Photo: Associated Press
Salesforce.com is opening its free social-networking service for businesses on Monday, and the company is spending millions on Super Bowl advertisements to spread the word.The service is called Chatter, and it works a lot like Facebook for businesses. Employees will be able to sign up with a company e-mail account and create a profile like they do on Facebook, then can use the space to exchange messages and share files.
Chatter has been available to paying Salesforce customers since July, but in December the company announced it would open it up to any business users at no charge, and that transition kicks in on Monday. Salesforce hopes the free service will convince businesses to its full suite of CRM and other business services.
The concept isn’t new: a lot of start-ups like Yammer and Box.net offer similar features, and big companies like Microsoft (SharePoint) and Google (Docs) have been pushing corporate collaboration for years.
This may explain why Salesforce is trying to build some quick buzz for the service with two Super Bowl ads that were designed with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. The ads will run before and after the Peas’ halftime performance, and will cost at least $3 million.
Investors are apparently happy about the news — Salesforce shares were up almost 3% today, in stark contrast to a terrible day for most other tech stocks.