Cross-posted from the OC Report:
Is this the beginning of the inevitable consolidation that seems to be coming in the online community space?
First it was Five Apart, a community platform company. Yesterday Cisco announced it was buying Tribe. Thanks to Mukund for the heads up.
“The hope is to use the two company’s technology to help Cisco’s corporate clients build their own social networks, so it isn’t clear whether or not the Tribe service itself will live on.”
What’s going to drive / driving the explosion in online community interest? Some companies are starting to see real, tangible value from their communities (read: ROI). Other companies are comfortable with the investment for affinity purposes, especially when the investment is compared to other programs like brand campaigns and advertising… or even the cost of simple, global marcomm web sites. The rest are struggling to figure out a strategy, or simply just don’t care.
My belief is that every organization that values their business, brand equity and customer base will figure out some sort of an online engagement with their audience over the next 2-3 years. This engagement will be a bi-directional and networked style of communication that will involve a sincere attempt at relationship building. Scoble said something a couple of years ago about every corporate web site being replaced by a blog at some point (sorry, couldn’t find the post). At the time, I thought he was nuts. Now I think, at least in spsirit, he was 100% on the mark.
What do you think?