Just when you thought Digg cloning was dead, Salesforce has thrown its hat into the ring. The company best known for their SaaS CRM is unleashing their Digg-for-ideas, “Salesforce Ideas”, into the wild. Although announced back in October, they are now releasing the product publicly. Now any enterprise can order their own clone of Salesforce’s IdeaExchange, which lets customers post ideas on how the company can improve their product.
It’s targeted at, and works best for, existing Salesforce customers with a specific community of customers. Unlike the free opensource Pligg, this software may cost you. It’s being release for free to professional, enterprise, and unlimited customers. But anyone off the Salesforce platform using the service has to buy a license, which can cost anywhere from $50-$100 per user per month. I’d recommend (free) Satisfaction’s help and idea board for businesses with larger audiences.
Salesforce is pushing the platform integration because unlike Pligg, Ideas’ will know who your customers are. The system will integrate with your CRM account to let only those users in.
The concept is pretty straight forward and a bit more exciting than a straight idea forum. Yahoo has even launched a similar product for their own use. On Salesforce Ideas Users can post product ideas to a moderated board, which everyone can promote or demote up and down the board. The most popular ideas, based on the frequency of promotions over a period of time, make it to the top of the board. Attached to each idea is a discussion thread, where members can leave comments building on the idea.
Salesforce claims to have used ideas on the board to improve their product, and even drive ideas for some AppExchange startups (AppExtremes, Appirio). After a year, their board has about 13,000 users, 5,000 ideas, and drives 100K pageviews per month. Dell runs an instance of the board on Dell Idea Storm, which it credits with the idea to pre-install the Ubuntu Linux operating system on select consumer desktops and notebooks in the U.S, UK, France and Germany.