release in September.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Weblog view counter added

June 2005 We've added a counter on all weblogs and articles (next to comments) that displays the number of views it has recieved (other than the author!) to give an indication of interest in it, this feature is available to all members who are logged in.

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The Ecademy Team

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PowerNetworker Listings in Marketplace

June 2005 A change to the Marketplace listings now means all PowerNetworkers™ are able to post one live Marketplace listing per month (one live at any time) which will feature on the front page and in all relevant search results (not on profiles or on the RHS advert block) as well as the "Marketplace" option appearing in the members profile menu choices for live listings.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

BNI launch their Ecademy Trusted Network

May 2005 The BNI Trusted Network is now live: http://bni.ecademy.com Ecademy members can join the BNI Trusted Network with one click here. BNI members (who aren't already Ecademy members) can join here: http://bni.ecademy.com/account.php?op=signup BNI, (Business Network Int'l), is a business and professional networking organization that allows only one person per profession or specialty to join a chapter, creating an efficient way for you to develop new relationships and maximize the number of referrals you receive! BNI currently has thousands of chapters in more than 20 different countries, truly making this organization the largest of its kind. Every year BNI members pass millions of referrals to each other resulting in billions worth of business!

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Notes added to member profiles

May 2005 All PowerNetworker™, MarketStar and BlackStar members now have a new feature called "Notes" - this enables you to make notes on any member directly via their profile page (click the link at the top of their profile page - these are private to you), this is very useful for managing your Network contacts and business prospects (actions and comments before or after a meeting/event for example)

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Skype connections added

May 2005 We've added support for Skype (free Internet telephony and Instant Messenging) to member profiles, once you've added your Skype ID in your account the Skype icon will appear on your profile page and also next to your name in listings (such as Currently online, search results and Marketplace) This feature is available to PowerNetworker™, MarketStar and BlackStar subscribers.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy What's New Log

May 2005 Ecademy is launching a new level of membership - MarketStar. To support this, you will notice a number of changes taking place on the Ecademy website: A new look homepage, we've split it into two halves, with weblogs on the left and Marketplace listings on the right with the titles in bold to make it easier to scan the content - this is to give Marketplace listings the same visibility as the weblogs and to address the growing challenge of people adverting via weblogs (which are meant to be for opinion and debate - essentially we have consolidated and positioned "emotional wealth" on the left via the blogs and articles and "financial wealth" on the right via Marketplace). We have also pulled the club messages up along side the club meetings, likewise with articles and the DailEnews feeds New "GoogleAd" style text ads in the right hand side column - these will randomly select and dsiplay MarketPlace listings for each page view Enhanced Ecademy profiles for MarketStars and BlackStars - automatically adding your latest listing to the top of your profile and the addition of offered and wanted keywords to help you sell directly from your profile New Marketplace search button on the homepage Optional email alerts when someone visits your Ecademy Marketplace listings and watchlists The Marketplace Trusted Network will be closed as it is now integrated into the main site (we will be doing the same for the Resourcing Trusted Network shortly as Marketplace will facilitate these areas much more effectively now it's integrated into the main site) The latest listings will automatically appear on the Ecademy homepage and under "latest listings" in the Ecademy DailEnews email newsletter We hope to also be bundling a real time collaboration tool - Avecomm (messaging, white boarding, conferencing via VoIP, application sharing, file transfers) in to the MarketStar and BlackStar offering as well as being able to offer it to all members at a great discounted price - we are at the final stages of this so hope to make this available in the next few days All PowerNetworker, MarketStar and BlackStar members will have a new feature called "Notes" - this enables you to make notes on any member directly via their profile page (click the link at the top of their profile page - these are private to you), this is very useful for managing your Network contacts and business prospects (actions and comments before or after a meeting/event for example) We've added an underline to the menu and box titles to make it more obvious they are links The full range of benefits available to MarketStars (and automatically to BlackStars), are outlined here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=club&c=2601

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The Ecademy Team

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Ecademy What's New Log

April 2005 We've intergrated Google Maps to all UK and USA PowerNetworker™ and BlackStar profiles, meetings and club events. You'll need to add the post/zip code to your profile / event / meeting for this feature to work (the word Map as a hyperlink will appear), you'll need to ensure you have the Street Address check box in your account ticked (under the Information Display Settings section) for this to work on your profile (we recommenmd you only do this if you use your office - not home - address in your profile). This feature will be available to members in other countries as Google add them.

