SocialText goes free for up to 50 users

Last weekend Ross Mayfield, president of SocialText called up to discuss the release of SocialText Free50, an offering which allows up to 50 users free access to many of SocialText's functions.

Last weekend Ross Mayfield, president of SocialText called up to discuss the release of SocialText Free50, an offering which allows up to 50 users free access to many of SocialText's functions. Included in the offer:

  • SocialSignals - SocialText's spin on microblogging
  • SocialText Desktop - an Adobe based application
  • SocialText People - social newtworking
  • Dashboard - customer homepage
  • One Workspace - wiki area

SocialCalc, which is now in open beta is not included, neither is support other than the basic online knowledge base.

Once the user count exceeds 50 people then it triggers a cost of $6 per user month for all users. In other words if you have 51 users then it weighs in at $306 per month. Appliance users pay the same amount plus $1,000 per month. The full pricing schedule can be found here.

Free50 allows IT to 'claim' control of the system: "We wanted to give IT the option of pro-actively managing SocialText environments - we think that will help get over some of the IT adoption problems that social software can experience," said Mayfield.

On the call I expressed surprise that SocialText was giving away so many seats. While 'free' is always welcome, SocialText will not be able to monetize many SMBs, especially in Europe where there are millions of companies below the 50 person threshold. However, Mayfield countered that: "We've wanted to do this for a while - we're trying to drive down our marketing costs and hoping the offering will go viral."

SocialCalc has also been improved (see image) with a simpler history and the ability to share data across multiple worksheets. "This will put an end to massive spreasdsheets being emailed around the enterprise," said Mayfield. However, I believe that in its current iteration, SocialCalc will not see full deployment but may be reserved for simple activities like feature list spreadsheets. As I pointed out on the call, finance people won't touch an alternative to Excel unless pivot tables are included. That's the number one feature for these people who also control which spreadsheet gets used.

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