Review: The Go BIG Network

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How To Raise Your First Million Dollars

Disclaimer: this is a paid review.
Disclaimer on the disclaimer: I do paid reviews only on subjects, websites, products and services which will benefit you, my trusty readers – even if the review on the subject is a bad one.

Update {11/15/2010}: The comments on this post are 100% correct.  I had some pretty significant problems with Go Big Network after writing this post.  I no longer recommend their services.  Unfortunately, I also have a principle about not deleting things I’ve posted on the internet that I want to stay resolute on… thus, this update.  The short of it is, I don’t recommend Go Big Network at this point in time as they’ve utilized poor business practices in many different ways.  Anyway, if you want to read the post anyway, feel free….


For starters, I must say that I apologize for the last post on the VC Money Connection. Not for the subject, but for the method. I’ve been trying to get out of this stupid writing funk of being dry and well… boring. I am deeply sorry for it. I hereby pledge to work harder at being less dry. I guess that would make this attempt more … moist?

Here’s what I think, short and sweet like. There are only two reasons which must go hand in hand when you’re considering writing a review that’s paid.

  1. It must provide value to your readers. If you can’t do that, you’re wasting your reader’s time, and providing a disservice to them. A.k.a. you should be shot.
  2. It must be honest. This goes right along with #1. If you aren’t honest in your opinion on the matter, you’re a sell-out. Go do some spamming or something.

If you can meet those two criteria, why shouldn’t someone get paid for their review? In fact, why shouldn’t we get paid for talking to someone else about a product or service any time? You do it every day. I do too. Getting paid for an honest opinion which relates to the people you’re talking to is worth every penny to everyone involved. (hint hint on the above graphic)

Ok, On With It Already! What is the Go BIG Network?

So, I got a chance to take a look at The Go BIG Network. My first .01 second response was, “Hmm. Looks like another boring portal.” Fortunately, it’s got a bit more spice than that.

gbnIn fact, it’s almost providential. Even though VC Money Connection and How to Get Funding as a Young Entrepreneur were slightly boring reads, the content and questions were sincere. How do young entrepreneurs find the money when we need it? (If we need it, or if we should need it are different questions entirely.)

The Go BIG Network (GBN) has some awesome potential (gasp, the “P” word!). In their own words:

The Go BIG Network allows professionals to connect with small businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, customers, vendors, employees and advisors. The Web site is like a “virtual rolodex” that people like yourself can use at any time to connect with people that can help your business.

In my words, the GBN gives us young entrepreneurs the opportunity we’ve been looking for. The typical “angel” investors focus on investing around $100k. VC’s typically look to invest in the millions. What if you only want $25k to get off the ground? Starting a company successfully can be cheap these days, you know. Where would you go if you didn’t want to save it all up, didn’t want to or couldn’t ask your parents, and have almost no rich friends?

You could go to Prosper.com and try your luck there. But, the interest rates are a bit high to use it as an investment. The GBN is the only other alternative I’ve seen so far (if you know of others, please say so!).

What the GBN Does Right

  • Comprehensiveness filling in the gaps – Everything seems to be there. How few dollars can I propose I need? It’s there. What if I have an idea I want to bounce off the community of investors and entrepreneurs? It’s there. I need help on a business plan! It’s there. Have everything except a good marketing plan? It’s there. Legal, accounting, staffing, HR. Yup, all there. They have a forum for just about everything you can think of as an entrepreneur.
  • Free services and registration – Many of the services are free, which is great. What would be the point of paying money if you weren’t sure you were able to get the value out of the service you came there for? Very nice. High five?
  • Great intro to the investment/angel/VC world – Articles on what these investors will want, types of investment you might need (seed, angel, vc, etc), how the process works, how an investor thinks, how to write a good funding request, and more. Way to make the new fresh meat… ahem, I mean new entrepreneur feel right at home and learn this stuff.
  • Contact info – Holy crap! They have phone and fax numbers! I’m simply amazed when any company puts an actual phone number on their site. It’s like they are calling me in my dreams – “Come talk with us. We like you and want to hear from you.” They even put frickin’ directions on how to get to their office ON THE CONTACT PAGE! Who does that? Kudos and good karma to you folks.
  • Live Chat – Now, this wasn’t available at the time of this writing (11ish PM PST), but since they’re East Coasties, I’ll give them a little slack. I’m assuming they are the real deal and not some whacked out non-English speaking/writing “call” center, so I’m ok with them not being there right now. Sleep well young GBN’ers. Sleep well.

