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Why I built a renewable energy network application

Written by James Quilter | 2017-03-28

Ok, so here’s the topline. I built OnGreentech, a network for the renewable energy network application.

If you’re interested in why, what it does, and how it can help people and companies, and why B2B publishers should be doing the same — then read on.

Firstly, it’s probably worth outlining my background as a former B2B journalist. I specialised in energy and media/ marketing and my previous magazines include Windpower Monthly and Marketing.

Crucially, I was there at the end of that distant era when B2B publishing was primarily print-based. You know, shortly before print advertising revenue was gutted by the rise of online, and journalism became the churn.

B2B print magazines

Of course, there will always be a place for B2B print magazines. But, if they haven’t been closed, many weeklies are now monthlies or online only.

Lets face it if print isn’t going to make a big comeback. Then many titles’ online offer will have to evolve.

Stuck with antiquated CMS systems, dwindling editorial resources, and poor investment, many are simply replicating what the print title did. But with less of the in-depth stuff.

There is another way to inform people besides putting it on a bog-standard website.

Another way

The introduction of social networking in the 2000s has shown the secret of growing online communities is to absorb their content and redistribute it according to each user’s requirements.

Yes, you can do that on Facebook, LinkedIn etc. But there is a limitation to this sort of one-size-fits-all social media site.

LinkedIn provides a way for people to connect, chase jobs and create groups. But it is difficult to create anything specifically for the many professions that are active on it.

A better example is healthcare network Doximity. It does the above, but it attracted over half of practising doctors in the US with its free facility to share electronic patient records.

So, rather than just wondering why a publisher doesn’t build a networking application, I decided to build one myself. One that, in addition to news and features, included applications that could help people who worked in the sector.

What I did was create OnGreentech.com, renewable energy network application to help people share news, rate products, and update career histories.

From a user perspective, it allows people to create profiles for themselves based on what projects they have worked on and their industry knowledge.

It includes a user ranking system, which people can rise on if they contribute or share knowledge. For example, this could be a project they have worked on, or rating a particular product.

Other features include a glossary, submitting and voting on stories (as with Reddit), as well as publishing longer form posts or analysis.

Registered users can also follow products as well as other members. This enables them to receive stories they are interested in.

While product ratings — covering a number of criteria — form a crucial part of the site. It enables the site to create automated ‘leagues’ based on manufacturers and different types of products.

Conclusion

This is not a new way to slice bread. Besides Doximity, there are a number of B2B social networks in existence. Examples include Spiceworks, for the IT sector, and Edmodo for teachers.

However, there is an opportunity to create business applications that cater for the community. That provide content as well as a service for users in a specific field to use.

At the moment, OnGreentech is in beta. It only covers wind power, only a fraction of the world’s wind farms, and the design could probably be better.

But it works, people are joining, and it is substantially different from anything else in that area. Or in most other B2B sectors. And that is why I built it in the first place.

At the moment, new registrations are confined to the wind industry. But if you would like a login, feel free to get in touch via the link at the bottom of this site.

Sector: Wind

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About author

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James Quilter

Former renewable energy and marketing journalist, now a content marketer and developer. I created this site because I believe the clean tech commnunity needs a platform on which to express its views.