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The Ecademy Team

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Links on menu and margin boxes

April 2005 We'll be adding an underline to appropriate words on the main menu and boxes (such as Currently Online, New Subscribers etc) to make it more obvious they are hyperlinks to more content.

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The Ecademy Team

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EcademyAds link from your profile page

April 2005 If you have submitted an EcademyAd (BlackStar members get one banner and one webpage as part of their subscription) we have now added a link at the top of your profile page to access your web page for editing and statistics etc. (click the edit link at the bottom left of your advert page).

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Guest membership improvements

March 2005 The Guest Member welcome period is extended to 14 days, during that time Guests will; Have a grey star next to their name when online enabling existing members to identify them easily as new members Experience many of the benefits of a PowerNetworker such as profile hits, advanced search, meeting management, join 3 Networking clubs (note we have revised this to stop abusive content being posted from false accounts), exceptions being weblogs, articles, Club forums and leading Clubs Will be able to actively message any member thus growing their Network (up to 20 contacts) Guest members who don't choose to subscribe during or after their 14 day welcome period will still be able to read all network messages (including new ones sent by subscribers) but not send messages, read all content in their clubs, receive all notifications, including emails from the club leaders and register and attend all networking events and club meetings. A new category has been added to the Complaints System; "Fake/False account" - this is to ensure anyone who signs up to Ecademy with a false or abusive name and/or profile can be removed swiftly, please do use the new category by clicking on the Complain link on appropriate profile pages.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Clubs - VCR controls

March 2005 Most club lists now have VCR controls at the top as well as at the bottom for easier navigation.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Complaints system - New Category

March 2005 A new category has been added to the Complaints System; "Fake/False account" - this is to ensure anyone who signs up to Ecademy with a false or abusive name and/or profile can be removed swiftly from the Network.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Profanity checker - private messages

March 2005 An adjustment to the profanity checker has been made so private messages sent via the online system are not checked, (the usual terms and conditions of membership still apply), also the code has been tightened up to be more effective with fewer false effects.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Profanity checker

March 2005 A profanity checker has been added to all areas where a user uploads content to the site. This is to ensure our terms and conditions of no swearing on the site is adhered to and we maintain a professional standard in communications between members on Ecademy. Asterisks (****) will replace words - there may be a few instances of legitimate words being filtered out, please email julian.bond@ecademy.com to make us aware of these, we will see how this affects content over the coming weeks and make amendments where appropriate.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

New Subscribers Box

March 2005 We've changed the New Members box on the home to New Subscribers to give more profile to new members who have commited to contribute financially and to ensure any abuse of Ecademy membership accounts are not given visibility on the home page. The latest New Members to join the Network can still be found in the Statistics section under the New Members, New Photos link.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy What's New Log

March 2005 We’ve made a change to the invitation system to simplify the process and make connecting easier. When inviting your contacts to your Network on Ecademy the system now checks to see if they are already a member and automatically sends them a Network message from you if they are. People invited to join will have one month to respond with a final reminder automatically going out to them 3 days before the invitation expires, the change will mean any invites that a member has chosen to leave in the invitation system will be sent for a final time over the next few days giving people a chance to join. To invite your contacts to your Network on Ecademy click here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=refer

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

New Networking Messages

February 2005 The Networking Messages Inbox now indicates new messages , once a return message has been to sent the sender the new message indicator will disappear. Note once a message has been sent to the person all new indicators for any messages from that person in your Inbox will be cleared.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Blog Links on Profiles

February 2005 We've added two new fields to personal profiles, Blog Name and Blog URL, these are used to link to your personal blog page/site if you have one from your profile page (the link - once the information is entered - will appear under the URL for your company website on your profile page) You can add the information by clicking the Edit link at the top of your profile page here.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

My Network Navigation Buttons

February 2005 We've added navigation buttons at the top of the My Network list to save having to scroll to the bottom of the list.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Currently Online Lists

