Why Six Apart’s Community Platform will matter to brands

I’m scheduled to meet with the Six Apart team in the near future, I wasn’t able to make it this week as I’m in Barcelona, I did take a look at their recent announcement, here’s my take:

Six Apart has announced they are launching a community platform for brands to use. A company already focused on openness, social graph, opensocial, and OpenID, I’ll expect that brands will have full access to their data, and users will also have control over their information.

Although the press release doesn’t say, I suspect it will be a platform that a customer can rebrand to ‘fit’ on a corporate website. I also want to know if there are ‘widgetized’ components that can embed on a static/irrelevant website. It’s my prediction that websites (corporate ones at that) will become social, with community components being a big part of the experience. Here’s primers on Social Graph and Open Social if you need to get up to speed.

Despite this being a very, very crowded market (see my master list of over 80 companies) Six Apart has three things going for them: 1) Brand recognition: companies that have already deployed a social media program have already looked or used their blogging tools. 2) Experience. With Vox, a form of a more secure social network site previously launched, the hopes are the company has worked out any bugs to extend this tool to brands. 3) Movable Type: Reading between the lines, I suspect this is an ‘upsell’ opportunity for existing MT users, which is a good move for them as they already have a strong footprint with existing customers.

Rafe at webware, who has positioned this story as a solution for forums (I see it as much more than that), suggests that the $10k price tag is steep (not sure if a one time or monthly fee, but I suspect a one time fee as this appears to be a licensed sale). As an analyst, clients are sending me proposals from vendors and I see monthly price tags for these community-in-box solutions comparable or even more per month. Big brands don’t want to deal with infrastructure problems and are willing to pay up that price tag, also Marketers may not want to deal with a confused or slow IT department. Lastly, brands have more important things to worry about, like building a strategy.

I used to be an implementor, and in 2005, I launched a corporate blogging program at a brand you know, we started with Typepad, as it was easy, aimed for corporate, and I could avoid dealing with a long, over-calculated IT department. For these same reasons, white label social networking and community platforms will experience similar adoption patterns in corporations.

Oh, and thank you Jane for writing a press release void of hyperbole, it’s refreshing, and respectful of our time.

  • bea

    nice pump for a potential client!

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    bea

    Wadda ya mean bud?

    I gave my honest opinion, I don’t need 6A as a client, that’s not why I wrote it, go back and read my other posts, I call it like I see it, and back it up with fact and reason.

    And for whatever its worth, I’m not quite sure 6A fits our client profile anyways.

    So let’s ease up on the conspiracy theories k?

    Elvis is not an alien, no matter what the examiner says

    ;)

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    I’ve JUST learned that Six Apart is actually a client, I didn’t know this when I wrote the post, and even if I did, it doesn’t impact my opinions.

    It’s really hard to disclose all the clients we have, as there are so many.

    I stand by that i’m being unbiased in my blog.

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    do you know any information about this subject in other languages?

  • http://www.anildash.com/ Anil Dash

    Movable Type (and the Community Solution) is available in many languages from us at Six Apart, including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and German. We offer the application, documentation, and support in those languages natively. But there are a great number of community-contributed translations as well, which make the interface available in a number of additional languages.

    Of course, users can post content in any language, and community members on MT-powered sites can comment and respond in any language, regardless of what language the user interface is displayed in.

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