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American Express launches social media site for business owners

23 July 2009  |  3611 views  |  0 Source: American Express

American Express OPEN today unveiled the new OPEN Forum, an online resource and networking site for business owners.

The site is designed to forge meaningful business connections and provide practical, actionable information and insights from influential bloggers, industry leaders, and savvy entrepreneurs. In addition, the site will aggregate relevant online small business conversations from Twitter.

At the heart of the new OPEN Forum is the ConnectodexSM, a powerful tool for American Express OPEN Cardmembers which enables them to market their business, find vendors and build relationships. The Connectodex differentiates OPEN Forum from other social media sites because it allows members to navigate a virtual rolodex of credentialed businesses to make meaningful business connections.

The Connectodex's recommendation engine can help users find businesses with similar interests or in similar geographies, as well as connect with members that may offer complimentary services and expertise.

Coming later this summer, OPEN Forum will introduce The Pulse, an innovative feature that can help business owners harness the vast information and collective brainpower of the popular microblogging website Twitter in one easy-to-follow location. The Pulse section curates and filters small-business-focused updates and allows users to sort by industry to help make it easier to follow conversations relevant to their businesses. Business owners can also receive the latest news from OPEN Forum by following @OPENForum on Twitter (twitter.com/openforum).

"Our research has found that nearly 60 percent of small business owners feel challenged in finding innovative ways to market their business, yet only one-in-ten are tapping opportunities in social networking," said Marcy Shinder, vice president of brand management for American Express OPEN. "The new OPEN Forum provides a one-of-a-kind community where business owners can equip themselves with the best information and resources available to build and grow resilient businesses, including opportunities to leverage social media."

Ideas and Insights from Recognized Experts

First launched in 2007, OPEN Forum is building on its award-winning content with the introduction of the Idea Hub, a virtual trading post of insights between industry experts and other business owners. Idea Hub features original and exclusive articles and blog posts from Federated Media's business and social media thought leaders such as Guy Kawasaki (Alltop), Henry Blodget (The Business Insider), and Adam Ostrow (Mashable). Fresh and timely content from experts, trendsetters and influencers is delivered across seven content pillars and headlined by top thinkers in each area:

Idea Hub Topic Area                Featured Authors
Money                                   Henry Blodget - The Business Insider
Marketing                               John Jantsch - Duct Tape Marketing
Managing                               Scott Belsky - Behance
Forward Thinking                     Anita Campbell - Small Business Trends
Technology                            Adam Ostrow - Mashable
Lifestyle                                Jill Fehrenbacher - Inhabitat
The World                             Guy Kawasaki - Alltop

FedEx and American Express OPEN have extended their alliance to OPEN Forum. This alliance will bring small businesses "The World" Idea Hub topic area and provide expert content on an ongoing basis.

Media partners of Idea Hub include BusinessWeek, Inc., Entrepreneur, Slate.com, and CondeNet/WIRED .

OPEN Forum also showcases some best practices in entrepreneurship through new content from the Next New Networks and BigThink video series. Today's leading thinkers and innovative entrepreneurs will provide guidance to small business owners via streaming video.

"OPEN Forum is more than just a networking site. It's an online resource that can help inform, promote and grow their business," said Shinder.

OPEN Forum Featured in National TV Spot Launching Today

In conjunction with the unveiling of the new OPEN Forum, American Express will launch a new brand television spot that highlights the critical role business owners play in their communities, society and the economy. It features real entrepreneurs who built their businesses from the ground up, and who continue to innovate, inspire and show resilience. The entrepreneurs featured are:

* Chris Zane - Zane's Cycles in Branford, CT
* Sue Kirchoffer, Moravian Florists in Staten Island, N.Y.
* Laureen and David Barber, Blue Hill Restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
* Warren Brown - CakeLove in Washington, DC
* Bobby Oppenheim - TripleEight in New York, N.Y.
* Paul Cernuto - High Tech Landscapes in Branchburg, N.J.

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