Tumblr’s CEO brainstorms microblog monetization

I’m working on a column for Fast Company Magazine about how microblogging companies like FriendFeed, Twitter, and Tumblr might make money. Here’s a little sneak peek based on a conversation I had today with Tumblr founder/CEO David Karp.

First, we didn’t focus on just advertising. Tumblr is joining media sharing sites Flickr and SmugMug into charging its users for stuff. People in the industry call that the “freemium” model. Give away one version, but charge for more features. Like what Flickr does. SmugMug goes further and just plain charges, but it’s worth it for what you get, which is why they have tons of happy users who pay.

“Hopefully this stuff will be slick enough that people will appreciate it,” Karp told me, saying he thinks people will pay to use Tumblr’s cooler features.

But that stuff is already known, along with the standard old advertising model. Let’s talk some bleeding edge stuff and can it be applied to Twitter? (I might drop in on Twitter tomorrow unannounced to see what I can learn about their monetization features).

He’s motivated by what he saw happen on Facebook. “Ben and Jerry distributed free little items,” Karp said. “It was the social gesture.”

The social gesture? Yeah, by passing you something cool, people appreciated that and either passed back something else that was cool, or passed it onto all their friends.

“This ad is really an endorsement,” he told me. It was a way for people to tell their friends that Ben and Jerry’s is a cool brand and this is a cool thing to play with.

Then we talked about Tumblr. Already in my little brush with Tumblr’s lead developer I saw a real-world demonstration of how this works. He claimed he didn’t read me, because he doesn’t find my content useful. But within 20 minutes of me posting that he had updated his post saying he saw it. How did THAT happen? Someone sent it to him on Facebook.

And, over on Tumblr, I was able to reblog his post to my own Tumblr, which caused a little note to show up on his original post.

The whole thing is viral and takes advantage of our egos.

Now take the kind of advertising that Tumblr could do in the future. Ones where by interacting with the ad you cause things to happen. Click a “I drink Coke” ad, for instance, and your avatar could change to include a Coke icon.

These kinds of interactive advertisements that share your social guestures are a lot cooler than banner ads, Karp told me. He said that these features, which include reblogging, are a “more refined version of trackback and pingback.”

Other things?

The standard blogger deals where someone blogs for a year, builds up an audience, and gets a book deal, caught his eye. So did the College Humor site, which became popular on Tumblr. They got noticed, Karp told me, got the attention of the Web and turned that into a TV show.

How about donations?

Tumblr has been a partner of Tipjoy’s for a while. “You can give a blogger a buck when they make a neat post,” Karp told me.

Search and destination?

When you search on Twitter Search, for instance, you are presented with a bunch of users who have left Tweets. What if users who paid $5 a month could have color icons while everyone else has black and white? Or, a purple star next to their name? Think that’s not important? Right now Flickr is reminding me that I haven’t paid up because my name doesn’t have “pro” next to it, like Thomas Hawk’s does. Makes me look lame.

But, if you are searching for something, like what people are saying about ski resorts in Tahoe, because you want to see the snow conditions or something like that, doesn’t that open yourself up to a new kind of advertising? Sure it does. Google taught us that. But social networks can go a lot further because they can show you information from your friends. My ex-boss was asking just that on Twitter tonight to see if he should take his family to Tahoe this weekend. Imagine if Northstar sent him a note saying “hey, your friend Mike was just up here, check out his photos.” What else could be done in search to bring more visibility to certain posts, or companies? Lots, Karp told me.

How about a public directory where you can only see people who paid $5 a month? He thinks such a thing would be very popular because bloggers want to be found and other people want new kinds of filtering to find the serious users of a system and what’s better than knowing someone paid a little money for a listing?

Now, what about the users?

So far we covered how Tumblr or Twitter or FriendFeed might make money. But what about the users? Do they want to just blog for free, or do they want to try to make a living. And make a living without selling their editorial down the river?

How do users share in all this and can the best users make enough to quit their day jobs? Karp told me that most of their traffic comes from the top 40% of their users, so how can he reward them? He has some ideas on that too, but that’ll have to wait for future interviews and the article.

What innovative ways do you think Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and Tumblr will be able to make money?

Oh, and if you work at a microblogging company, I’d love to talk to you about this stuff.