What the GBN Does That Makes Me Want To Puke

  • Google Ads – I don’t usually put down people’s methods of monetization. But in this case, I have to ask how much they really make with those? It can’t be too much because they are certainly not placed very well. And if that’s the case, remove them. They clutter the design up, which brings me to my second puke…
  • Design and colors – Having been a web-chef for over 10 years, I have puked a lot on site design. Granted, I’m not the best designer, and I recognize that. But, I certainly can tell when a site is cluttered. I can tell they are trying hard to keep things organized. But, the site needs a redesign badly. The colors are all over the place and everything else is so frickin’ busy my eyes just jumped out of their sockets and rolled down the hallway in fear.
  • The registration form – Registration is not a bad thing. Registration that asks me a ton of stuff all at once is a bad thing. All you need from me is a desired username and password and perhaps my email address if you want to confirm that. Otherwise, I’ll fill out my profile when I’m damn good and ready.

Honestly, I can’t find too much fault in them other than their choice of design, ads, and the stupid registration form crap. I really do think it’s a valuable service, and if you’ve never done the entrepreneur/founder thing before, you ought to give this network a shot. I may be using them soon as well (shhh, don’t tell. How’s that for juicy/moist?).

[tags]entrepreneur, network, social, business, funding, investing, vc, angel, seed, capital, venture[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in San Diego, CA who popularized the #hashtag and creates scaleable web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

25 Comments on "Review: The Go BIG Network"

  1. Wil Schroter says:

    Thanks for the feedback on Go BIG (despite the fact that we’re of course paying for it!).

    Your feedback on the stuff that “doesn’t work” is the same stuff we’re working on fixing right now.

    I actually designed the site myself when we were only going to have 1 or 2 functions. Then it just kind of took off from there and got way too cluttered. The re-design will be far more intuitive.

    I’m glad you addressed the “how does a young entrep get funding?” issue because it’s a big problem for newbies. Understanding how to get funded is one thing, but you actually need to reach out to some investors and most people have no means to do that.

    We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it’s coming along nicely. It would be nice to help a lot of people out that are struggling to get off the ground.

  2. nate says:

    That’s great Wil. Like I said, I don’t mind giving feedback, even if it is paid. I think it’s a good thing because you get an honest review and some link love, and I get clink for my time. It works out well for both of us.

    I’d love to hear your comments on the funding issues too.

  3. Great review! GBN is just the site I have been looking for thanks

  4. nate says:

    Great! I’m so glad it was worthwhile to someone. Like I said, I won’t put up anything on my site that I don’t think is worth my regular reader’s time.

    Thanks Cory.

  5. Pierre says:

    I am in the beginning phase of starting my company and need direction on funding (capital). What are the best methods or avenues to take on this?

  6. Barb says:

    We’re trying to find real opportunities for funding – it’s difficult to take your review as a value added commentary: yes because it’s paid for, yes because it seems impossible to find any success stories from gbn and yes because your dislikes are pretty weak as criticism: any company seeking funding doesn’t care about this, they want to know the value of their money paying for ‘chances’ to get in front of potential investors. Where’s a startup to go (seriously)?

  7. nate says:

    Barb,

    I appreciate your honest feedback on the article. Thank you. I know it’s hard to take my review as honest commentary. I wish there wasn’t the social stigma that getting paid for something means you’re not being honest. I can’t really do anything about that for you with that.

