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Top Ten Enterprise Microblog Sites

Are Twitter and Facebook lacking because they don't offer a complement of collaborative tools including threaded replies, RSS feeds, photo and file sharing? Have other microblogging platforms found a chink in their armor? Is 'enterprise microblogging' the next step in the evolutionary process of social networking? Yes, it appears that several new collaboration suites have emerged to fill this void...and in advance of Google Wave's scheduled debut in the Fall.

Yammer, Socialcast, Rypple, Obayoo, Cubetree, Socialtext, CentralDesktop, Laconi.ca, Joint Contact and HeadMix are my Top Ten picks, as they are all jockeying for position to become the dominant player in the enterprise microblogging space. All offer services that allows companies to collaborate and share information and communications within their organizations. Their individual distinctive differences is what will give them their competitive edge.

1. Yammer

Yammer promotes itself as "a tool for allowing companies and organizations to become more productive through the exchange of short frequent messages. But instead of replying to the standard Twitter question "what are you doing?", you will now be 'yammering about "What are you working on?'"

As employees answer that question, a feed is created in one central location enabling co-workers to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links and other information. Yammer also serves as a company directory in which every employee has a profile and are allowed to access a knowledge-base where past conversations are stored.



Anyone in a company can start their Yammer network and begin inviting colleagues. The privacy of each network is ensured by limiting access to only those with a valid company email address. Information is never shared with third parties. Jonathan Pollinger, new media manager for Vertex, a leading business outsourcer based in Gloucester, UK is utilizing Yammer for his team and over 150 employees have already joined the network. The COO has been also been enlisted and the Board and Executive team will follow soon.

The basic Yammer service is free, but companies can pay to claim and administer their networks. Founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, eGroups, eBay, and Tribe, Yammer is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.

2. Socialcast

"When you escape your inbox and let collaboration thrive," you have apparently become a 'socialcaster!' Socialcast’s software combines social bookmarking features, Twitter-like microblogging and FriendFeed-like streaming into one platform. Its main focus is to provide a range of collaborative features for its employees and assists business leaders in interacting with their respective teams.

According to Socialcast's promo pitch, "the ‘micro-blogging’ feature integrated with Socialcast, replaces the cluttered email in-boxes for distributing information within an organization." Professionals can become synchronized with their colleagues to collaborate productively on any number of projects. Their suite of tools help in building great synergies inter- and intra-departmentally, as professionals can address critical issues by holding interactive discussions.

According to an analysis by A.J. Vickery from the getconnected TV Show, he sees Socialcast as having more similarities to Facebook than Twitter.



The software, which used to be $1 per user per month, will now be free for an unlimited number of users, but businesses can choose to add paid features if they like. This includes the ability to see analytics and mine data from a group’s network and viewing tag clouds where employees can view the topics most and least often talked about.

Another premium feature is a consultancy service that shows how to help employees adopt and deploy the technology. For a extra fee, users can also choose to put Socialcast behind a firewall for extra protection.

3. Rypple

Rypple is a web-based service similar to Twitter where its platform enables a spontaneous and  tangible ecosystem to develop online. It also provides 'collaborative' functionality and it announced recently that it will be adding face-to-face meetings and collaborative editing to its agenda.



Differing from the other enterprise systems, Rypple lets users ask fellow employees in their networks to measure their performance against a scale, so they can track how they are doing over time. It also lets peers and bosses see what “tags”, or overarching themes are being used most often in questions. If, say, 'production' is key to a firm’s success but there are only a few requests for feedback on employees’ output, then superiors will know they have not done enough to communicate this priority.

Daniel Debow, one of Rypple’s co-founders, says the system “reverses the onus on the demand for more feedback” by prompting employees to build and manage their own coaching networks.

4. obayoo

Launched in June, obayoo is the latest enterprise microblogging site to enter this space. Like Yammer, signing up with obayoo is facilitated only through company email accounts, though once you're in your network you can invite contractors and clients with non-company email addresses. Differing from Yammer's "What are you working on?", it simply entreats you to share something with your colleagues.



