Left Graphic: Forrester Wave™: Community Platforms, Q1 ’09
Important Update: Jan 2009
Before you do anything, first read this important update. Below you’ll find a list of over 100 vendors (and more in the comments) of vendors that offer commodity community software. Before I joined Forrester as an analyst covering this space, I started this list and it grew and grew. In 2008, I published a vendor product catalog that has details of over 50 of the vendors, beyond these listed descriptions. In Jan 2009 I’ve now published a Forrester Wave which segments the leaders that provide solution (service, strategy, and support) for enterprise class marketers (aka customer communities for the big brands). This doesn’t diminish the other vendors listed, as there are unique use cases for each vendor.
Social Networking goes mainstream
I was recently asked by a buddy to name off some social networking platforms that could be branded or changed as needed (that’s where that term ‘white label’ has come from). It’s somewhat relevant as Om Malik has now asked a rhetorical question if Social Network tools are just a feature of website. Overtime, like blogs, these will ‘normalize’.
What is “White Label” Software?
This is software you can brand and integrate tightly into your existing domain. The user experience should be near seamless, therefore any company can have their own MySpace. Kindly do not submit Social Networking tools that don’t meet this criteria, as the list can extend to hundreds if not thousands of companies.
List of Companies that provide Community Insights, Intelligence, Research and Data
Instant Communities: List of companies that provide Web Collaboration Suites or Platforms
Here’s a list of Social Networking platforms, or suites that you could take and rebrand, if you know of any others, please leave a comment (many of the following are from those that left comments, like Gideon who left quite a few links). Not sorted in any particular order:
I met Vassil, the CEO, I think it has a chance of giving Sharepoint a run for it’s money given it’s Intranet type features
Microsoft’s collaboration suite is getting social networking tools for it’s 2007 version, I’m waiting for Microsoft to call me to do a demo.
SF company just acquired by Cisco
I was looking at this while at a previous role, this is what the famous Channel 9 was built on, as well as Dell 1to1 and Xbox
I’m having dinner with Marc Canter tonight of Broadband Mechanics, I’ll be video interviewing him to learn about his “white-label MySpace-in-a-Box”
Just saw this one, looks pretty interesting. (Update: Feb 2008, now acquired by ONEsite)
White label hosted version.
Social networking and collaboration suite.
“Platform that allows you to create a social network site similar to MySpace”
Doesn’t appear to be a white label, but it’s certainly a Social Network, pretty interesting.
“Elgg Spaces allows you to create social networks for your organisation. You decide if the network is private or public.”
“Build your own community with SNAPP! It’s as easy as point and click”
“Customized white-label social networking partnership solutions for large media, entertainment, and community brands.”
Looks like it has some of the open source apps I’ve used before glued together for a social network. I wonder if this will be a dedicated feature available to most web hosts.
“SelectMinds pioneered corporate alumni programs over 7 years ago and continues to push the boundaries of technology in this industry to provide corporate social networking solutions that help our clients and their current and former employees build and maintain the professional relationships that drive success.”
Small World Labs
“Small World Labs provides the design, implementation, and hosting services for your online social or professional network.”
Social Network Server
“Our platform creates two versions of your site,
one for the Web, and one for mobile phones.”
Sparta Social Networks
“We are a full-service social network solutions company, specializing exclusively in the social network arena. ”
“With literally thousands of websites powered by PHPizabi including everything from simple friends sites to the most complex networking super sites out there.”
“…suite of functionality which includes personal profile pages, people-matching, blogs, chat, polling, rss, discussion groups, file sharing, widgets, targeted advertising, and robust customer and community analytics…”
“Organizations of all sizes can use GoingOn to build interactive communities around their most important initiatives and benefit from the open and compatible “network of networks” environment.”
“Got a brand? Build your community today and start generating incremental revenue from user generated content..”
“Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal can support a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites.”
Awareness (formerly iUpload)
“At the core of the Awareness solution is an on-demand social media platform that combines the full range of Web 2.0 technologies – blogs, wikis, discussion groups, social networking, podcasts, RSS, tagging, photos, videos, mapping, etc. – with security, control, and content moderation. Awareness builds these features into complete communities for companies, or customers use the Awareness API and widgets to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their own web properties.”
“Haystack gives businesses the ability to build social networking capabilities into their websites, encouraging customers and sales reps to create more personal connections. Haystack can also be used to help individuals within organizations connect with each other.”
