White Labeled Social Networks
At the OMMA show, there were several vendors out their touting their white-labeled social networking tools. My initial reaction resembled that of the beloved NPTech humorist kitty cat. Yet I have to admit that my work in Deanspace (as talked about in Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope, was essentially my part in creating white-labeled social networking tools several years go.
I spent a bit of time talking to four different vendors. I’ll list them here in the order in which I spoke with them.
The first vendor I saw was The Port. The are located down in Atlanta and have a .NET based system. Their clients include the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. They are also partnering with Convio as they reach out to non-profits and other associations. They focus on providing the infrastructure and having others handle community outreach strategies, design issues and so on. They are not doing anything with XFN, microformats or OpenID.
The second vendor was KickApps. They started early in 2006. They are based in New York and use Java as their underlying software. I was told that their main selling point was that people could get up and running very quickly with them, where other firms the engagement process could take several months. They did not have a demo community available.
The third vendor was CoreSpeed. They came out of enterprise project work, and tout their interconnectivity to back end enterprise systems. They are based on PHP and SOAP. They mentioned BMC software as a client, but wouldn’t give details about what any of their clients had done with data gathered from the portals citing client confidentiality.
They partner with What a concept! “the first social media agency in the Southeast.” Sherry Heyl, CEO was “a key organizer of SoCon07, the first Social Media un-conference in Metro Atlanta and is currently planning SoCon08”.
Like ThePort, CoreSpeed has a demo white labeled social network up and running at CoreSpeed Community. I’ve set up an account there as well. They provide the ability to import external blogs, Flickr photos and much more. They support RSS. They even have OpenID support was part of their “ID Hub”, which they describe as a work in progress. Unfortunately, I received errors when I attempted to use my OpenID.
The final white-label social network firm that I visited was Prospero. As Miranda’s father, I’ve always had liking for the name Prospero. In addition, they had cool swag; refrigerator word magnets with words like Live, Moderation, Share, Believe, Message, Today, Build, Smart, Think, Attract, Blog, Chat, Cool, Engage, Community, Social, Widget, Create, Crazy and others.
They are located in Boston and their software is .NET based. They grew out of the old Delphi communities and have iVillage as a lead client. They talked a bit about their abilities to deal with moderation issues. They were live blogging the event, but didn’t have a demo site available to use.
One other company that I visited was Reality Digital. They don’t speak of themselves as a white-label social network provider but as a “A hosted service platform for storing, sharing, managing and monetizing user-generated content including video, photos, games, text and more”
One of their clients is Lonely Planet. I’ve always loved Lonely Planet travel guides and the idea of Lonely Planet TV is very appealing.
So, while other people spent time talking about where to place their banner ads to maximize clickthrough, some companies are providing services to help make marketing a meaningful part of people’s conversations.