45 thoughts on “Tumblr’s CEO brainstorms microblog monetization

  1. Very interesting interaction. I do not find any clear answers to the monetization puzzle, even as lot of bits and pieces of opportunity have been thrown around, in course of this post and its comments.
    So one thing is clear – the monetization is not going to be easy.
    And yet, the traction, the loyalty, the growth and repeat usage, all have to be worth something. And in such loud thinking inside and outside of Twitter (or any other Social Media entity), the answer will emerge after all.
    Two specific thoughts:
    1. We are looking currently at known methods of monetization. The answer will more likely emerge from methods that are unknown today. The monetization of search that Google did, was a thought out of the box. Amazon Cloud Computing is also a different direction from known methods. Twitter and others may also discover a model which will only become a new method and a new standard, thereafter.

    2. I try to relate web models with similar offline businesses / models. The social media online is most similar to a social club offline. My understanding of these clubs are:
    a. They are cheap – which is how large numbers find it easy to congregate there,
    b. There are few expensive and more exclusive types, but they offer significant value in terms of ambience, luxury and services, and for which the elite are willing to pay the price,
    c. Social clubs do not meet out their costs, from the members’ contributions; there have to be other ways to supplement their incomes,
    d. What they end up doing is to run a good restaurant and give out the contract for the same, to someone who pays them a good chunk of money; or they give out the space that they have built, every once in a while, for others to use as a banquet location; or they charge a decent sum for a one time membership fee, which is usually a lifetime fee then.

    Mapping some of these observations to the online social media, it might indicate that:
    a. Social media sites will not be able to charge the members, especially if they are going after the mass markets,
    b. A few exclusive ones, with seriously high value added offerings, might manage to keep exclusive usage, and charge a good fee for the same,
    c. The typical social media property, might be able to contract their platform to the “restaurant” (some paid service equivalent, that is reasonably universally required by the users), and charge them a good fee for giving that exclusive access, for the particular vertical (“food” in case of the offline restaurants); such engagements can be for a period of time, just like the restaurant contract in an offline social club would be say, for a period of 2 years at a time,
    d. Then there is the equivalent of the social club giving out its space for a one-day banquet event. The analogy here could be banner advertising on all Twitter screens, for example.
    e. Finally there is the one-time fee from members, that a social club can charge. I am not sure if the analogy can be pulled off on the online social networks. But seeing that users spend $1 to send virtual gifts on Facebook, there could be an option to ask members to pay say, $10 (or $50 or whatever that makes sense) as a one-time fee for being members at Twitter. I am not sure, but its an idea again..

    - Sanjay Mehta
    http://rdfan.wordpress.com

  2. Very interesting interaction. I do not find any clear answers to the monetization puzzle, even as lot of bits and pieces of opportunity have been thrown around, in course of this post and its comments.
    So one thing is clear – the monetization is not going to be easy.
    And yet, the traction, the loyalty, the growth and repeat usage, all have to be worth something. And in such loud thinking inside and outside of Twitter (or any other Social Media entity), the answer will emerge after all.
    Two specific thoughts:
    1. We are looking currently at known methods of monetization. The answer will more likely emerge from methods that are unknown today. The monetization of search that Google did, was a thought out of the box. Amazon Cloud Computing is also a different direction from known methods. Twitter and others may also discover a model which will only become a new method and a new standard, thereafter.

    2. I try to relate web models with similar offline businesses / models. The social media online is most similar to a social club offline. My understanding of these clubs are:
    a. They are cheap – which is how large numbers find it easy to congregate there,
    b. There are few expensive and more exclusive types, but they offer significant value in terms of ambience, luxury and services, and for which the elite are willing to pay the price,
    c. Social clubs do not meet out their costs, from the members’ contributions; there have to be other ways to supplement their incomes,
    d. What they end up doing is to run a good restaurant and give out the contract for the same, to someone who pays them a good chunk of money; or they give out the space that they have built, every once in a while, for others to use as a banquet location; or they charge a decent sum for a one time membership fee, which is usually a lifetime fee then.