    But, as this article was written a while ago, now that I look back at it I fully see your point about my critiques being weak. They definitely were/are. There’s two reasons for that. (1) I’m a developer as well, so I see things in that manner and feel the need to mention it. (2) I really didn’t see any downsides to the service other than what I mentioned. However, having mentioned both of those things, I certainly didn’t articulate comparable (or even relevant) downsides to those of you who are looking for funding. I apologize for that mistake of mine.

    At the time of writing, they were rather new. But, now that they’ve been around for a while, it certainly behooves us to take another look (especially at their history and successes/failures within their service).

    I think this kind of subject and service is definitely valuable to all of us who create, fund, and sell businesses. So, I’ll try to put some resources together into a future article that will be helpful.

    Again, thank you for the critique. Your comments will make me a better writer. And, I’ll definitely be working on what you’ve mentioned.

    Cheers.

  8. Lee Jones says:

    Well, there is not ONE WORD here in this inverview, nor is there a single word on the GoBig site that tells you they are charging for their services – that is, until you spend over a half an hour filling out the “registration” form and get to the last page. Cut & pasted from THIS interview: “Free services and registration – Many of the services are free, which is great. What would be the point of paying money if you weren’t sure you were able to get the value out of the service you came there for? Very nice. High five? “. This is VERY MISLEADING. I didn’t see a single service at GoBig that is free, again, you get to the last page, only to find out that you must pay for their services. As far as I can tell, this is just another one to add to the pile of, “Send me your money and I’ll show you how to get rich” scams.

    Lee Jones
    Austin, Texas

  9. Vanessa says:

    I agree with Lee Jones, and I also think they should ask whether people want their Go Site made public over the internet (my full name appears on the profile although I wasn’t given any choice in this matter) I haven’t written off the site, but these little ‘misleading’ issues certainly don’t help their cause. I’m now a little concerned about how easy it’s going to be for me to eradicate my profile from that site should I choose to

  10. nate says:

    Lee,

    First of all, thanks for writing a comment. I appreciate the fact you took the time to write. However, I have to let you know that this article was written in January of 2007. Obviously my job isn’t to keep track of what Go Big does and update each blog post accordingly. So, thanks for letting everyone know that there are no more free services, but I’d like to give you a word of advice. Don’t get all pissy on someone’s blog about an article written a year and a half ago. Be a little nicer.

    Try reading “How to win friends and influence people” or something rather than just ranting, especially when this is your first time commenting on this site.

    Thanks.

    Vanessa, I appreciate your comment as well. I know they’ve got some issues, and I actually don’t support Go Big’s practices at all anymore. In fact, I even had my bank go after them to refund me because they started to charge my account without my permission and racked up hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees.

    So, that being said, I don’t use them anymore. This review was completely honest at the time, and I did use the service for a short period. However, after the review was over and time went on I found problems with it and (thought that I had) canceled my account.

    Anyway, thanks for everyone’s comments. I appreciate them all.

  11. Why not pull the review down then?

  12. nate says:

    Jeremy, because it’s a blog, and for posterity’s sake I leave things up. When people write news articles and the company changes, does the news agency remove their publications from print? Nope. Same thing here. This is a publishing platform and I have no reason to retract it. That’s what things like comments are for, to update people. :)

    Thanks for updating people.

  13. ETPhoneHome says:

    GO Big Network is not a good source, at least not by my experiences. I filled out the application and could not move on to step two. The “go to step 2″ button kep sending me back to the beginning of the application and wiped out everything I had written. I don’t thing I will trust it.

  14. Yana DeMyer says:

    My Associate, Curt, tried the 7 day free trial. They weren’t supposed to charge his card until the 7th day. He decided not to go forward with the service and tried to cancel on the fifth day, only he found that they charged it the first day. He has been unable to get a refund. BEWARE!!!

  15. nate says:

    Yana, I had a similar problem. If he goes to his bank and tells them the issue, they will usually fix the problem. I had to do that as well. It does work well that way.

  16. Lizzy says:

    I’ve used GBN twice now for different ventures. The biggest drawbacks for me were as follows:

    1. There are two different fees if you want to post a request for funding and then if you want to be able to contact the investors you’re matched with. Maybe this is a new feature and their way of making more money, I found it annoying and very unclear. Fortunately, they have amazing customer service and they hooked me up with the second feature free of charge.