February 2005 As part of the International Ecademy Day we have tweaked the Currently Online lists so they now include all members online, not just paying subscribers - this is to give Guest members more visibility and encourage participation (Guest members can respond to messages during their 10 day welcome period) as they are now more visible on the site when logged in. The total Currently Online number remains unchanged which has always included all members.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ratings Adjustment

February 2005 Each person must be in each others Network (sent at least one message to each other) to be able to rate the person "Good" to ensure they actually have had an interaction with each other to base the rating. We have now implemented the script to adjust the balance of ratings to reflect this change - which means some members may see an adjustment of ratings points if they are not fully connected to each others Networks. You can see who you are not fully connected to by clicking the Unconnected link at the top of your Network page.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Additional search functions - Top 50 words

February 2005 A new search function has been created - Top 50 words feature the top keywords in members 50 words on profiles through out the Network. The larger words shown are the most popular. Clicking on one of the words will produce a search result of all members who feature the keyword in their profile - there are also other related keywords on the right hand side to find other members with the relevant keywords as well as a search box. At the the bottom of the list there are links to other people on external sites that provide search on keywords, thus extending the reach even further.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Change to Basic membership

February 2005 We have re-branded "Basic" membership to "Guest" membership which is still be free of charge. To encourage participation we have set a 10 day welcome period where Guest members are encouraged to upload their profile, sign up to newsletters and *engage with the existing membership by responding via the message system with up to 10 members. *This is a significant update as it not only lets the new Guest members engage (currently Basic members can't send any messages) it also encourages and benefits the existing members to network with them knowing that they can respond to their messages during the welcome period. During and at the end of the 10 day welcome period we will give the Guest Members opportunities to upgrade their account, if they choose not to upgrade, their profile and email newsletters from Ecademy and Club Leaders will remain with limited access to the site. More details on Ecademy Membership services here: http://www.ecademy.com/membership.php

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Weblog views on the home page

February 2005 The default view on the home page for all members in the Latest Weblogs and Articles section is the Business category. We have added links at the top of the latest list on the home page to easily view and participate in the other categories as follows: Read All (All Weblogs in all categories) Business (All Business related content) Social (All non-business related content) Community (All Ecademy related - including Club Networking events)

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Networking Message Inbox and Outbox

February 2005 We've split the messages up into incoming and outgoing to make them easier to read and manage plus speeds up performance of the site. The view when clicking the My Messages link defaults to the Inbox, the Outbox link is at the top left hand side of the messages page. To send a reply to any messages click the name in the list (same as before)

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Catalist - post and bid for projects and tenders online

January 2005 Catalist, our new platform to post and bid for projects and tenders online is live - this completes the new Marketplace offering. http://www.catalist.biz

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Beermat Ecademy

January 2005 Beyond Bricks (the Ecademy Trusted Network) has been re-launched as Beermat Ecademy. This gives the site a fresher feel and will allow us to focus more on helping entrepreneurs and SMEs as we move the site forward over the coming months. We hope you like it! Please do take a look: http://beermat.ecademy.com

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Complaints system update

January 2005 We've reviewed the Complaints System and have now amended the complaint form so the user has to choose the category (we had a few with totally the wrong category) when using the system. We've also amended the process to ensure any misguided complaints are dealt with before any further action is taken by the system, the Complaints System page has also been updated.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Tweak to the rating system

January 2005 We've made a slight change to the rating system, each person must be in each others Network (sent at least one message to each other) to be able to rate the person "Good" to ensure they actually have had an interaction with each other to base the rating(!) A reminder also that when you rate someone "Good" on their profile page you'll be taken to their Testimonial page where you can leave a short endorsement giving the reason why you rate them Good (not compulsory but highly recommended). We will be running a script in the near future (Feb 1st) to adjust the balance of ratings to reflect this - which means some members may lose some ratings points if they are not fully connected to each others Networks.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

New members on the home page

December 2004 We've added a New Member box on the left hand side, clicking the title on the box (as you can with most other boxes to go to a full page) New Member will take you to the 100 most recent in the Ratings and Statistics Area.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Good rating now linked to Testimonals

December 2004 When you rate someone "Good" on their profile page you'll be taken to their Testimonial page where you can leave a short endorsement giving the reason why you rate them Good (not compulsory but recommended).