Obayoo adds the sort of features that have been assumed, though not necessarily proven to be useful in an enterprise system; ie. file and image sharing, metrics on links, full user profiles and an organizational chart. Interestingly, it also draws in some of the power of a tool like Rypple, allowing you to ask a question and receive answers outside of the microblogging stream.

Since it's currently free with no ostensible limit, it may be more attractive than Socialcast or other services that charge. It's also much more fully-featured than Yammer or some of the more simplistic services.

5. Cubetree

CubeTree differs slightly from the pack by offering the collaboration tools of wikis and polls. Claiming that although companies recognize the link between collaboration technology and employee productivity, Carlin Wiegner, chief executive officer and co-founder of CubeTree, believes that "what's keeping employees from connecting effectively is the current condition of most companies' intranets."



"To reap the full benefits from any collaboration technology, everyone in an organization must have access,” said Wiegner, “We believe the social networking technology that originated in the consumer space can revolutionize enterprise collaboration. CubeTree is the first product in our space that offers everyone in an organization access to all features including wikis, user profiles and micro-blogging for free."

Similar to Socialcast, the premium bells and whistles (custom branding, custom security policy and user synchronization) come with a small monthly fee, but you can try out the basic version of the solution for free.

6. Socialtext

With a slightly different collaborative approach, Socialtext recently announced the availability of Socialtext Free 50, a new free offering aimed at mainstream use for up to 50 people within an organization. Employees can join or create self-contained collaborative networks by using their work email addresses at Socialtext.com.



Socialtext Free 50 provides personalized dashboards, weblog publishing and a wiki workspace. Built on Adobe AIR technology, the dynamic desktop application includes "drag-n-drop" file sharing across the enterprise. The service is governed by IT friendly policies and offers the ability to seamlessly upgrade when a team requires more functional features.

Similar to what's anticipated with the roll-out of Google's Wave, Socialtext is offering SocialCalc, the first social spreadsheet program that reduces errors and increases productivity for teams working simultaneously on the same projects.

7. CentralDesktop

Inside CentralDesktop's platform, which is suited for both public and private communities, microblogging appears as simplistic updates that lack some of the features of Twitter or the more sophisticated enterprise alternatives like Socialcast. However a feature offered here that is lacking elsewhere is its ability to update Twitter and Facebook without leaving the site. 



Central Desktop is a web-based groupware product which currently had 30,000+ worldwide users (as of April, 2009) that offers "a turnkey Intranet" for its enterprise subscribers. Key features include easy setup (without coding or "wikifying"), a company directory, a calendar and password protection for documents. Its promotional hype makes the point that their product can be used to house "dynamic content such as company announcements, workspace activities, RSS Feeds, popular bookmarks and favorite links that 'bubble up' from the various work-spaces - creating a real-time, 'always fresh' company Intranet."

8. Laconi.ca

Laconi.ca is a free Open Source microblogging platform. It assists people in a community, company or group to exchange the typical (140 character) messages over the Web. Users can choose which people to "follow" and receive only their friends' or colleagues' status messages. In addition to Twitter it provides a similar service to sites like Jaiku, and Plurk.

Differing from the other enterprise systems, the Laconi.ca platform requires a download.



However, if you want to give the site a test-run without the download you can view Identi.ca, the largest microblogging service based on Laconica.


The major difference between Laconi.ca and the others lies in the fact that its not limited to one site like Twitter. Identi.ca runs on laconi.ca as does the TWiT Army and Open Microblogger. The beauty lies in the ability to subscribe to users on other laconi.ca based sites. For example a user at TWIT Army can subscribe to a feed at identi.ca, and vice versa.

9. JointContact

This collaboration suite was one of the first company to integrate Twitter. According to its web site promotional blurb, it "applies a fresh approach to project collaboration. With minimal setup you can start using it in minutes. The perfect resource for small and large groups alike, use JointContact to manage tasks, documents, images, contact lists, online discussions and team announcements."



Sending project related messages through Twitter is a significant addition to communicating solely by e-mail. "Now that JointContact works with Twitter, users will have more communication options to choose from," said founder Wayne Bishop. Twitter messages can be accessed from cell phones, PDA's, and computers, which makes it even easier to keep team members in the loop.

