Inventory Check: Social Media Software Industry

Checking the Pulse
As someone who deals with corporations deploying social media to connect with customers, I’ve been watching and taking note of all the inventory out there, as sometimes I’m asked to suggest some software to clients. There’s a tremendous amount of options available to any company that wants to expand their web strategy to create collaborative and two-way websites. There’s some VCs out there that think there’s too many players and not enough innovation.

Web Software Taxonomy

I’ve taken tally of one niche of Web Software (Order) Social Software (Family), they are broken into groups (Genus), if you click on any of those links, you’ll see the specific company (Species).

Inventory of Social Media Software Industry:

Over 60 different types of wiki software available, you can even compare features.

White Label (you can rebrand) Social Networking Software

I have a list of over 40 companies, it started with 8, and it continues to grow.

Blogging Software

29 flavors of software available.

Video Platforms

There are over 20 Online Video platforms. See my rant yesterday.

Podcast Directories

Over 140 directories listed.

Internet Forum Software packages

Over 50 software packages are available.

Instant Messaging
Nearly 20 different clients (many don’t work together) available.

Social Bookmarking
Over 25 services listed.

Online Data Storage

I’ve started a list of enterprise vendors, there’s also hundreds of startups that offer online data storage as a primary or secondary feature.

Online Office

There’s half a dozen or more online office suites, 9 online spreadsheet companies, 9 Online Word processors, and at least 8 Online Presentation tools.

Online Photo Sharing
Over 100 services available (use the engine, and select show me all).

I remember the first internet boom
I was part of the first internet boom. I was at Exodus Communications (I still remember, and document it) which hosted many web startups in our data centers. Some of our clients were, and some other startups with ridiculous names (at the time) like “Google” and “Yahoo”. I remember an excess of startups entering the market, and then the shakeout occurred in 2000-2003, only the strong and unique survived. I suspect we’re getting close to that point where the shakeout will start to occur, hopefully, it won’t be another catastrophic event like Sept 2001.

Based upon this inventory, and my experience in the first boom, there are two stances I could logically take:

1) Software is differentiating and developing niche features for different groups and needs


2) There a excess of social software available.

I’m leaning towards the latter, how about you?

  • I lean toward #2 as well. Just way too many products to keep track of, even though some of the more recent services are being created to fill a niche. Thanks for your inventory. It’s a great resource.

  • A great library of apps Jeremiah. Now we need a company to come in and teach everyone how to use all of these tools. Perhaps one big mashup is in order?

  • Oh mashups, I didn’t even want to list those.

  • It’s definitely the latter, partly because collaboration is still a concept foreign to some (many?). In other ways, it’s because plans are developed without knowing the landscape of what’s already available.

    In the midwest, I know of four (small) webdev companies trying to create their own blogging software. I’ve asked what they hope to gain by creating a new tool that hasn’t gone through the trials of others available. They want to ‘own’ it — and I don’t think they are even aware of the similarities between 1.0 & 2.0.

  • Mike

    I really hope you show them this list. Unless they’re doing something very unique, they’re wasting their time and money.

  • I used to map all of the datacenters around the world, the fiber going in and the tenants to come up with utilization patterns that used by clients for strategic planning. Clients used to go bananas over the data, extremely useful to companies running fiber.

    There is an excess of me-too social software. Same people making same mistakes all over again. The lack of historical vision in the internet world continues to stagger. The problem is that with startup costs so low, once these services are running, they can continue on at a low burn rate. See online dating as an example. 1,000+ sites, 25 major players, the rest existing in a tenuous balance between new subscribers, marketing dollars, PageRank and making enough to keep the lghts on.

  • I’m leaning towards number 2 but the proof will be in the profit and loss statements of these companies. You can’t lose money forever.

    One thing that I like about the environment though is the fact that because there is so much competition, it keeps everyone on their toes.

    The ones that do survive the shake-out will be (in general) the cream of the crop.

  • Definitely #2. Generally speaking, a ton of companies start with similar themes & only a few will stand at the end of a few year period (remember all the auction sites that started after the success of eBay?).

  • I think there will both be a consolidation ad weeding out of some of the more mature tools AND a plethora of completely new tools, like Twitter, that move the ball forward into new territory.

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