blueKiwi Rides the Freemium Wave

With the continued success of Twitter and other social networking tools, any criticism (or praise) of products and companies is becoming increasingly public. Finding a way to manage these external communications in the internal decision-making process is an ongoing challenge for many businesses. Today, in an effort to help marketers and community managers better deal with such outside correspondence, blueKiwi, an Europas shortlist finalist, has announced the introduction of a free version of its Social Business Platform aimed at integrating outside conversations into daily internal communications to improve the decision making process.

Instead of community managers simply engaging with outside audiences via social networking tools, blueKiwi pulls outside conversations into internal discussions in order to leverage the thoughts and ideas of its user base, much like Salesforce aims to do with Chatter or Bantam Live. It is social CRM. Bluekiwi combines a slew of web 2.0 capabilities: such as collaboration, document sharing, blogging, event posting, and polling, into a single, unified solution. The use of social analytics tools ensures that the most pertinent conversations reach the eyes of the community managers.

The blueKiwi dashboard allows the community manager to integrate outside feeds—be they RSS feeds, Twitter, or Facebook—in order to stay on top of external chatter. The “Notebook” shows anything and everything in the blueKiwi community which involves the user. Any chatter which involves the user is threaded in a Facebook status-esque interface, making it simple for users to stay up-to-date on conversations in which they are directly involved.

To ensure the product is being utilized most efficiently, the product has an automated personal assistant, Alice, programmed to make recommendations to community managers in order to keep them on top of important tasks. If part of an online community seems to be slacking in a certain department, Alice will make recommendations to try and increase efficiency. The homepage of blueKiwi also gives suggestions based on analytics to further this goal.

The free version of blueKiwi supports one external community, which can range from customer forums, to channel programs, to developer groups—basically anything where the majority of the users are outside the internal network—but allows unlimited internal groups and external members. Within the community, admins can vary the access privileges of individual members. Internal and External members can see everything which goes on in these groups, or admins can restrict access to only internal members. As conversations continue to grow, admins can change access privileges as well.

blueKiwi was founded in 2006 by Carlos Diaz and Christophe Routhieau. They have raised a total of $12.3 million in funding from Sofinnova Partners and Dassault Systemes.