In the last 2 years I have been a non-paying member of Ecademy, a business and social networking platform with a pretty strong UK emphasis, since that is where it started. I’m not a frequent user of the platform, and the reasons for that I wrote about earlier this year:
I have strong reservations about Ecademy as a platform, think that in general it has a approach to networking that sees contacts as prospects first, and as human beings only second at the most. (Although there are a lot of very interesting and fine people active there, in groups and communities) (also see the comments to that post, and the following discussion in Ecademy itself, triggered by Scott Allen)
Nevertheless I came across many interesting people there, and joined a few networks there that seemed interesting. Primarily I joined the Dutch Connection, a lively group of creative and openminded people, consisting of Dutch, ex-pats living in the Netherlands, and those who have some sort of interest in the Netherlands. We’ve been meeting regularly in Amsterdam, and slowly plans and actions are emerging from this group. The group uses Ecademy as their on-line platform, although it does not see itself as a specific Ecademy club.
This weekend while logging in on Ecademy I was forced to choose between a new set-up of memberships. I chose the free basic membership. These questions come up every now and then, and I always choose the free membership. This primarily because the extra services I get for my money aren’t that much added value for me to justify the monthly fee. But now things have changed: by choosing the free membership this weekend, my possibilities on Ecademy were reduced. What used to be the free membership now costs a small amount of money “the first year” (whatever that may mean for the years after). The changes, reducing my ability to interact to zero, are:
This looks a lot like my experience with Haloscan, where I had to become a paying member to be able to export my blog-comments. The reason I wanted to export them was because I had stopped using their service….
While I have no problem with saying goodbye to Ecademy as a platform, what I do have a problem with is the sudden and unannounced (afaik) cut-off from the few relationships I built there. I think it’s the community that is the added value of the platform, not the other way around. And the platform owner is not the community owner nor it’s natural leader. Also networking platforms aren’t exactly scarce. Now the free membership has been stripped of every possibility to interact with others on the Ecademy website, the barrier to entry has become a lot higher for newcomers I think. I am curious to see the growthrate over the coming months of membership.
So after 2 years I have just logged out of Ecademy for the last time. As soon as I have discussed how to stay in touch with the Dutch Connection with other members I will probably remove my profile from Ecademy as well. No reason to keep it there, if I cannot use it to interact with others, and the only one being able to use it is Thomas Power to boast about the number of people in Ecademy.
I wish Ecademy the best of luck, as I am sure there are a lot of people in there for whom it offers real added value. It just always had limited value for me and apparantly I am of too little value to Ecademy now as well. I am confident that I will stay and get in touch with interesting people through other channels. Bye bye Ecademy.