    Mapping some of these observations to the online social media, it might indicate that:
    a. Social media sites will not be able to charge the members, especially if they are going after the mass markets,
    b. A few exclusive ones, with seriously high value added offerings, might manage to keep exclusive usage, and charge a good fee for the same,
    c. The typical social media property, might be able to contract their platform to the “restaurant” (some paid service equivalent, that is reasonably universally required by the users), and charge them a good fee for giving that exclusive access, for the particular vertical (“food” in case of the offline restaurants); such engagements can be for a period of time, just like the restaurant contract in an offline social club would be say, for a period of 2 years at a time,
    d. Then there is the equivalent of the social club giving out its space for a one-day banquet event. The analogy here could be banner advertising on all Twitter screens, for example.
    e. Finally there is the one-time fee from members, that a social club can charge. I am not sure if the analogy can be pulled off on the online social networks. But seeing that users spend $1 to send virtual gifts on Facebook, there could be an option to ask members to pay say, $10 (or $50 or whatever that makes sense) as a one-time fee for being members at Twitter. I am not sure, but its an idea again..

    - Sanjay Mehta
    http://rdfan.wordpress.com

  3. We have come full circle. I don’t believe twitter/tumblr/social marketing can be profitable using traditional marketing and advertising models. ‘Social’ presupposes community, and in order to have a community we need to know who is in that community. This is why twitter works so well. you choose your followers and your followers choose you. It’s a personal choice. A Human must press the ‘Follow’ button. If it’s not a human, you probably are not going to follow. Then the personal relationship is build off-line through DM.

    What facebook does is provide the platform to enable social traffic, but facebook on it’s own does not provide the social traffic. It is nothing more than a technology enabler. As long as people believe that Google Adsense works and pay to have their ad shown, then facebook and the down stream platform enablers will continue to be funded by naive businesses. And this allows us, the bloggers, tweeters and social media hounds to continue to enjoy the free for all.

    To really make this work, the marketeers need to be motivated by a personal need to by authentic and passionate about what they do. This is almost impossible to do if you are ‘working for someone else’, because you are dictated the Business Values by your boss. If your own personal values are misaligned with the business values (usually are), then it is doomed.

    The only way to make this work, is to give business units self autonomy, and allow them to work independently, but share the common business process, and not the business values. I can’t see this happening without a large shift in global thinking..

    Here is hoping.

    Navdeep

    http://www.cityguyyoga.com

  4. We have come full circle. I don’t believe twitter/tumblr/social marketing can be profitable using traditional marketing and advertising models. ‘Social’ presupposes community, and in order to have a community we need to know who is in that community. This is why twitter works so well. you choose your followers and your followers choose you. It’s a personal choice. A Human must press the ‘Follow’ button. If it’s not a human, you probably are not going to follow. Then the personal relationship is build off-line through DM.

    What facebook does is provide the platform to enable social traffic, but facebook on it’s own does not provide the social traffic. It is nothing more than a technology enabler. As long as people believe that Google Adsense works and pay to have their ad shown, then facebook and the down stream platform enablers will continue to be funded by naive businesses. And this allows us, the bloggers, tweeters and social media hounds to continue to enjoy the free for all.

    To really make this work, the marketeers need to be motivated by a personal need to by authentic and passionate about what they do. This is almost impossible to do if you are ‘working for someone else’, because you are dictated the Business Values by your boss. If your own personal values are misaligned with the business values (usually are), then it is doomed.

    The only way to make this work, is to give business units self autonomy, and allow them to work independently, but share the common business process, and not the business values. I can’t see this happening without a large shift in global thinking..

    Here is hoping.

    Navdeep

    http://www.cityguyyoga.com

  5. Very interesting info. I just noticed a BIG jump in all the video host sites having ads on all the videos, might be “free” to us, but truly, as they taught us in high school economics, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”

    Thanks again,

    –z–

  6. Very interesting info. I just noticed a BIG jump in all the video host sites having ads on all the videos, might be “free” to us, but truly, as they taught us in high school economics, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”

    Thanks again,

    –z–

  7. Just signed up for tumblr. But I don’t have any friends who tumble. Using Twitter, Facebook and WordPress to host my blog. Tumblr is like my online notepad for blog posts and random thought. Like twitter but not. Twitter is a great way for me to
    1. get a quick distraction
    2. See what industry leaders are thinking
    3. Do some adhoc market research via search

    So far twitter is winning out for me with a combo of network size, relevancy, and just enough features to be helpful.

    How to monetize this? That’s tricky, but I like the ideas of subtle, unobtrusive ads. And knowing about what my friends are up to. But I really hope that these sites can help companies connect with their audience, and monetize that. Salesforce’s Appexchange is a great example of how “api” access leads to more revenue, I am sure one of these microblogging sites will be able to do the same.

