23 Replies to “Findings: What you said you wanted in a White Label Social Networking Vendor”

  1. When considering white label vendors, I’ve looked for the ability to integrate with the original site’s search engine. Absent that, I’ve looked for ways in which end user behaviors can be flagged and bubbled up via analytics.

    Has anyone else had needs along the same lines, and if so, who are the top performers?

  2. Thanks Jeremiah. I enjoyed contributing my thoughts and appreciate you sharing the results. This will be useful material in our own decision-making as we consider options for the social media space.

  3. Ditto Michael Chin — what exactly do people mean by a “good customer experience” — seems subjective. Has anyone done any research on that? Are you planning to?

  4. Hi Jeremiah- I think it’s great that you’re looking at this topic. About a year ago, I started looking at options for a white-box social networking to meet the objectives of creating a closed, internal social networking sandbox for my company. The options were few and far between to do what we wanted and we ultinately settled on Ning (on the suggestion of you and several others). Generally, it was easy to get up and running –even for a non HTML expert such as myself –but the application actual pages were clunky and awkwardly tied together. Almost making it feel like there was not alot of user testing done to understand how the site might be used by the communities. Ning was chosen as a platform somewhat by default due to lack of other choice. I had several users who were unable to create accounts after multiple accounts and support was impossible to get (which is typical of many *free* sites, unfortuantely).

  5. Michael, Jane

    That is so subjective yes. We actually have an entire team of analyst at Forrester that cover User Experience. (Just as we have a team looking at social computing)


    For the purposes of this report I’m working on, it will actually list out many features.

    To do a ‘good user experience’ that will need to b e a very different research project, one that I’m NOT tackling, nor plan to.

    Please remember this requirement is what the commentera asked for, not necessarily what I’m going to put into my report.

  6. Sounds like this will be an interesting final document.

    What would you say is the difference between “reliability”, which came in at 4th, and “dependability”, which came in at 14th?

    In my mind the two concepts are almost inseparable, but they have come out at almost opposite ends of the results.

  7. Jeremiah,
    the results of your survey are interesting. I’m intrigued by the top two, especially “customizability.” That can be interpreted (at least) two ways and its directly related to how vendors deliver their capability:

    1. Application/products — some vendors deliver an offering that is essentially an application or product that can be “customized” — that is, it has an out-of-the-box experience and many aspects are modifiable. For example, you can change the appearance of some objects or the way they operate, but you’re doing it within an established norm.

    2. Platform — other vendors deliver a platform-based solution in which there is no out-of-the-box-experience because the offering is essentially a set of capabilities that can be applied to create a final outcome. This is the most “customizable” because you have the greatest freedom to create whatever you want. In option #1 you are creating a variant from a single starting point, which always has limitations; in option #2 you are creating from a set of base capabilities, which provides greater freedom.

    of course, there are benefits to #1: you can get started faster by just using whatever is out of the box. If that’s sufficient, you’re done. In option #2 you need to create something.

    There is a way to combine both options: a platform approach (that provides the greatest flexibility) with some base starting points or “best practice” communities that can get you started quickly.

    Let me illustrate with two examples:

    Outlook is an example of #1 — it is an application that is customizable, but only up to a point. When you first install it you can immediately use it and if that’s what you want you’re done.

    Visual Studio is an example of #2 — you can build anything you want with it, but you do have to build it. There is no “out of the box” application. However, it comes with some pre-packaged templates/frameworks to get you started.

  8. David, I agree some of the results could easily been an additive mixture. As you can tell, we had to interpret qualitative answers, in a very open format, to then try to make sense of the responses.

    Interestingly enough, although this is just an open dialog, (Therefore, I’m placing less weight on this) I’m seeing a pattern as I review my clients’ RFPs.

  9. Excellent research Jeremiah. We had similar findings in our reseach and customer feedback. Version 2.0 of our rSitez platform, released only this month, focused heavily on the top items you mentioned.

    Ease of use – which we define as the Site User experience
    Customer experience – which we define as the Site Admin experience
    Customizability – the ability to turn on/off and customize features as you like
    Reliability – A combination of software, support, and server optimization (the 3 ‘S’)

    Keep up the good work. We do find a lot of value in your blogs and the feedback you receive.

    Rohan Hall
    rSitez is a White Label Social Networking platform

  10. You state:

    “I use my blog, (and other social media tools like Twitter) as a percentage of my research methodology (around 15%)…”

    In short, research is an organized and hopefully systematic way of finding answers to questions. How systematic Twitter is for finding answers considering the problems you outlined above remains to be seen (e.g., bias).

    Maybe the way you go about it is your particular approach but do we have to call this a methodology?

    Most certainly we can agree that this approach does provide you with quick feedback, suggestions and possibly important URLs regarding white papers and research reports, see:


    Nevertheless, there is more to a standardized methodology than one person’s preferences, is there not?

    , it™s not the only contributing factor but is an effective way of me using a real-time, global, inexpensive user group. While I do benefit from the flexibility and speed of this format, it also has it™s risks such as lack of identification, biased sample, or often lack of controls. Forrester encourages me to use these tools, it™s helping, and I™m living the space that I cover Social Computing.

    Social media is only one small sliver

  11. Jeremiah,

    Excellent research topic and I look forward to your report.

    We are building a vertical social network, which requires deep integration of our own addons/plugins/modules with the typical modules like blog, activity feed, friend list, etc. We want build on a white label / open source package and have been reviewing the long list of options you mentioned. The general feedbacks seem to be that it is easy to get started, but it gets trickier the more customization you try to add to it, for example, getting modules to talk to each other. I hope your research would address some of these issues.

    BTW, I think Ringside Network should also be included in your report.

  12. Whatever you do, don’t use http://www.rsitez.com I am a current customer and they will not return my phone calls. I have been waiting 6 weeks. I am hoping that if I comment on every place they are mentioned they might change their policy about customer service.

    Their product is good overall, but once they had my money they were gone.

  13. Emmett did have a negative customer experience with our support services. This was caused because of the incredible increase in demand we have had this year for our products and services. Our business continues to grow non-stop every month this year.

    Customer satisfaction is incredibly important to us and our continued growth. To continue providing excellent support to customers like Emmett in this fast and dynamic environment, in the last 30 days we have: (1) increased our support services staff; (2) increased our software development staff; (3) implemented various communications and customer support technologies; (4) streamlined our customer support process.

    Additionally, I personally called Emmett and spoke with him to verify that his needs are now being met by our company, which he confirmed. He will also be using our architecture to build additional Networks for his organization.

    Rohan Hall
    rSitez is a White Label Social Networking platform

  14. Rohan and rsitez.com is the best out there. I like their stuff but can’t get my ads on the site to become google text ads. I’m still learning and was away for a while. But trust me, Rohan and rsitez.com is really worth looking into.


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