“We specialize in rapid creation and adoption of online social networks using our FUSION platform. FUSION combines social networking software with consumer generated media technology to provide a marketing and community building tool for brands, organizations, and other verticals.”
Mzinga (Acquired Prospero, March 2008)
“We enable organizations to easily, quickly, and cost-effectively develop branded, integrated communities and social networks comprised of message boards, blogs, ratings, and chats and to manage them using a single, intuitive platform.”
“Liveworld builds, operates, and moderates social networks and online communities with a difference that creates real solutions to meet real business goals. We are distinguished by these advantages”
“Userplane is the premier provider of communication software for online communities. Five hosted web apps comprise the application suite – each adding core, must-have features to thriving websites. The apps are robust yet lightweight, cross-platform with no user installation, and customizable for a site’s specific needs.”
“Ning is the fast and free way to create custom Social Websites!”
“Grow a community and extend your members’ visit to your site. Provide robust social networking tools to stimulate community interaction and foster word-of-mouth.”
“Joomla! is used all over the world to power everything from simple, personal homepages to complex corporate web applications.”
eFriends by Altrasoft
“…is an online social networking software that allows you to start your own site just like Friendster and MySpace. The E-Friends software allows members to connect to people in their personal networks and community, creating a new online interactive resource that is based on a trusted network of friends and associates on the internet.”
Complete graphic and content customization
“Can be attached via web services to any database. User Features include ability to interactively search and filter results of matches out of 1000’s of users in seconds. ” (From comments as I can’t copy and paste any text as the site is in flash)
“start your own social networking portal? If so, then you have just found what you were looking for. Feature Rich User End, Advanced Admin Console, Paid Membership Integration, Flash Instant Messenger and Chat, Fulfeatured Modules”
“Use flexible and powerful community software and implement your brilliant idea in real life. Build a community site using Dolphin, and enhance it with Ray and Orca.”
World Web (in German)
I can’t confirm this site meets the criteria, since I don’t speak German
“provider of an integrated video distribution and social community platform designed to ignite brands.”
“We created a social networking technology as we felt that there were no really good software out there.”
“The Trusted Leader in Social Networks for the Enterprise”
Successful Customer Communities
Group Members International
“Outsourced White Label Enterprise Level Hosted and Managed Social Networking Community Platform”
“Vibe Capital builds Web 2.0 community software solutions for vertical market sectors”
“Social GroupWare is an approach to create a Free on-line platform for Social Networking with the most known success story as Business Networking Club of Milan, Italy- http://www.milanin.com”
World Dating Partners
“We build your brand… not ours. Earn the highest income possible with your own branded or white label site. A Free solution to fit your ideas, plans and financial expectations”
“Kwiqq.com enables online communities for travel, media and football. Our product provides a complete social networking solution ‘out of the box’ and is fully customisable.”
“GoLightly provides communication and collaboration solutions for community-minded organizations. Our social networking tools give your members the ability to interact with you and each other in powerful new ways.”
“Confluence is an enterprise wiki that makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share knowledge. Confluence – The Enterprise Wiki. Adding, sharing and finding content has never been easier. These benefits come with all the additional features needed to make it a part of your business:
“ConVerdge is a social media, networking and community building specialist. We help clients around the globe take advantage of the shifting consumer preferences to connect, communicate and share content online. We have created a superior platform that enables us to white-label our turnkey hosted community solution for portals that want to quickly establish themselves with the best of web 2.0 technologies. With Converdge, we empower both large organizations and small businesses to customize, personalize, target, distribute and monetize their brand by delivering a robust, scalable and reliable solution.”
“Group Networks, Social Networks, Photo Sharing, Blogs, Live Chatrooms, Dynamic Searchable Profiles, Videos, Articles, Events, Calendar, Forums, Jobs Database, Private Email, Instant Messenger (IM), user generated content and more.”
“Pringo Networks offers a complete social networking and media sharing platform allowing your company to effectively build an integrated online community around your existing user base. Pringo Networks provides the power and flexibility of state-of-the-art social network solution on your site. With features surpassing the leading popular networks, the Pringo technology can offer you and your audience the same functionality as MySpace, YouTube, Tribe.net, Bebo.com and then some!”
Your own Sub-domain. With our social network site, you simply add a sub-domain (an A record) to your website, and this can be whatever your choose… http://members.yourdomain.com, http://community.yourdomain.com, etc.. or even your own dedicated domain name – your choice.