  8. Just signed up for tumblr. But I don’t have any friends who tumble. Using Twitter, Facebook and WordPress to host my blog. Tumblr is like my online notepad for blog posts and random thought. Like twitter but not. Twitter is a great way for me to
    1. get a quick distraction
    2. See what industry leaders are thinking
    3. Do some adhoc market research via search

    So far twitter is winning out for me with a combo of network size, relevancy, and just enough features to be helpful.

    How to monetize this? That’s tricky, but I like the ideas of subtle, unobtrusive ads. And knowing about what my friends are up to. But I really hope that these sites can help companies connect with their audience, and monetize that. Salesforce’s Appexchange is a great example of how “api” access leads to more revenue, I am sure one of these microblogging sites will be able to do the same.

  9. The potential for revenue opportunities here are endless, especially as the social media analytic platforms like ours further their analysis capabilities on microblogging activity. We current track trends over time, geographic locations of users, analysis of concepts and the context of posts, all with a powerful search capability. Additionally, when you blend the concepts / context extracted from microblogging posts, these can be easily compared to all social media content to quickly measure what is being said about a user’s topic of interest, instantly.
    This is such an exciting potential!
    Steve Dodd
    http://www.sysomos.com

  10. The potential for revenue opportunities here are endless, especially as the social media analytic platforms like ours further their analysis capabilities on microblogging activity. We current track trends over time, geographic locations of users, analysis of concepts and the context of posts, all with a powerful search capability. Additionally, when you blend the concepts / context extracted from microblogging posts, these can be easily compared to all social media content to quickly measure what is being said about a user’s topic of interest, instantly.
    This is such an exciting potential!
    Steve Dodd
    http://www.sysomos.com

  11. Charging users fees is looking in the wrong direction for revenue. We need to think of users as the suppliers, not the customers. Twitter would be better served to generate proprietary ways manipulate and package its abundance of user generated content. By targeting B2B analysis, and by creating trafficed channels beyond Search, Twitter would have revenue streams, some of which could be used to pay quality.

    twitter: debontherocks

  12. Charging users fees is looking in the wrong direction for revenue. We need to think of users as the suppliers, not the customers. Twitter would be better served to generate proprietary ways manipulate and package its abundance of user generated content. By targeting B2B analysis, and by creating trafficed channels beyond Search, Twitter would have revenue streams, some of which could be used to pay quality.

    twitter: debontherocks

  13. I think we will start seeing Twitter offer some type of “home page design” service. Think how popular that has become on MySpace and YouTube. It’s just a matter of time before someone is the “standard” for Twitter design.

    If they can create intelligent links that animate differently each time you click them you’ll see many more PPC ads become popular.

    Remember… be a servant,

    Cory Boatright
    Loss Mitigation Specialist
    http://www.ShortSaleFundamentals.com
    http://www.1DayFunds.com
    http://www.ShortSaleology.com

  14. I think we will start seeing Twitter offer some type of “home page design” service. Think how popular that has become on MySpace and YouTube. It’s just a matter of time before someone is the “standard” for Twitter design.

    If they can create intelligent links that animate differently each time you click them you’ll see many more PPC ads become popular.

    Remember… be a servant,

    Cory Boatright
    Loss Mitigation Specialist
    http://www.ShortSaleFundamentals.com
    http://www.1DayFunds.com
    http://www.ShortSaleology.com

  15. > But social networks can go a lot further because they can show you information from your friends. My ex-boss was asking just that on Twitter tonight to see if he should take his family to Tahoe this weekend. Imagine if Northstar sent him a note saying “hey, your friend Mike was just up here, check out his photos.” What else could be done in search to bring more visibility to certain posts, or companies? Lots, Karp told me.

    Umm, why is Northstar in this loop?

    This problem is that your ex-boss sent his query to people when he should have been able to query the data produced by folks who he trusts.

    Unless, of course, the point of the query is not information but signalling.

  16. > But social networks can go a lot further because they can show you information from your friends. My ex-boss was asking just that on Twitter tonight to see if he should take his family to Tahoe this weekend. Imagine if Northstar sent him a note saying “hey, your friend Mike was just up here, check out his photos.” What else could be done in search to bring more visibility to certain posts, or companies? Lots, Karp told me.

    Umm, why is Northstar in this loop?

