U.S.-based Broadband Mechanics is planning to start a social networking service targeting corporate customers in Japan as early as this summer, Chief Executive Officer and founder Marc Canter said.
Canter, a well-known inventor of multimedia content tools, is confident he can be successful here creating customized social networking service sites for corporate customers by using his company’s unique SNS system, PeopleAggregator.
One major feature of PeopleAggregator, launched in June 2006 in the United States, is that users of SNS sites can import and export their data from one SNS site to another.
Canter, 50, has been an advocate of the rights of end users to control the content they put on their blogs or SNS sites.
For example, users of an SNS site who want to join a different SNS site currently cannot bring their data with them, he said in Tokyo last week.
Canter said creating a profile page from scratch and uploading photos in the other SNS site is inconvenient.
“How come (the person) has to upload them again? (It’s) a matter of convenience. It’s also a matter of rights,” he said.
A SNS enables users to put up personal pages that can contain blogs, photos and videos, which are usually locked into that site.
A spokeswoman for mixi Inc., a major Japanese SNS, said it does not offer a service that allows data in profile pages to be moved to other sites, although it is technologically possible.
“We don’t see any needs or wants from users so far, and we haven’t thought about doing that,” she said.
With his SNS business, Canter is trying to cash in on Japan’s penchant for using SNSs as a tool to communicate with old friends and meeting new ones, in part thanks to mixi, Japan’s dominant SNS site.
Now some firms are trying to set up their own SNS sites to facilitate communications between employees or with customers to strengthen loyalty to their products or services.
Masaharu Osako, planning department manager at Looops Communications Inc., a Tokyo-based SNS system developer for corporate customers, said inquiries from companies this year are roughly three to four times higher than a year ago. He declined to say how many deals Looops Communications has struck.
“Japanese companies used to take a top-down approach, but recently many Japanese companies have started sharing information, opinions and the decision-making process” among employees, he said.
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