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Present.ly, An Enterprise Microblog With A Future

Has your company decided on a Enterprise Microblog system for your office? Aside from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, is your firm working with an Intranet system that is customized to allow for communications with fellow employees and superiors at your place of work? Present.ly is just one of those services, and it might be coming to an office near you.

In a recent Top Ten List of Enterprise Microblogs, I omitted Present.ly as a viable contender in my ranking selections. Since several dozen Enterprize Microblogs have entered the social media space within the last year, it was a difficult assessment to make. However, in receiving feedback from readers that favored Present.ly, I decided to take a somewhat deeper dive into analyzing this EM system that I would have ranked  11 or 12  out twenty.



Here is an whimsical overview of the product that definitely shows that Present.ly as a company has a sense of humor...



And here is one that is a little more structured, for all of you corporate types who will obviously be considering this EM for use within your work organizations...



Present.ly allows individuals to post short, frequent updates that are tracked or "followed" by others. Unlike Twitter, Present.ly provides a secure and private means to share updates among members of a company, without them being visible to the outside world. Based on the premise that members of peer groups often encounter problems that have already been solved by another member, Present.ly provides employees the ability to tap into that collective zeitgeist and solve issues efficiently and expeditiously.

Sharing images, documents, video, and audio-clips with your colleagues is a simple task and accessible from several sources. One doesn't have to rely solely on a computer. Present.ly provides multiple interfaces that let you keep in touch on mobile phone, Blackberrys or most any device capable of connecting to the Internet.

While Yammer, another Enterprise Microblog (that made my TOP TEN list) is another option, Present.ly has added a few additional bells and whistles that may be attractive to your company. Present.ly doesn’t require all users to have the same email domain, which is lacking with Yammer.

According to TechCrunch, Present.ly allows companies to deploy their service on existing IT infrastructure if the organization is concerned with security. That noted however, "it’s not available in all versions of Present.ly, which could prove troublesome for the company if its users are only looking for a free solution. And unfortunately, that free solution isn’t too useful for major companies."

The biggest wins with Present.ly are at the platform level. Unlike Yammer, you can get Present.ly either as a hosted service, or, if you want, you can install in your company's server. And it supports the Twitter API, so tools that work with Twitter, like Twhirl and Tweetdeck should be easily modifiable to work with Present.ly.

If 'who reports to whom' within your organization is important to you, there's one important feature missing from Present.ly. It has a company directory that simply lists employees; whereas Yammer goes one step further with an organizational chart of who reports to whom.

On the cost side, Present.ly is free for up to five users. In order to increase the number of users to 15, companies are billed $14 per month and 100 users will cost $99. Additional users on the basic plan will cost $1 per user per month if companies don’t need to jump to a premium level.

In contrast, Socialtext (one of the leading TOP TEN EMs, according to the Poll results in my previous blog) has taken a different approach. Based on an interview I conducted with Ross Mayfield, co-founder and chairman on July 14, he indicated that "the Socialtext Ross MayfieldRoss MayfieldMicroblogging Appliance was available for rapid secure intranet deployment ...behind a company's firewall, at a low cost of $1 per user per month + $1,000 per month server subscription!" This affordable pricing enables businesses to right-size the application to an optimal number of users, with confidence that the company's population can grow without having uncontrollable and escalating costs over time. 

In doing the initial research for my Top TEN Enterprise Microblog list, I realized that this field is growing exponentially. I appreciated the feedback from readers that displayed their passion for Present.ly and their suggestion it should have been made the TOP TEN list. But for one to make informed decisions, I think comparison shopping is important. If Present.ly or one of the other EM systems is not appearing regularly in the current NEWS section of Google or tweets are lacking on Twitter's Search API, I would question whether or not the system's updates and enhancements are being kept current. Or whether their PR departments are not doing their jobs.

Presently (pun intended), Present.ly is not showing up in any Google News search, where SocialText and Yammer are and when checking Twitter search just prior to this posting, the last tweet regarding Present.ly was 14 hours ago (which in Twitter time... is days ago).

For the consumer, with all the new competition entering the market, it should mean bigger and better mousetraps, as these EM systems race to out-microblog each other.

If this blog has made you a Present.ly fan, or if you are currently a user, please vote below and provide me with some additional feedback in the comment section. If this blog has stimulated your interest in Enterprise Microblogging in general and you would like to shop around, please take a look at my previous blog to ascertain the additional distinctions between some of the top systems on the market.

Happy microbloggin' !

Comments
Jul 14, 2009
by Anonymous

do your own homework

Your pricing information is wrong for Present.ly - it's $1/user/month. Did you take a look at their site or just repurpose the old techcrunch article?

Their pricing model is actually better than socialtext which you so gushingly quote. There is no minimum per server fee with Present.ly. It's $1/user/month and you can run it on as many servers as you like within your organization, behind the firewall.

I find it absurd to believe that people prefer some of the others on your top ten list over present.ly. We've been using it for quite some time and have evaluated other tools. Present.ly is simply the best option available and it's priced better than the competition. Rypple? Obayoo? Are you kidding me?

Your list is better suited for the garbage.

Jul 14, 2009
by Anonymous

Great article

I think this article digs into great deep info about this tool - most of the stuff a regular enterprise 2.0 reader would not know. Very informative.

p.s. about the publicity thing, my company is in the same boat as Present.ly. And I can tell you, Present.ly is probably not on google or twitter, because they probably do not have milions of dollars cash that others might have to play with. Check their background, and see if there is any rich uncle or generous VC involved. Yet, I do believe in marketing and power of social media for advertisement - however, when you're organic, there is so much time and money for certain things. Imagine how much they can/will do when they get funding (assuming they don't have it).

Jul 16, 2009
by Anonymous

Thanks for the writeup

Ron, thank you for writing about present.ly. Despite the harsh criticism we do appreciate the mention. The first commenter is correct, however, in pointing out that our pricing model is different than what you mentioned.

Regarding to the second commenter, we're in the "unfunded" category and have stayed that way intentionally. We've grown organically and are very proud of the fact that we can deliver such great products with a strong following without the millions of dollars at our disposal.

There are a lot of competitors and we're confident that those who look deeper will find our product better suited for their needs. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in Present.ly - dave@intridea.com.