JointContact enables project teams to track and manage the entire communication and information flow associated with a project. Users can link ongoing discussions to content, such as documents, images, spread sheets, presentations, contacts, and tasks.

10. HeadMix

HeadMix is a slightly different take on the concept of social business software and microblogging in particular. Used by large firms such as Best Buy, HeadMix specializes in messaging in between employees using their existing communication flows such as Outlook.

Designed for the demands of both business and the daily workforce, HeadMix's Social Business Software connects employees to information, experts, and expertise throughout an enterprise. Headmix talks to the needs of a company that sees the value in a platform that can answer questions quickly; surface and share best practices; develop new ideas; while weaving in key conversations throughout the workday.


 
Their Twitter profile describes this software business model as "helping enterprises reset their communications model to flatten their hierarchy so employees can take faster smarter action in the workplace."

If you have never used Facebook or Twitter, then you may not see the need to utilize a social-networking-like tool in your company or organization. But with Google soon to roll-out Google Wave, it appears to me that 'enterprise' platforms are becoming mainstream and a requirement by companies that are looking to not only gain a competitive edge but also address the next generation of employees in the workplace that have already gravitated to these types of platforms as result of their familiarity with Facebook and Twitter.

If knowledge is power, as Francis Bacon once said, this may well mean the new knowledge that is generated from these systems will change organizations and the way we work. Sharing knowledge will encourage a new form of information exchange. Organizations should be prepared to think through their options and decide if, when, and how 'enterprise microblogging' can be best utilized within their company's organization.

While Twitter and Facebook were the basic first steps, 'enterprise microblogging' is the next logical phase in the evolutionary process to collaborate in the workplace. 

If you are familiar with any of the TOP TEN listed here, please take the POLL below and let us know the one you foresee becoming the dominant player. If you are still learning about them, please stop back and vote when you have had a chance to kick their tires and have given them a test run. Or if you know of one that I have overlooked, please leave us a comment with the company's name and URL.

Comments
Jul 1, 2009
by Anonymous

Present.ly

I am not sure why this list does not include Present.ly.

Jul 1, 2009
by Anonymous

Other tools

I guess other people mentioned it already, but kind of weird that the list does not include Present.ly

Jul 2, 2009
by Anonymous

Missing ShoutEm?

I must admit that I would expect to see Shout'Em here (www.shoutem.com) as a hosted alternative to Laconi.ca.

Jul 2, 2009
by Anonymous

lack of research

I understand that there will always be some name missing from a list like this, but missing MAJOR players of enteprise 2.0 is just lack of research.

Jul 2, 2009
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Preference vs. Lack of Research

This is a Top Ten list based on my preferences. Omitting Shout'Em and Present.ly may be preferred by others. To presume this was due to lack of research is incorrect. If this was a Top 20 list, there would have been an opportunity to include these two plus several others (my research surfaced over 25 in existence today). The poll at the end of my blog presently indicates 20% feel there are EMs missing from my list, which signifies the majority are in agreement with my choices for this top ten selection.

I purposely asked for feedback at the end of my blog to surface other enterprise system options, so we can all benefit from the additional input of others. Thanks for the spirited dialogue.

Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist. His slighlty off-center published work includes trends, social media, politics, travel, humor and political articles.

Follow Ron on the InventorSpot and Twitter.com/roncallari

Jul 2, 2009
by Anonymous

Follow up to " Lack of Research"

I understand that this list is based on "your preferences" but at the same time, you cannot disregard facts. You cannot have a list of "top 10" in the field of enterprise 2.0 microblogging platforms, and omit any of the major players such as Yammer, Present.ly or Socialtext. If you have followed the growth and advancement of Enterprise 2.0 microblog sites since the very beginning, you already know that these are the guys who initiated innovation and collaboration in Enterprise 2.0. Your list is no different than having a list of top 10 search engines, and not including google, bing, yahoo, aol or altavista...

just to be clear, I do not work for any of these companies. I am just a huge believer in social media in the workplace.

I am sorry to say but whether it is based on your preferences or not, I think your list is incomplete (not referring to your poll - more interested in your writeup). But of course, needless to say, it is a free country and you are a freelance journalist, so you're free to write whatever you want.