    This problem is that your ex-boss sent his query to people when he should have been able to query the data produced by folks who he trusts.

    Unless, of course, the point of the query is not information but signalling.

  17. PS – So it’s just training wheels? If the site becomes actually something “College Humor”, then said site changes to something with a real backbone? If you do anything that actually matters, you will drop Tumblr. Try things out, if by some Act of God, it actually works, we can’t support you — that’s what their CEO is saying here, amazing.

    And furthermore who cares what ‘service’ they were on, content is king. Saying “College Humor” ‘became’ popular means nothing in terms of the ‘service’. A good movie is still going to work, big screen or small screen, the medium is not the message. In fact, if the message doesn’t work (i.e. the movie sucks), then the bigger the medium, the worse it be.

  18. PS – So it’s just training wheels? If the site becomes actually something “College Humor”, then said site changes to something with a real backbone? If you do anything that actually matters, you will drop Tumblr. Try things out, if by some Act of God, it actually works, we can’t support you — that’s what their CEO is saying here, amazing.

    And furthermore who cares what ‘service’ they were on, content is king. Saying “College Humor” ‘became’ popular means nothing in terms of the ‘service’. A good movie is still going to work, big screen or small screen, the medium is not the message. In fact, if the message doesn’t work (i.e. the movie sucks), then the bigger the medium, the worse it be.

  19. The economics are flawed. Here’s why…

    When the free is good enough for most, only a select few will upgrade. But make it too basic on the free and not enough honey to attract. You have to be MAGNITUDES of levels better or pose some sort of sharewareish limitation to force people to upgrade. The shareware model won’t work here (people don’t like being nagged or given a broke product), and since it be an “addition to” service, instead of a full-fledged offering, people won’t be motivated (or ego-headed) enough to upgrade. And even the “full” offerings end up having tons of competition, the net tends towards the oligarchy, one service wins, all others die.

    Really what they need to be, is a service that instead of “addition to”, is an “attach to”(an ISV of sorts), but that model needs a real internet social-networking ecosystem that doesn’t and won’t ever exist. But some sort of service partnership might work, custom molded internal-only system, taking the same web infrastructure back to a real Enterprise vendor concept. But all these Web 2.0 snow-globe fluffs, don’t have the underlining architecture to even dare approach. So no hope really.

    And oh that the College Humor site hasn’t been updated in a month. College Humor is popular well because of College Humor, Tumblr is irrelevant here. And, this might come as a surprise, to people still Angel-Dust-hooked on 1997 eyeball economics, but popularity doesn’t mean monetary.

    People pass along Ben and Jerrys stuff, because they already know and like the brand. You end up talking to yourself — gerbil-wheel activity, all that running and not going anyplace. Dean and ‘Snakes on a Plane’ phenom, internet blog kiddies talking to their own kind, circulant and redundant mirrored echo reflections.

  20. The economics are flawed. Here’s why…

    When the free is good enough for most, only a select few will upgrade. But make it too basic on the free and not enough honey to attract. You have to be MAGNITUDES of levels better or pose some sort of sharewareish limitation to force people to upgrade. The shareware model won’t work here (people don’t like being nagged or given a broke product), and since it be an “addition to” service, instead of a full-fledged offering, people won’t be motivated (or ego-headed) enough to upgrade. And even the “full” offerings end up having tons of competition, the net tends towards the oligarchy, one service wins, all others die.

    Really what they need to be, is a service that instead of “addition to”, is an “attach to”(an ISV of sorts), but that model needs a real internet social-networking ecosystem that doesn’t and won’t ever exist. But some sort of service partnership might work, custom molded internal-only system, taking the same web infrastructure back to a real Enterprise vendor concept. But all these Web 2.0 snow-globe fluffs, don’t have the underlining architecture to even dare approach. So no hope really.

    And oh that the College Humor site hasn’t been updated in a month. College Humor is popular well because of College Humor, Tumblr is irrelevant here. And, this might come as a surprise, to people still Angel-Dust-hooked on 1997 eyeball economics, but popularity doesn’t mean monetary.

    People pass along Ben and Jerrys stuff, because they already know and like the brand. You end up talking to yourself — gerbil-wheel activity, all that running and not going anyplace. Dean and ‘Snakes on a Plane’ phenom, internet blog kiddies talking to their own kind, circulant and redundant mirrored echo reflections.

