Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series of posts meant to address questions we frequently receive from Mavens. If you have a question about Maven, send it to us and we will either respond directly to you or include your question in a future blog posting.
Maven Members often ask us how they can search for other Mavens. As you may have noticed, the “Find a Maven” link leads to a simple webform that you can use to provide some background on the type of person you are looking for. Once you submit the webform, our staff are notified of your interest in using Maven to tap into the knowledge of other professionals and reach out with additional details on becoming a Maven Client.
Anybody can search Maven, including existing Maven Members, but they have to become approved as Clients first. Why? What’s the difference? Since there’s no upfront cost to become a Maven Client, why can’t you just search?
The short answer is that you must become qualified as a Maven Client in order to search, which brings us to the real question – what is the difference between a Member and a Client? When we created Maven, we knew that many users would want to not only profile their experience and knowledge on the platform in order to be considered for paid micro-consulting interactions (that is, become Maven Members) but also engage the experience and knowledge of others (that is, become Maven Clients). However, this does not apply to everyone; some people are content to remain as Members, just as some of our Clients are content to remain only as Clients. Hence while we certainly allow someone to be both a Member and a Client, we have not made it mandatory or automatic as we do not want to create any unnecessary burden on users who choose to become one or the other. If you think about it, it’s easy to see that there are considerations to becoming a Client that are quite different from those related to becoming a Member.
For example, consider privacy and confidentiality. At Maven we go to extraordinary lengths to protect the privacy of our Members. We are not an “open network” like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, etc. We don’t hang your info out there for just anyone to see (including search engines) and we carefully control who views your profile, in what context, and how much information about you is disclosed. In order to provide the level of security and privacy that our Members demand, we need to restrict access to our search function to Clients. We require a higher level of verification from Clients regarding their identity and background, agreement to very stringent privacy protection and confidentiality terms, and training on acceptable uses of our platform, all of which require additional registration steps that Members are not required to take. We do all of this to protect you and to honor our commitment to keep Maven free from fraud and spam, and to prevent your profile from being viewed by those you would prefer not see it.
On the latter point, consider your personal Privacy settings. As you know, you can use these settings to prevent certain individuals or types of individuals from viewing your Member Profile. We employ automated filters that are tightly integrated into our search system to enable this feature. However, the filters are a two-way street- we can’t prevent “John Smith at ABC Corporation” from viewing your profile unless we know the searcher is John Smith from ABC Corporation. This requires additional validation.
With all of that in mind, we welcome anyone who wishes to become a Maven Client so they can search our network for legitimate purposes (i.e. to engage other professionals in paid micro-consulting interactions) to contact us
. We would be happy to walk you through the process of becoming a Client and activate the search functionality for you.