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This is an abbreviated version of the corresponding content from our popular Advanced Online Recruiting Techniques course, explaining methods and resources applicable to recruiting in any industry, function, geography or level. Learn more about or register for our live seminar or online course! Or return to free sample content.
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Expert Networks

A hot trend is the webification of expert networks - the ability to find and tap an expert in a particular niche who is available for something as brief as answering a question online, a phone call consultation to a long-term consulting assignment. This kind of thing evolved from the need for expert witness testimony in court trials, but the applications extend well beyond that today.

There are several evolving models in this space:

  1. where you pay a fee to tap the expertise,
  2. where you can pose questions for free (responders earn points for answering questions and being chosen for best answer, which are really opportunities for self-promotion as an expert, but sometimes can be redeemed for something of value as well)
  3. hybrid of the above where the network uses the free expert service as a proving ground ("farm system") for potential experts, then plucks the top ones for the paid assignments they have
  4. experts (or their companies) pay to be included - see PRNewswire below

You might want to find out who the experts of these networks are, and tap them for talent, as well as answer some queries to help raise your personal brand as an expert!

  • Circle of Experts - also a fee-based model, was created by Nitron Advisors and sold to Evalueserve in 2007. (You may recognize managing director David Teten as the co-author/founder of The Virtual Handshake.)
  • Clinical Advisors, providing primary market research and competitive intelligence to over 100 companies in the healthcare arena with private consultations among its network of 45,000+ healthcare advisors including thought leaders, practicing physicians, scientists, regulatory experts, industry consultants and other professionals who offer primary insights into the clinical trials, regulatory rulings and commercial events driving the healthcare sector. Its advisors represent more than 100 clinical care specialties and 25 basic science disciplines. Clinical Advisors was rebranded as Guidepoint Global in November 2007 after developing expert networks in other industry verticals including Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Retail & Consumer Products, Industrials and Energy (see Guidepoint Global below).
  • Ether, whose parent company was bought by AT&T in November 2007.
  • The Executive Forum from Coleman Research Group is the experts network that complements its sister products for those in need of experts.
  • Gerson Lehrman Group's The Expert Network is a fee-based service. GLG has created proprietary software to categorize and search for experts and their respective subject matter expertise.
  • Guidepoint Global maintains a Network of Advisors - a group of experts and professionals who are available for paid phone consultations with investment analysts. It was formerly known as Clinical Advisors (see Clinical Advisors above). The consultations are scheduled at the expert's convenience, are confidential and last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. The call would be a general conversation and would not be recorded or published. Clients compensate for the call at a rate of the expert's choosing. If you are interested in advising, go to the site, click Become a Member, choose an industry, enter your contact info, your hourly consulting rate, and a short bio based on your experience in the industry. You'll be contacted when there's a possible match. Also see Guidepoint Global.
  • Intota was purchased by Guideline and has the paid courtroom expert feel, though is not limited to that.
  • MCRI (Medical Consulting Research Inc.) was bought by Summer Street Research Partners and, like MEDACorp below, has a healthcare industry skew.
  • MEDACorp is owned by Leerink Swann and is focused on healthcare industry experts.
  • Primary Insight is the offering from investment house Bear Stearns with experts in Healthcare, Technology, Media, Telecom, Energy, Basic Materials, Industrials, Consumer, and Business Services. In addition to applying as an expert or requesting help, they welcome referrals of potential experts.
  • ProfNet is owned by news release distribution network, PRNewswire, and is geared to journalists who wish to quickly find expert sources for their articles, stories, etc. There is no fee to journalists for queries; the experts pay fees to PRNewswire for inclusion.
  • Reuters Insight Formerly known as Anian.com, this is the hybrid model #3 referenced above where people pose questions on various topics and others with expertise respond. You can specify countries, subindustries (e.g., technology --> computer software is a choice), etc., to get news or to ask experts for information on a given topic. Will be interesting to see how robust this grows over time (don't expect to find an expert for every country in a particular topic area). The expertise is supposed to be earned over time with points for good answers.You have to apply to be accepted as an expert, but this can be fudged a bit on the public site, obviously, since the Reuters folks canít keep close tabs on everybody. But Reutersí underlying business model is to sell research by this community of experts as well as be the middleman to broker consulting engagements for them.
  • Vantage Marketplace is owned by Goldman Sachs, and focused on energy, retail and technology. GS offers a related service called Hudson Street.
  • Society of Industry Leaders (SIL) - the fee-based expert network created by Standard & Poor's Vista Research subsidiary.
  • Yahoo! Answers was the first big player in the free online experts model.. Microsoft came later with its Live QnA added to its Live.com search engine portal. (Google launched a competing service, which has since been retired.)
  • Also, this blog post talks about some other players in this space, including an interesting treatment of LinkedIn's botched foray into the paid side, which they ended up cannibalizing with their free version, called LinkedIn Answers.


This is an abbreviated version of the corresponding content from our popular Advanced Online Recruiting Techniques course, explaining methods and resources applicable to recruiting in any industry, function, geography or level. Learn more about or register for our live seminar or online course! Or return to free sample content.

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