“Extends blogging and social media platform to user-generated content in internal and external communities. Movable Type Community Solution (MTCS), a package of social media features built on top of the popular Movable Type 4 platform. The Movable Type platform powers many signature websites and blogs around the world, from the Washington Post to the Huffington Post, from General Motors to Nissan Motors, and from Boeing to BoingBoing.”
Satmetrics (Formerly Informative)
“Marketing 2.0 is about digital democracy and the wisdom of crowds – where prioritized content trumps mass media; and where collaboration and communities of customers drive growth and innovation. Informative provides interactive market solutions that engage customers and identify their top priorities.”
“Easily create a social network that looks, works and feels exactly as you want it to”
“Plone is a ready-to-run content management system that is built on the powerful and free Zope application server. Plone is easy to set up, extremely flexible, and provides you with a system for managing web content that is ideal for project groups, communities, web sites, extranets and intranets.”
“DiSo (dee • zoh) is an umbrella project for a group of open source implementations of these distributed social networking concepts. or as Chris puts it: “to build a social network with its skin inside out”.
KREM social networks (Netherlands)
“Realize the potential of social networks”
“Build your own niched, customized, viral social network. Start simple and buy features a la carte”
“introNetworks, Inc. offers an award-winning platform that facilitates the creation and management of these private business communities with world-class, easy-to-use tools that visually display relevant matches between people, companies, products – virtually anything. The result? You build loyalty, learn about your audience, and drive revenue.”
“Our Advanced Platform enables companies of all sizes, including some of the world’s most visible brands, to leverage social media to enhance their brand value and long-term business success. Whether it’s through the development of promotional web campaigns and communities, or by integrating into the fabric of a company’s business, we use our expertise and advanced technology to help brands connect with consumers on a deep, interactive level. More about our Solutions..”
“Build a professional looking website without having to call up expensive nd busy web experts. Wild Apricot’s software provides professionally designed templates and tools to easily adapt the look and feel”
“We are a new software company that will provide value-added software products and services for the Drupal social publishing system. With over two million downloads since inception, Drupal is used by web developers worldwide to build compelling websites. Diverse organizations use Drupal as their core social publishing system, including media companies, non-profit organizations, publishers, and many others. Acquia plans to accelerate and extend market adoption of Drupal by advancing the core technology and offering value-added software products and network services that dramatically speed deployment and reduce risk.”
“CoreSpeed provides cohesive private-label online marketing, ecommerce, and social media platforms for your enterprise with our flagship Web 2.0 product, CorePlatform”
“We’ve developed an expansive toolset and powerful platform to give you a huge range of features: content sharing, member profiles, customized page layouts, photo and video uploads, easy technical integration, and so much more.”
“Higher Logic provides hosted Social Networking software for non-profits and member based organizations. Our products integrate with your membership management system to give your members new and exciting ways to communicate with one another.”
relenet offers highly customizable social network software. It enables our clients and partners to operate professional social network communities on-demand under their own brand.
“HiveLive’s on-demand software enables companies to rapidly deploy custom-fit enterprise communities built around people, their relationships, and their shared knowledge. The foundation of our patent pending technology is a new Web 2.0 building block (called a Hive) that can be easily configured to function as a wide range of community applications (blogs, wikis, forums, FAQs, and more). With our platform, companies can connect to three community solutions:”
In Sept 2008, Social Text launches community features and twitter like features for both internal (employees) and external (customer/partner) usage: “Discover, create and use social networks to get things done Socialtext People gives you social networking with your colleagues at work. Profiles and tagging make it easy for you to describe yourself and to create social networks you can tap to do your job better. Since the Socialtext wiki always lets you see who authored what, you discover people who are important to you, people who you can leverage to increase your own effectiveness. You can subscribe to the activity of these colleagues, tune into their thinking, and tap into their ideas and expertise.”
“Plum makes a social media sharing application that can turn your website into a vibrant community. Plum lets your visitors share the things they care about with the people they care about.”
“Cisco Eos is a hosted software platform that gives you social-networking, content-distribution, and content-targeting features in an integrated administrative suite. Cisco Eos helps media and entertainment companies deliver a consumer vision in which “Content Finds You” and the entertainment experience is personalized based on individuals’ interests. Instead of devoting extra time to searching for content that interests them, consumers can spend more time interacting with the content and with one another.”
GroupSwim’s award-winning, on-demand products build web 2.0 customer communities and team collaboration sites. Join the thousands of GroupSwim customers helping their businesses collaborate and connect with their customers and employees today.