Jul 16, 2009
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Yammer, Socialtext & Present.ly

Yammer (no 1)  and Socialtext (no 6) are both listed on this TOP TEN list? 

Based on the feedback from this blog,  I conducted some additional research on Present.ly. It can be found in a separate blog here.

 

Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist. His slighlty off-center published work includes trends, social media, politics, travel, humor and political articles.

Follow Ron on the InventorSpot and Twitter.com/roncallari

Jul 2, 2009
by Anonymous

Enterprise 2.0 Conference

Hi Ron, I guess you missed the twitter-like tools for the enterprise panel at the Enterprise 2.0 conference.

Jul 4, 2009
by Anonymous

Deeper dive on some of these tools?

Hi Ron,

Great list, helps a lot of us evaluate the different platforms out there. I can't seem to find screenshots or demos of Head Mix and Laconica. Do you know where to find those?

Thank you!

Jul 5, 2009
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Deeper Dive

Clicking on any of the screenshots in this blog will take you to the web sites for demos.

Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist. His slighlty off-center published work includes trends, social media, politics, travel, humor and political articles.

Follow Ron on the InventorSpot and Twitter.com/roncallari

Jul 6, 2009
by Anonymous

this list is terrible

Sad that you would mention some like cubetree, headmix, jointcontact, Rypple, and obayoo and not mention present.ly. I also don't work for any of these companies, but if you followed this space at all you would know that the 3 dominant players are Present.ly, Yammer, and SocialCast. Omitting them suggests to me that you have very little insight into this space and shouldn't portraying yourself as an expert or a journalist for that matter

Jul 9, 2009
by Anonymous

I'm not understanding why

I'm not understanding why everyone in this blog is cutting down the author. As he mentioned this is his preference that he wants to share with the public. Keep up the great work Ron.

Jul 14, 2009
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Yammer and SocialCast

Yammer and SocialCast are both listed in my TOP TEN. Difficult to understand how my research is lacking while two out of three that were mentioned by Anonymous on July 6th are listed here?  If you are going to critique, please read the entire article. If I am being judged based on lack of thoroughness, please apply the same standard to yourself.  As mentioned previously, this list represents my preferences, and over 85% of the voters agree with the 10 EMs that make up this list. Thank you for your input.

Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist. His slighlty off-center published work includes trends, social media, politics, travel, humor and political articles.

Follow Ron on the InventorSpot and Twitter.com/roncallari

Jul 14, 2009
by Anonymous

I tend to agree with anonymous

I can see why people don't agree with you, Ron. Saying that 85% agree when the poll has all your top ten then one or two other "no vote" options is a little skewed.

Some of the names mentioned on your list certainly deserve to be listed. A bulk of your list though I would definitely throw out, they have a long way to go to catch up with the front runners, and I would include Present.ly in those. We're using one of these microblogging apps at my company and in doing the research to choose one, the best and most well known options seemed to be Present.ly, Yammer, and SocailCast.

Jul 16, 2009
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

74% of Poll

This blog received over 5000 reads. Those 5000+ had an option (if they felt strongly) to take the POLL and choose, "none of the above," "one not mentioned"  or "other."  26% chose to do that, and only a handful felt strongly enough to leave a comment here, and actually name a system not mentioned in my TOP TEN.  Which I appreciate greatly.  However, if you base interest on a handful of readers and a minority percentage in the poll, your supposition doesn't  hold a lot of merit.

However, I did conduct some additional research on Present.ly and posted it to another blog to give that enterprise system the benefit of the doubt, because I think you are right to some extent.  It is definitely in the running as a top Enterprise Microblog system. Is it a Top Ten? Still not convinced.  Number one, my  Present.ly blog has only garnered interest from a few hundred readers, but secondly, and more importantly, one would be hard pressed to find a lot written about  Present.ly in any real-time search, including Twitter and Google News search, while Yammer, Socialtext and some of the others on this list appear quite often.

Once again, thanks for the spirited dialogue and I encourage others to voice your opinion, and keep the conversation going. For the few that have taken the time to agree or disagree, it means that the subject matter is of concern to people. The more input we receive, the more we can share and learn from one another.

