Ekaweeka: it's not just another pretty face site

For the business minded crafter, the Web is useful but Web 2.0 is priceless. Since it's impossible to be at every craft fair on every weekend, and still have time to make product, social marketing and networking online have become staple of the successful craft business. But when you're focused on knitting the monkey, and not learning the HTML to make the site to sell the monkey, it's hard to DIY or bust.
Certain online social networking giants have forbidden marketing and/or become too popular to wade through. Bummer. So it's a good idea to check out niche sites like Ekaweeka if you want to stay personally involved with your online sales. Like co-founder Thomas Hillard says, “Anyone can start a business, the challenge is developing and maintaining a successful online presence. Ekaweeka leverages social networking technology to provide simple, customizable solutions for creative types and small business owners, while working to develop a close-knit community where relationships form and develop organically.”

Marimello recently chatted up Thomas Hillard.
M: there are a lot more networking sites up these days so apparently there is a perception that the larger sites are not living up to their potential to promote people's indie spirits.
TH: I don't think the larger sites ever intended to promote everything for everyone (most were originally for dating). Social networking is just a new staple for community oriented websites. Whether its a presidential campaign or a crochet community, all the new sites are just fulfilling other interests people can bond on.
M: For reals, why are people sick of the well known sites? who uses Ekaweeka?
TH: People are sick of it because businesses shamelessly advertise themselves there. The classic Ekaweeka user is running their own business from their living room or on the side of their day job. Their trade ranges; we have artists, writers, crafters, photographers, services, fashion/accessory/jewelry designers and more.

M: What has surprised you about the way people are using Ekaweeka?
TH: Many users who had just started their profile have found themselves sending customers and perspectives to their Ekaweeka page as their website never made it out of the "under construction phase." That and somehow we generate excellent search engine results for our users. Don't ask me how. Seriously though if you don't already have a good Google search result, sign up on Ekaweeka and you'll see your profile go to the top in no time.

M: How many indie bands does it take to screw in a light bulb?
TH: Trick question, the bands never do it, their managers walk in screaming and do it for them.

M: HA! k that was a joke. the number is pretty obscure. I bet you wouldn't know it...

TH: I guess not, but I used to work in the music business so seriously don't get me start on making bands do anything ayayay!

M: HA! The indies have always carried a bit of elitism on their indie badges, yes? How do you maintain that (if you imagine that there is a plan to maintain that label) if you lose control of your, how do i say? user content.

TH: Well no one is really in control of user content. Aside from being built and run by the same people who use it, we're proud that there are no board rooms, no hidden agendas.
Instead we prefer to think of it like a party, we invited an eclectic/artsy/DIY crowd. We set the mood with lighting, music, food and drink. Now all we can do is host the party, too much control and no one has fun, too little is a problem too. Our biggest job at this point is to make sure we listen to the demands and keep the punch bowl full!


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