Update Feb 13th:
I’ve realized that there are too many players in the space, (my list started with about 8, and grew and grew) in the end (like the CMS industry of the first web wave) only 5 or so will matter. The ones that I’ll recommend to clients (I consult the Fortune 1000) will platforms that will have an open architecture, so it can extend and connect to other social networks. Having both hosted and downloaded options are key, white label rebranding opportunities, and non-proprietary code are essential. No one wants to have multiple IDs, so anything that can provide a solution for long term makes sense. A system that can scale as well as be open to connect to other systems will be key.
Update Feb 21st:
Thanks for all the wonderful emails regarding this post. For anyone who’s asked for a recommendation, unfortunately, I’m not able to provide one. There’s a few reasons why I don’t recommend any of the above 1) I clearly don’t have the knowledge to review and experiment with all of them (about 40 listed now) 2) I would feel horrible if the project went wrong, and it was due to a product that I recommended. Thanks for understanding, I hope this list is a good start for you for you research. If you do have feedback, I hope you blog it, and then leave a comment below so others can hear about your experience.
Update March 5th, 2007: The list continues to grow from email and comment submissions. There’s a few White Label Social Networking apps that are stealth although are apparently doing very well that are NOT even on this list. This market is very large, I wonder how long the demand will support it. Have you read my posts: Social Networking White Label Market Overcrowded, Reminiscent of CMS and Portal craze of Yesteryear and Listened to this podcast A VC’s thoughts on Social Networks?
Update March 14th, 2007:
We’ve hit the 40 mark now by adding Dave U networks. This is still one of the top viewed posts according to analytics.
Update June 6th, 2007
I’m at the community unconference here in Mountain View, and I just added Lithium. Over the last few weeks I’ve been adding more and more. There are over 50 players in the space. I also added Six Apart’s Movable type, this is a very, very crowded market.
Update July 26th, 2007
Techcrunch reviewed 9 of the companies here, and linked to this list, more and more visitors to this post, this is one of the top read posts in the last 30 days.
Update October 8th, 2007
This continues to be the top read post, in fact it’s the top read post for the last 6 months. I continue to add names to this list. Amazing how entrepreneurs continue to build companies based on this very, very crowded list. Also, I’ve become an Analyst focused on this market, which means I’ll be spending more time looking at these companies, something I never had time to do before.
Update: Oct 1st, 2007
I’m happy to report that I’m a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research focused on social computing for the interactive marketer. I’m now officially covering this space
Update: Feb 8th, 2008
This list continues to grow, I’ve counted over 60 vendors on this space. I consistently see the same names appear in client emails of vendors, so I’m already seeing a pattern of deployment. What’s needed is segmentation which will eventually result in a shakeout. I’ve given my thoughts to CIO magazine what that will look like.
Update: Q2-Q3, 2008
I will be doing a Forrester Wave (a document that ranks and rates the top vendors) in this space sometime mid year. It’s much needed as there’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace. I’ll be rigorous and objective in my analysis, some vendors are going to be very happy, and some will be very angry, but what matters is that I help buyers find the right products.
Update: Jan, 2009
I’ve finally completed and launched the Forrester Wave covering this segment, since then, new vendors like Cisco’s EOS and Social Text have joined the ranks.
Mergers, Acquisitions, Funding (Started Feb 2008)
I’m hoping to see consolidation on this marketplace, it’s overcrowded, clients are confused, and vendors will slash each other down. I’m going to keep a list of mergers and acquisitions in this space.
Feb, 27, 2008: HiveLive raises $5.6M venture funding
April 20, 2008: Ning raises $60m valued at $500m pre money
Feb 19, 2008: ONEsite Acquires Social Platform.
March 3, 2008: Mzinga acquires Prospero
March, 19, 2008: Small World Labs acquires $1mm in funding
March 4, 2008: Demand Media buys Pluck $75MM
April 3, 2008: Jive acquires Jotlet, online calendar set
June 9, 2008: Awareness partners with Sharepoint
June 10, 2008: KickApps and Clearspring Team Up to Monetize Social Widgets
Feb 25, 2008:Convio partners with ThePort
June 30, 2008: Lithium raises $12MM
July 10, 2008: WebJam receives $1.9MM in funding
July 15, 2008: KickApps adds UserPlane’s Chat Feature
Sept 23, 2008: Telligent raises $20million from Intel Capital