Is a Blog a Community? Hoovers’ B2B Buzz

B2B Buzz - New Community for Small Businesses from Hoovers Online

(Via MediaPost) Hoovers and several business cosponsors have launched a new “social community” for small business users called B2B Buzz. The site’s focus is primarily content:

The voice of the social community will guide the direction for a portal and business consortium that Hoover’s and contributors Outsell, Selling Power, and Shore Communications plan to launch Tuesday. For the first six months the group will focus on building and sharing its collective expertise on marketing and sales, along with a variety of business topics for entrepreneurs.

In essence there’s a “self-assessment” and a blog (the site is on WordPress) for each of their three primary audiences: Sales, Marketing, and Small Business. The assessments walk you through 10 questions designed to determine how effectively your business is leveraging information – and end with an “enter your email address to get your results” style capture form (which gives no indication as to what happens to the email address you provide – shouldn’t a best practices site do a better job of explaining the privacy policy at the point of email capture?).

The Assessment ends in email address capture form

The site also links to a Twitter account (@b2bbuzz) and a LinkedIn Group though these links aren’t specific to the sub-audience but cross the three user types.

So is it a community? (Nevermind a “social community” which was MediaPost’s redundant term – the site merely bills itself as “a community of business information experts”).

Users can comment on blog posts, of course, and interact with the site authors via Twitter. According to the contributors page, “Experts from across the industry are invited to join our contributor ranks,” though the site’s beginning with five (including 2 from Hoovers and 1 from co-sponsor SellingPower). There isn’t, however, anything to register for – no user profiles, discussion forums, or call for user-contributed ideas and stories. Even the comments form is a simple name, email, and (optional) website link.

Given the recent Forrester report on the “plateau” of content creation, is this a smart strategic move to focus on where the companies involved can add value, or is it just the first step in the direction of a more robust community to come? (Or, I suppose, both?). Or has “community” become the new default generic term for “site,” displacing “portal,” “destination,” and “blog” itself?