    2. This site is a godsend if you have the right business model for the most sought after industry. I’m not in any way saying that this is GBN’s fault, but it didn’t seem to facilitate the needs of the little guy as much as I had hoped. I had 2 different business plans, one for a high end retail boutique in Los Angeles and a second for a mobile spa company. The first plan called for $250k in investments, the second for $50k. I had no takers. All of the matches that were sent to me weren’t really matches at all, which was the only thing I can fault GBN for. To circumvent this problem, I would suggest GBN doing more advertising in different industries so that there is a more diversified pool of investors that can adequately address the needs of borrowers.

    Other than that, it’s a great site and has tons of potential.

  17. Stacy says:

    Go Big is huge fruad,they do not know how to establish business credit. I had a account opened with them and they did nothing but ruin my companies name. Do not trust them with your information!! After a couple months with opening my account ,I did my research and all they tell you is lies. They kept telling me to have patience but all along they screwed up my account. They will try to sign you up for a premier builder package but the sales person just tells you so much bs. I have to close my bank account because I do not trust this company at all,I was scared they might try to take out of my sccount after cancelling. If you want to build your business credit ,please do not trust them. All they will do is waste your money and time.

  18. Mike says:

    Well written review but it’s completely untrue. I tried out Go Big network and got nothing but spam mail and phone calls. I had about two actual calls but almost everyday, multiple times per day I recieved spam calls and no one answering when I pick up. Also I had a funeral this weekend and when I met up with some close friends I found out they have been calling me only to get forwarded to Go Big Network’s company. Apparently this has been happening ever since I signed up and Go Big claims it has nothing to do with their company. I’ve been told by a representative to contact my phone company since they most likely are responsible. Since the time I called I haven’t heard anything from them. No email, obviously no phone calls.

    • nate says:

      Thank you to everyone who’s posted about their problems with Go Big. I agree with you all, and had problems of my own with them. I’ve thought about rewriting this review, but I think your comments are doing the right thing. I may just end up writing an update on the post itself to clarify my new position.

      They are indeed not a good company. Thanks everyone for your comments!

  19. Kevin says:

    I wouldnt go there if I were you guy. They send you fake emails from investors to get you the pay & what not, It all just a huge scam…

  20. Carl says:

    I actually went to the Santa Monica address on the site and oh my God. It is not what they project.

  21. Roger Hooks says:

    My God,
    Why do I always decide to do this research “AFTER” I pay a guy some money. All I can say now is that I hope all that I read is wrong. I just signed up for the GoBigNetwork premium service. I have an internet business that is up live and running. I have proof of concept with it making several thousand dollars, it was designed to monetize out of the gate, it’s big market (40 million customers) and high growth (est. 900 million) and it has a projected rate of return that suits investors quite well. I have been studying and building this business for this relaunch for 8 years. If there is a start-up to be funded this would be the one. So if I can’t find funding from this site I will be suspect of their business practices as well.

    • Chris says:

      Roger Hooks, any luck? I also signed up for their premium service and after a few months of nothing but scammers contacting me telling me to send them money and they will help me find funding I gave up. I wish there was a way to get my money back…

  22. Savage says:

    Whoa. Glad I read this review. Isn’t one of the “How to Win Friends and Influence People’s” Laws to Never Criticize of Complain? Law Number One I believe. It’s been a couple of years though. That being said, I am very appreciative that you kept the blog up, and that you decided to post an update. I was about to invest $1,500 in this company, and your honest and forthright writing and subsequent comments have saved me a lot of money. I’m sure you took some of the negative reviews personally. Thank you for keeping this blog up in spite of criticism. Do you know of a site, company or methodology you would recommend for this sort of thing (finding start up capital)?

    • Nate Ritter says:

      @Savage, I wish I did. I was hopeful as well, but I haven’t found a suitable alternative unfortunately. Please do let us know here if you find something that works for you. Thanks for your kind comments.

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