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

More improvements to Search results and Top Networkers lists

December 2004 The new Top Networkers by country can now be sorted either by Connections or by Reputation by clicking the appropriate button and country from the list All search results from the main Contacts Search can be sorted by clicking the column headers (the column header word is highlighted indicating the sort, you can toggle the headers to reverse the column order), we've added reputation as well as connections to the results set. TIP You can use this to good effect to drill into your required results by using the Advanced Search to narrow your searches, the results will be in order of network connections, you can then click the column headers (such as reputation or town) to sort in another order.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Top Networkers

December 2004 We've added the number of connections to search results with the most connected members appearing at the top of the results, you can arrange any of the search results in different order by clicking on the column titles at the top of the results list. We've also added a Top Networkers by country sorted by Connections or by Reputation. There is a link at the top of each persons Network list and in the Statistics pages (choose from the drop down list at the top of the page, note results will show subscribers in the particular country).

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Additional Membership Services

December 2004 Ecademy now offer a tiered membership service to suit individual needs: Basic membership This entry-level membership is free of charge. It allows you to create a profile, read what's happening within Ecademy, search the site and receive email newsletters and updates. Standard Membership For only *25.00 a year (sterling, dollars or euros), you can access and contribute to all areas of the site and build a network of up to 20 contacts. You can generate more awareness of yourself and your business through submitting content onto the Ecademy home page. And you can join up to three networking clubs of your choice. PowerNetworker PowerNetworkers have access to a growing list of premium website tools and features (see point 3 of this newsletter). This means that you can unlock the real potential of Ecademy – for yourself, your career and your business. The cost is £10.00 / $15.00 / E14.00 per month. BlackStar This new membership service is available to a limited audience, benefits include personal introductions, mentoring and promotional opportunities. Full details of all of the above Ecademy Membership Services are here: http://www.ecademy.com/membership.php All prices quoted are excluding VAT @ 17.5% where applicable for UK and EU countries and are correct at time of publication.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Trusted Networks on Ecademy

December 2004 During 2004 we launched many Ecademy Trusted Networks (TN's); in the USA, Benelux, Asia Pacific, India and Japan plus the launch of A Womans Place, BRE, Broadband Central, Marketplace, Microsoft, Recruitment and Resourcing , and the Regus Business Club Trusted Networks, not forgetting of course the continued growth of our founder TN's; Beyond Bricks (watch out for the new look and brand in January) and Wireless.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

BlackStar Lifetime membership

November 2004 Ecademy launches a premium Accellerated Networking service branded BlackStar, with the objective of delivering Life Membership to Ecademy, instant connections worldwide with high quality personal and facilitated services. If you are seeking greater awareness of your expertise, products and services and accelerated business opportunities then BlackStar may be of interest to you. Details here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=club&c=2030

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Free Networking for Life e-Book

November 2004 PowerNetworkers are now entitled to download the e-book Networking for Life, written by Ecademy Chairman Thomas Power. Download your copy here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=13332

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Testimonials and References on your profile page

November 2004 We've amended the guestbook feature enabling PowerNetworkers to collect and display testimonials and references from people in their Network from their profile page. Your testimonial page is here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=guestbook

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

More searchable keywords on profile pages

November 2004 In addition to the 50 keywords fields on profile pages, we've also made every members details (such as job title, town, country) searchable on their profile pages so simply click the link to search the text displayed to find relevant contacts.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Who's visited your profile – email notifications

November 2004 PowerNetworkers get the choice of an email notification when someone who is not in your Network views their profile page, default is set to on, you can change the setting in your account here: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?op=edit&type=email You can view the list of people who viewed your profile here: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?op=view&type=hit

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Display your company logo in your profile and on the home page

November 2004 Available to PowerNetworkers, upload and display your company logo in your profile and on the home page (next to your photo at the top of the home page, 3 picked at random every 15 minutes) http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?op=edit&type=photo

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Weblog Categories

October 2004 We've introduced categories for weblogs and articles, which mean you can now choose which submissions to view on the weblog page (click from the drop down list on the right or the category name on each title to change the views), enabling you read more relevant subjects. The categories and filters are: All (All Weblogs in all categories) Business (All Business related content) Social (All non-business related content) Community (All Ecademy related - including Club Networking events) Please be sure to select the relevant category when submitting your content.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Search on the home page

