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Blender Network update

The Blender Network now will finally happen! After more than a year of brainstorms and trials, Bart Veldhuizen (BlenderNation) has accepted to build and manage the networking website.

Full announcement on blender.org


Here's notes I gathered from previous discussions on the Blender Network - which was a concept introduced and reviewed at Blender Conference 2010 in Amsterdam.

URL: www.blendernetwork.org

  • Maybe network.blender.org

Main target:

  • Provide an online facility for professionals to help them conducting business with Blender.
  • Specifically it should enable technical support, servicing, integration, pipeline consultancy and training business to emerge.

Facility details

  • An Open Business network, like the yellow-pages for Blender professionals. All information is open to view for everyone, also without logins.
  • Network members get a page on the website and private access to edit and update it
  • Member profile: for categories or expertise, searchable (vfx, training, development, consultant, etc)
  • Simple social networking structure like linkedin; to build connections with other members.
  • Message board (twitter style?) to advertise stuff or call for actions
  • Good searching options, worldmap
  • A Network moderator is available for members to consult.
  • A news/blog frontpage? We could invite 'case study' articles there by members. Only practical reports on actual inter-network cooperative projects. No advertisement stuff like "I made a commercial for IBM". The latter would belong on private page only.

Social networking

  • Send an invitation and tag it like
    • "Business contact" (worked with under contract)
    • "Collegue" (cooperated with)
    • "Friend" (know member well, recommendation)
  • Only accepted invites are shown on the network. (How to manage tags when A asks for "Bizz contact" and B only wants to be "Friend"?)

Members:

Three membership options can be picked:

  • Academic (free)
  • Freelance (50 euro/year)
  • Corporate (250 euro/year)

Freelance and Corporate members can be developers, consultants, trainers, writers, animators, vfx specialists, and so on. The basic definition of "professional" is: someone conducting contracting work.

Authentication (general):

  • Webpage/form for application on the website
  • Network moderator handles applications, and performs a series of authentication steps.
  • After a succesful authentication, last step is (optional) fee payment, and membership becomes active

Authentication, Academic members:

  • Only faculties and official university/college employed people can apply (not students)
  • Scanned pdf or printed official letterhead confirmation which autorizes BN to advertise membership
  • University (associated) website page describing Blender involvement and contact info
  • Email exchange in English only. Member should be able to express themselves in English well.

Authentication, Freelance members:

  • Certified trainers get this membership automatically. (If they want corporate membership they need to apply)
  • Evidence of address (utility bill), passport/IDcard, bank account or paypal
  • Website url with actual contact info (not anonymous, nick names, etc) and clear notification of Blender and realized Blender projects
  • Email exchange in English only. Member should be able to express themselves in English well.

Authentication, Corporate members:

  • Evidence of business address (utility bill), passport/IDcard applicant, bank account or paypal
  • Chamber of Commerce subscription (not more than 2 years old)
  • Own company website url with actual contact info (no facebook, blogspot, nick names, etc) and clear notification of Blender and realized Blender projects
  • Email exchange in English only. Member should be able to express themselves in English well.
  • Phone number, which will be tested. English speaking is a prerequisite.

Facility back-end

  • Network moderator should be able to invoice members when membership expires
  • Internal low-traffic mailing list for members-only, to discuss facilities (not bizz!)
  • secure backend for providing/uploading privacy data

Network moderator duties

  • Handle membership requests
  • Assist on managing member pages, moderate pages for appropriate content (similar to b.org)
  • Moderate message board if needed
  • Be available for consultancy by members
  • Handle abuse complaints or re-authenticate members

Blender Network internal business model

  • Membership fees should cover up for building/maintaining web site, moderator hours
  • Network profits go to actions that support member business; like discounts for Blender Conference, Siggraph/FMX/etc booth participation.

Blender Network implementation & planning

  • BF has asked Lumikuu (www.lumikuu.com, Finland) to help setting up the facility
  • Feedback period: until 2nd week June 2011
  • Nathan Letwory from Lumikuu then will perform Moderator duties for the start-up phase (3-6 months)
  • During that period a permanent position is open and should get appointed.

Feedback

Please don't edit this wiki page! For feedback and discussions people can use the forum at blender.org instead. Link: http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20043

Thanks!

Ton Roosendaal

ton at blender.org