Jul 22, 2009
by Anonymous

Central Desktop Deceptive Affiliate Marketing Program

Central Desktop & Commission Junction Deceptive and Misleading Affiliate Marketing Program.

Commission Junction (“CJ”) is an Online Advertising medium that links advertisers with Publishers (affiliate marketers). An Affiliate Marketer publishes links to CJ advertisers’ programs on their websites and based on the offerings of the CJ advertiser a publisher’s website visitor clicks on a banner link which is directed to the advertisers’ website. The website visitor follows the instructions, signs up or makes a purchase. The Publisher (Affiliate Marketer) is then paid a commission for the lead and/or the sale (if a purchase is made.)

Below are some exact excerpts from the accepted agreements for the aforementioned companies:
Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement [Excerpts]

This Publisher Service Agreement (”Agreement”) is made by and agreed to between Commission Junction, Inc., a Delaware corporation, located at 530 East Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA (”CJ”), and you (”You”). As an application service provider, CJ facilitates “Performance Marketing Programs” by providing services (”Network Service”) via the Internet. A “Performance Marketing Program” (”Program”) is where a person, entity, affiliate or its agent, operating “Web site(s)” (internet domain, or a portion of a domain) and/or other promotional methods to drive traffic to another’s Web site or Web site content (”Publisher”) may earn financial compensation (”Payouts”) for “Transactions” (actions by Visitors as defined by the Advertiser) referred by such Publisher via an action made by a “Visitor” (any person or entity that is not the Publisher or the Publisher’s agent) through an Internet connection (”Link”) to a Web site or Web site content operated by another person or entity (”Advertiser”) from an Advertiser authorized promotional method used by such Publisher. The Advertiser compensates the Publisher, in accordance with this Agreement and the Program Payout specifications.

1. Participation in Programs.

(a) Acceptance by Advertiser. During this Agreement You may apply to Advertiser Programs for the opportunity to earn Payouts by promoting Advertisers in accordance with the Advertiser’s Program terms and complying with this Agreement. Upon approval by the Advertiser for acceptance into its Program, You may display (and remove) Links to Advertiser’s Web site or Web site content in accordance with the Advertiser’s Program terms and this Agreement. An Advertiser’s acceptance of You extends only to the entity, or individual, that enters into this Agreement with CJ.

(b) Program Terms. The details of an Advertiser’s Program shall be available through the Network Service. Transactions qualifying for a Payout are defined by the Advertiser. Advertisers may change any Payout rate upon no less than 7 days written notice through the Network Service with effect from the 8th day (or such later date as specified by Advertiser).
Central Desktop Affiliate Marketing program terms.

Description: Refer your web site visitors, friends and clients to sign-up with Central Desktop - the collaboration solution voted “Best of the Web” by Business Week.
$10 per Lead (no-risk, free 30-day trial) PLUS
$15 to $75 per Sale (lead-to-sale conversion rate, CR, driven pay)

What is Central Desktop?
Central Desktop delivers the best Web based collaboration solution by enabling users to create online workspaces, to share files and documents, manage task lists and engage in group discussions. A feature that yields quick adoption is its ability to tie email and project management together. This eliminates a ton of headaches for team projects and it’s also a more affordable intranet alternative for small businesses.

A couple of rules:
* No incentivised traffic without express written approval from Central Desktop. Contact cja@centraldesktop.com.
* Only promote Central Desktop to English speaking audiences since other languages are not yet supported.

Program Term: $10 p/ Lead + $15 to $75 p/ Sale
1. Action: 30 Day Free Trial
ActionCriteria The customer must complet a signup for a 30 Day Free Trial.
Action Referral Period 90 day(s)
Action Referral Occurrences Unlimited
Commission $10.00 USD
Locking Period - Standard Actions lock on the 10th of the month, unless extended.

2. Action: Paid Membership
ActionCriteria The customer must complete membership purchase on our website.
Action Referral Period 90 day(s)
Action Referral Occurrences Unlimited
Commission $15.00 USD
Locking Period - Standard Actions lock on the 10th of the month, unless extended.

