I received an email earlier this week inviting me to join Brialto, an online business networking platform as a pioneer member. It claims it is

“the first online business networking platform to replicate everything you would expect to see at an offline networking event – rooms where events take place, a list of members and guests, business cards of each participants’ details and the ability to make introductions, exchange information and pass on referrals.”

These aims seem reminiscent of those of ecademy, an established business networking platform used by some friends (though they are critical of how much spam they get through their involvement).

Looking at the website, it comes across as a set of chat-rooms. I can see how it might be used by existing networking groups for communications between events, but there doesn’t appear to be much functionality that isn’t already included in platforms such as LinkedIn or Ning. Brialto says its Private Rooms can be used for:

  • Intranets for business, subsidiaries and departments
  • Extranets for companies and their clients
  • Projects and project management

These places are “Designed for companies and individuals with a need for client or staff projects to run, or where the group and its activities need a place to share information and documents”. However, I guess the kinds of intranets,  extranets or projects they have in mind are relatively modest – I doubt that Brialto would be seriously considered for managing even basic construction projects.

(I saw the name ‘Mark Herring’ listed as one of the moderators – I suspect this is the same Mark Herring who runs London-based Business Junction.)

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    • Mark Herring on 4 January 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Hi. I hope I can respond to your comments.
    Yes, I do run Business Junction and the experience I have gained there over the past seven or so years has been put into Brialto.
    Brialto is a response to the fact that the two online networks you mention (LinkedIn & Ecademy) whilst having established their place online really do not allow networking to take place online ie. replicate what happens in an offline networking event.
    I would state that Brialto rooms offer more functionality than a chat room. There is a Buzz fucntion for instant emailing to other room members, a ‘Go Private’ function which really mirrors what actually happens in a networking event (groups meet and break into small 1-2-1s) and management functions for events and groups.
    The project management functions do not necessarily have to be basic. The archive and links holding mean everything communicated between parties is traceable and it certainly helps replace face to face meeting where decisions may not be clearly recorded.
    Please register and take a closer look. It is early days and the site will develop over time.
    Mark Herring

  1. Thanks, Mark – good to get a Brialto view.
    My perspective is coloured in two ways.
    First, I have used Ning extensively, and have seen its chat function used quite successfully to host regular weekly or monthly chats (the AECnetwork used to hold some regular sessions) and for those that wanted to go private there are many chat or similar functions – from Google Talk and other IM tools to Skype. At the moment, the Brialto site doesn’t really persuade me that it is worth registering for yet another site.
    Second, after 20+ years in the construction sector, I tend to seee project management as more than document/link-sharing, an archive and audit trail. In the construction collaboration technology market, the main competition for many years was email – and I think Brialto will really need to expand its functionality if it is to compete with email or the AEC-specific platforms. Particularly where projects are being designed there is a constant requirement to collaborate upon documents and drawings, to manage revisions and to create, manage and monitor work-flows. Again, I don’t see Brialto offering this kind of sophistication to the AEC sector, though it is probably more than adequate for many other, simpler project management situations.
    However, I will take up your invitation to register and take a closer look in due course.

    • Mike Minh on 18 January 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Whether Brigalto works or not has yet to be seen. What’s not so nice is that they actually scraped off hundreds (thousands?) of contact email addresses from the user profiles at and used them today for, well, unsolicited email marketing (that’s SPAM for you and me). That’s a bit cheap, isn’t it?

  2. Over the past decade I have worked hard to only work with opt-in email lists (setting up registration processes, allowing ‘unsubscribe’, etc), so it pains me to hear of businesses that spam recipients with unsolicited emails.
    The EU Marketing Directive 2002 guided me in setting up corporate processes in the early 2000s, and I suspect Brialto would be in breach of these regulations if it was shown to have scraped email addresses from a third-party site and then sent emails to which the recipients had not given their informed consent.

    • Mark on 21 January 2010 at 8:44 am

    We have invited business people who network or who are members of networking groups to join as pioneer members. Brialto offers support and value to event networking groups by creating connections between existing members (especially between events) as well as promoting those groups on a new platform as the site replicates event networking in a way that other sites don’t.
    I don’t consider invitations to events via my business emails to be spam – and I get plenty – and neither does the EU directives or UK law. Anyone can unsuscribe via a link and we cannot reinstate that email.
    Maybe you guys will consider registering – for free – and find out what’s and who’s on the inside of Brialto?

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