Myself and a small team have just built agencypond.com. It’s a platform to help agencies share their specialists with other agencies. You can make people available on the platform if you have some spare capacity. And if you need someone for a project, then you can find someone to borrow from another agency.
Would be great to hear any feedback on the platform and concept, and if you do have anyone with capacity, then please add them to the platform.
Random first bit of feedback: some of the Code of Conduct looks a bit too broad.
For example, we would be required to agree that “You will not engage in activities or share Information which is harmful to the AP Website or Platform and its Users.” I suspect all co-ops share information on our structure and ownership which we hope (amongst other things) may be harmful to investor-speculator companies, plus the free software co-ops share plenty which we hope may harm the software barons. I don’t know who the Users are and I don’t really want to have to vet them all (including recent additions/removals) before doing anything.
“You will be liable to indemnify and keep us indemnified from any legal actions or claims arising out of your feedback or comments posted on the Website or Platform” sounds a lot like we’re writing you a blank cheque, too. Claims caused by our postings? Perhaps. All legal actions arising from them, including nuisance ones? That makes me nervous.
“Follow all accepted business and professional norms and ethics” - accepted by whom? And all of them? Co-ops don’t follow certain business norms around investor control and so on.
I’d also love to know more about who is Agency Pond Ltd, who owns it and who profits from it.
Sorry to kick the tyres so hard, but you did ask and the above makes me nervous about suggesting it to other members. Best wishes nonetheless.
I think these are fair points on the Code of Conduct! I probably need to give the Code of Conduct and the other legal docs are thorough review, as some parts are cookie cutter template terms.
Agency Pond is owned by me and my two co-founders. We all used to work in an agency together and decided to build this platform based on our experience at agencies. Initially we are not charging anything for usage, but in time, if the concept works, we will probably take a commission from contracts.
When you say agency, that’s not a specific type of organisation, do you refer to employment agencies?
Are we allowed to join? (Cotech’s tech co-ops - none of them employment agencies AFAIK)
Pricing: “Agency Pond takes a commission from completed contract fees” is too vague, maybe state a percentage?
I liked the simplicity of https://www.agencypond.com/how-it-works but felt there was something unsaid, dunno … is it UK-only? Is it specific types of employment?
Many thanks for taking the time to give feedback.
It is a problem that I am aware of. This platform is absolutely not for employment agencies! It is designed for the type of agency that you are; digital agencies, creative agencies, PR agencies, development agencies, marketing agencies, etc. But I have struggled to find a suitable all encompassing term.
Re. pricing, you are right, and this is the type of information I would also personally want up front. Right now we are not charging anything in fact, but in the future we will have a base rate of somewhere around 10-15%.
We have only just launched, and we have primarily, but not exclusively, UK based agencies on the platform.
Fundamentally from what you and others have fed back to me I can see I do need to substantially improve the information provided pre-sign up to better explain the platform.
Ta for replying Alex. I nearly didn’t respond because i thoughht it was job agencies, not related to us. (But if it does apply to us, I’m more interested!)
That’s quite a list - you’re going to need a phrase, not just one word … something like “digital and creative”?
BTW we (Webarchitects) don’t use “agency” to describe ourselves, we’re a company/co-op i guess - if that helps?
Is there a plan or a hope to make this into some kind of platform co-op, owned as a commons by its members? That would be great – in contrast I can see it as problematic to a number of people in our circles if it were to replicate a so-called “sharing economy” extractive approach where profits go to investor shareholders…
At the moment we are set up as a normal Limited company. I don’t have any plans to transition this in a co-op and I can see how this could be a problem for the co-tech community. I would like to work out a way in which this concept and platform can work for you as a community, not just practically, but also in a way that does align with the co-op principles. I’d need some help with this so I’d welcome any suggestions but here are some thoughts;
- Within the co-tech community you build something equivalent yourselves, set up as a co-op. How is this sustained? Do all members contribute a license fee, or commission rate, and are profits then redistributed back proportionately?
- We license an isolated version of our platform to a newly setup co-op company that operates similarly to option 1.
- Similar to 2. but maybe the members of the co-tech community on the sub-network could choose to borrow from and lend to companies on the wider network as well.
Just some initial thoughts but would love your thoughts on how this could work.
Regarding point 1. I think you could set up a platform coop as a form of solidarity workers platforms that could be organised as a coop that helps coop members coordinate. It starts sounding a bit like what I imagined the role of Cooperatives UK would be for cotechs in the UK. I was directed to solidarity platforms such as WeGuild when talking with Vica Rogers (colleague of @Jamesdlv at Coops UK) about the role of coops in helping change gig economy and ride share work to be more fair and just.
It’s only partially related, I know, but I think a similar platform supporting coop members in actively support them in finding work/consultancy, networking with different stakeholders/clients Etc could be valuable for those who are in need.
Of course I think a forum such as cotech does some of this (Finding work, opportunities for training and support) in an informal manner already is part of the reason many of us gather here.
Just thinking out loud. Hope it’s useful