All advertisers with CJ publish the criterion about their affiliate marketing program terms and offerings and each publisher needs to understand and follow these criteria when applying to become an affiliate marketer with any advertisers.
Consequently, based on the information I had gathered on CJ and their advertisers programs, I joined their network as a Publisher. I am a businesswoman and Grandmother with many years experience in business consulting, investment, employee recruitment, marketing and other areas.
Central Desktop (CD) is an advertiser on the CJ Network.
Clearly, an individual with my proficiency and experience would certainly understand the criteria as outlined by the advertisers and within the CJ Publisher Service Agreement.
It is quite alarming, however, that by following the rules my account was blocked and subsequently deactivated. I received the following notices from CJ via email:

Message #1
Date Sent: Monday, July Time Sent: 10:57 p.m. EST
Date accessed: Time Accessed

Email Message:

Commission Junction is currently investigating your account and has the following inquiries regarding your promotional methods:
Please explain in details how do you promote advertisers in our network and how do you drive traffic to your site. Do you offer any incentive to your costumers?
Please respond by replying to this specific e-mail within 48h of the mailing date.
Failure to respond shall be deemed an admission of liability and acceptance of this letter as 15 days notice of termination, and may result in Commission Junction exercising its right to terminate the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement 15 days from the date of this written notice or sooner.
Please note that current or pending payout(s) may be placed on hold pending notification from you and Commission Junction’s confirmation of your full compliance.
If you have questions regarding this notice, please reply to this email using the provided reply-to address and leave the subject line intact.
Network Compliance

Message #2
Date Sent: Monday, July Time Sent: 10:59 p.m. EST
Date accessed: Time Accessed

Email Message:

Your affiliation with Central Desktop has been terminated due to your violation of the advertiser’s program terms and/or violation of the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement with respect to your promotion of that advertiser. Specifically, it has been determined that you are sending fraudulent leads to this advertiser. As a result, the advertiser has been notified and the advertiser may, in its sole discretion, reverse all relevant transactions.

Should Commission Junction discover the same or similar violations with other advertisers, your account is subject to deactivation. Promotional activities that are in violation of the Publisher Service Agreement or an advertiser program terms must cease immediately. Furthermore, current or pending payout(s) may be placed on hold pending your notification to Commission Junction and our confirmation of your full compliance.
If you have questions regarding this notice, please reply to this email using the provided reply-to address and leave the subject line intact.
Network Compliance

Message #3
Date Sent: Monday, July Time Sent: 11:04 p.m. EST
Date accessed: Time Accessed

Email Message:

This letter shall serve as notice that your publisher account has been terminated and removed from the Commission Junction Network and transactions may be reversed (”charged-back”). This termination and removal is the result of non-bona fide transactions performed on your account in violation of the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement you agreed to follow. Non-bona fide transactions include, but are not limited to, false, self inflated, and/or duplicate leads or transactions.
You are not eligible to rejoin the Commission Junction Network and any attempt to do so shall be null and void.
If you have questions regarding this notice, please reply to this email using the provided reply-to address and leave the subject line intact.
Network Compliance

Based on the time lines between the emails, Commission Junction allowed me [the Publisher] no time to respond to their allegations and requests. The messages were sent out only minutes apart.

Given that Central Desktop appeared to be the advertiser whose terms “I violated,” they were contacted directly and the program manager responded with the following message:

Central Desktop: Email #1

Please know that we take our CJ program very seriously and we are more than happy to pay out on any and all transactions that fall within our CJ program terms.
We contacted CJ regarding your involvement in our program because your site requires job applicants to sign-up for a trial in order to be considered for a job position. This is incentivized traffic which is clearly excluded from our program terms.

This claim is utterly false. My website unequivocally, does not require any visitor to sign up for a Central Desktop free trial to get a job. However our site did promote their workspace as a very useful web meeting tool.

Central Desktop: Email #2 (Excerpt)

Central Desktop does NOT pay any commissions in any affiliate program for the referral of employees. Employees, if required to use Central Desktop for their position, should be invited as internal members of a workspace …

Central Desktop is being deceptive and misleading. This is not mentioned in the Central Desktop program terms and criterion does not indicate who cannot sign up. It clearly states website visitors - which is a very general term – but does not exclude an employee, relative etc. A website visitor is anyone who visits a website. It appears that they make-up the rules – as they see fit – during the game.