October 2004 Added a search bar at the top of the home page for Contacts and Knowledge, including specific links to other areas of the site for searching, this will ease navigation and improve the speed of use by bringing relevant contacts and knowledge directly to you.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy ethics and member self policing system

September 2004 Member self policing system based on points with account suspension. Guide to the values and ethics we encourage at Ecademy http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=31751 Ecademy Complaints System http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=31756 Ecademy Jail (account suspension) http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=31754

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Voice Messages on your profile page

August 2004 A great new facility is now available to all PowerNetworkers™ Voice Messages on your Ecademy Profile. This unique feature lets you record a Voice Message that will appear on your profile page, enabling visitors to your page to listen to your message. This is a great tool to tell people about yourself, what you are currently looking for, have to offer, or what you are doing for the day, week, month etc. The service is phone based – you simply dial a number, tap in a pincode and record your message, you can re-record as often as you like so you can change your Voice Message if you don't like it or if you want to keep people up to date with your plans and actions. Click the link below to record your Voice Message and read hints and tips on how to get the most from your Voice Message on your Ecademy profile: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?op=voice

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy on your mobile phone

July 2004 We've launched another benefit for PowerNetworkers™ - access to some key features on Ecademy via mobile phones, it's via WAP (not HTML) so your phone needs a WAP browser. Once you've logged you get access to: - Your network - Your meetings - Member search More details on using your WAP enabled Phone to access Ecademy here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=26676

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Help for new members

June 2004 We've launched a process for new members on the home page which enables a step through of the first activities to quickly get the most from Ecademy membership, it also shows other members on Ecademy who can help and which members have similar profiles. Learn the basics of Ecademy here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=22896

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Free Regus Business Club Card

May 2004 Claim your Free Regus Business Club Card giving you complimentary access to over 700 worldwide Regus Centres, enabling you to network in a very smart, quiet, professional environment. The Regus Business Club Card (worth £49/$75/E75) is available to all PowerNetworker subscribers. The Global Membership card gives you complimentary access to communal areas in over 700 worldwide Regus Centres as well as: Priority booking of Regus Meeting Rooms and Day Offices Regus Business Services such as telephone, faxing, printing, photocopying, binding & typing – all on a pay-as-you-use basis Friendly Regus Welcome Team on Reception who will meet, greet and look after your clients Complimentary concierge service including flight and taxi booking Most Centres have wi-fi and/or computers terminals to access the Internet More details including how to claim your Global Membership Card here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=22345

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

New Event and Meeting Functionality

April 2004 You can now click the Invite link on any meeting/event pages to send invitations to your colleagues and friends, simply paste their email addresses in the box provided, we generate text (which you can change if you wish), and importantly a URL which means invitees can join Ecademy and register for the event at the same time – simple! Have you used the new iCal Calendar button on all the events listed? It's a great way to insert all of full details of the event into your calendar on your PC, once you've registered simply click the button (you may have to choose "Open" from a dialogue window - depending on your settings) and hey presto! All the details are inserted into your calendar.

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Invitation System

March 2004 Use the Online Invitation system to invite people to your Network - your invited contacts will automatically join your Network on Ecademy when they complete the join form after clicking the link in the invitation email you send: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=refer

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Tele-Networking Conference Services

March 2004 The Ecademy can now offer all members FREE to join Telephone Conferencing Services using our brand new Ecademy Tele-Networking Conference System (ETCS): The ETCS offers: No monthly charges No booking fees No Bridge fees Up to 30 people can take part in a tele-networking conference call A welcome message recorded by you for yourself and/or your company (no charge) A host of value added features, such as conference call-recording and SMS invites – at no extra charge Full details including instructions on set-up and use are here: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=19862

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The Ecademy Team

ecademybest-practice-team-101747

Ecademy Lists

January 2004 A classified listings service on Ecademy which is free to submit to for PowerNetworkers™. EcademyLists split into regions around the globe and categories which are fully browseable and searchable by keyword(s). Browse and submit adverts here: http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=list&op=region

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