  21. Another possible revenue stream is to charge derivative companies for usage of API. New companies will surely find ways to monetize on the non-private content exchanging hands in these social websites – monitoring current buzz, doing market intelligence – who’s talking about your brand, front-ends directed at companies, etc. These companies will probably be okay with a monthly fee to keep their core data-stream open and working. Plus it keeps everybody focused on their respected business, the social websites on social-ness and the other companies on their commercial oriented faces.
    It’s a little bit of a chicken and an egg, but for FF, Twiter, Tumblr that already positioned themselves as market leaders, it is probably a valid business proposition.

  22. Another possible revenue stream is to charge derivative companies for usage of API. New companies will surely find ways to monetize on the non-private content exchanging hands in these social websites – monitoring current buzz, doing market intelligence – who’s talking about your brand, front-ends directed at companies, etc. These companies will probably be okay with a monthly fee to keep their core data-stream open and working. Plus it keeps everybody focused on their respected business, the social websites on social-ness and the other companies on their commercial oriented faces.
    It’s a little bit of a chicken and an egg, but for FF, Twiter, Tumblr that already positioned themselves as market leaders, it is probably a valid business proposition.

  23. Hey Robert, I enjoyed this. Good post. But I can’t help thinking of Pownce. A nifty little “pro” badge business model couldn’t save them. Not even with all the celebrity of Kevin Rose. David Karp’s not that famous. (Wait a second. Didn’t Julia Allison date them both?….)

  24. Hey Robert, I enjoyed this. Good post. But I can’t help thinking of Pownce. A nifty little “pro” badge business model couldn’t save them. Not even with all the celebrity of Kevin Rose. David Karp’s not that famous. (Wait a second. Didn’t Julia Allison date them both?….)

  25. All know is that I’ve taken to tumblr much more naturally than any of the other social web ideas… not quite sure why yet, but there’s a sense of building your own circle of influence – reinforced by ‘reblogs’ and ‘likes’ (thumbs up) – as well as the ability to brand your own space in ways that don’t exist with twitter or facebook or friendfeed. Of course, myspace has allowed this for years now, but there are very few Designers with beautiful myspace pages (at least in my experience)… on the other hand, every single day I come across another tumblr user who offers a unique and top flight approach to their personally cultivated collection of web miscellany.

  26. All know is that I’ve taken to tumblr much more naturally than any of the other social web ideas… not quite sure why yet, but there’s a sense of building your own circle of influence – reinforced by ‘reblogs’ and ‘likes’ (thumbs up) – as well as the ability to brand your own space in ways that don’t exist with twitter or facebook or friendfeed. Of course, myspace has allowed this for years now, but there are very few Designers with beautiful myspace pages (at least in my experience)… on the other hand, every single day I come across another tumblr user who offers a unique and top flight approach to their personally cultivated collection of web miscellany.

  27. As Kawasaki says, tech projects must start out by saying we are going to do something cool. The trouble always is when do we move form focusing on being cool and broke to cool and making money. Sometime it is harder than you think.

  28. As Kawasaki says, tech projects must start out by saying we are going to do something cool. The trouble always is when do we move form focusing on being cool and broke to cool and making money. Sometime it is harder than you think.

  29. Interesting but consumer only. The big problem is that having spent so long charging nothing and there being a definite skewed distribution between those that are active and those that are passive, I don’t see any of these models being huge winners.

    We’re working on the enterprise side of things where we’re offering the base service under Apache open source so that people can play with the capabilities and then we see what they really need to do in the context of their business. You can argue this makes ESME a feature but then I look at how wikis are evolving to become much richer and think the same can happen with micromessaging. But let’s be clear – this isn’t freemium. This is try before you pay for the real stuff. Call it proof of concept at zero direct acquisition cost.

  30. Interesting but consumer only. The big problem is that having spent so long charging nothing and there being a definite skewed distribution between those that are active and those that are passive, I don’t see any of these models being huge winners.

    We’re working on the enterprise side of things where we’re offering the base service under Apache open source so that people can play with the capabilities and then we see what they really need to do in the context of their business. You can argue this makes ESME a feature but then I look at how wikis are evolving to become much richer and think the same can happen with micromessaging. But let’s be clear – this isn’t freemium. This is try before you pay for the real stuff. Call it proof of concept at zero direct acquisition cost.

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