I referred and promoted Central Desktop to all my website visitors which included friends, clients, acquaintances, etc. At least eight hundred (800) visitors to my site signed up with Central Desktop’s workspace sharing tool. Most of them appeared to have opted for the 30-day free trial promotion. However, a couple of clients said that a credit card was required for signup and they would return to complete the signup at a later date. The majority of persons will not give their personal credit card information for anything that is supposed to be free. Thus they halt the registration process by closing out the page and exiting the Central Desktop web site.

These persons were later sent emails from Central Desktop with a link to sign up without a credit card. Therefore, Central Desktop had already captured their information in their database as a LEAD.

How are these leads fraudulent when Central Desktop offers them the opportunity to sign up for the free trial without a credit card? It appears that they had captured the persons’ basic information even after the persons postponed the sign up.

NOTE: If you go direct to Central Desktop’s site from a browser by typing their address and without clicking on a banner link from an affiliate publishers’ website you are directed to a web page with that does not have the figure #1 image. When you click on their free trial link you are directed to figure #2. When my website visitor puts in the information required from figure #1, Central Desktop stores it in their database.
When you postpone Step #2, (possibly, because of the credit card) you are sent the following email [Excerpt]:

Fig. 3: Message Title: Free Trial No Credit Card

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for visiting Central Desktop

We noticed you were about to start a 30-day Free Trial, but then you didn’t. We figured it was asking for the credit card that drove you away. We’d like another chance to win your business.

Please start your Free Team Plan Trial here with no credit card required.

Therefore, if this signup is indeed free – based on the aforesaid – why does Central Desktop need the visitors’ credit card? If they have the persons’ information that they can send an email to and the persons accept the offer and sign up how are they “invalid leads?”

Now, let’s – for argument sake – say that my company is registered with Central Desktop and I invite one of my employees to join an internal workspace; in order for this employee to join the work space, they are required to register by creating a member profile.

Naturally this person becomes a lead for Central Desktop and that they will send marketing information to.

By stating that the lead is “incentivized” is a pre-determined tactic that Central Desktop is using in order not to honor their legal commitment for paying commission on the leads. They are trying to get out of paying over $8,000 worth of leads that were sent to them and practically on a daily basis they have continued to market their products to these so called “fraudulent” leads.

Whenever I promote CD to my friends and clients it is promoted as a very useful tool that can save them a lot of money. They are told that they can stay at home and have meetings anywhere in the world with their counterparts or contacts. I advise them to take the free trial and see how it works for them. My friends and clients have never heard of Central Desktop, and may only register because they may want to maintain their friendship and positive business association with me and my company. Is this an incentive?

If I am allowed to encourage my website visitors to register, as directed by Central Desktop, doesn’t this mean that anyone that comes on to my website and registers for the free trial is a valid lead?

Evidently, CJ and Central Desktop are engaging in unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business acts or practices and/or unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising in violation of California Business and Professions Code section 17200.

As aforementioned it is indeed obvious that some CJ advertisers, advertise a particular stipulation in their program terms that I undoubtedly followed, nevertheless when it came to leads generated from the traffic of my website visitors and the amount I earned I was deactivated within a six (6) minute timeframe of CJ’s notices to me. It is imperative that I reiterate that CJ and its advertiser – Central Desktop – is being unlawful and unfair and should ensure that the commissions I earned honestly, be forthcoming.

Other Publishers appear to be experiencing the same problems as I am. Central Desktop is not an ETHICAL company and Commission Junction / Value Click is a platform for these unfair and illegal practices.

Publishers beware! If you are currently promoting Central Desktop through CJ or any other affiliate marketing programs, please pay close attention to your account. Central Desktop will deny and revoke credit for leads stating they are invalid. We have this fully documented and they are unaware that they were being monitored closely.

There are many other individuals / web site owners that are not being compensated for leads; clearly a fraudulent system is in place by Central Desktop and Commission Junction / Value Click (a public traded company) to steal leads.
I am currently working with the BBB, FTC, SEC and State Attorney Office on this case.
I have an attorney that is currently organizing legal action against these companies; if any one is a victim of any of these companies, contact me.