Go Daddy has applied for three US patents covering an “Online Business Community” that looks a bit like a social network for small businesses.
The patents describe a web site that enables companies and potential customers to interact through forums, community groups and ratings systems, as well as advertising, buying and selling.
In the applications, Go Daddy says it had noticed that:
presently-existing methods of conducting online business, however, do not permit businesses and potential customers alike to interact in one place to share business-related resources; advertise, buy, and sell goods and services; interact; hold discussions; and network.
The patents, if granted, would cover such a service.
While most or all of the features outlined in the applications can be found individually in other Go Daddy products, I don’t think the company currently has a service that combines them all in the way described by the patents. Go Daddy Marketplace probably comes closest.
The applications appear to cover the creation of ad hoc business communities, for example, as well as the formation of “partnerships” between members such as suppliers and customers.
They also appear to account for communication between members using technologies such as instant messaging or voice over IP, and for members to rate each other for trustworthiness.