Who Do You Want To Do Business With?

While doing some research over the weekend on buyer-seller interactions, I came across a fascinating site called DiverseNation. At first glance, DiverseNation is just another online classifieds directory. But a further look finds something completely different.

What’s different is that the classified listings themselves are shunted off to the side, almost appearing to be an afterthought in the site design. What is front and center is the ability to choose what type of business you want to engage with, based on religion, ethnicity, or gender of ownership.

Whoa. Why don’t we add “political affiliation” to the list while we’re at it and go for the quadfecta of taboo cocktail party conversation?

DiverseNation as a website itself is not going to set the world on fire (a quick perusal through the classifieds shows only one listing), but the model is fascinating. Instead of making the primary search based on the product or service that is desired, DiverseNation seems to be saying that who you might want to do business with is at least as important as the type of business you need to do. This is a radical idea.

This is not limited to sites like DiverseNation. We are even starting to see this kind of clustering actvity starting on some of the social networking sites like Orkut, where there is a flap going on between American and Brazilian users around inclusivity.

There is, of course, the well-worn saw of the “old boys network” and that “birds of a feather flock together.” But there’s something different here. Instead of talking about it in hushed tones near the water cooler, or brushing it off, it’s being presented head-on. Is this a unique occurrence? Or is this the beginning of a trend?