When we last left ChatCenter it was running on the URL chatcenter.me and was aimed at creating a one-stop spot for chatting. Now, a few months later, it has moved from a freemium product and gone full software as a service. It will offer $1.99 chat accounts so businesses can jibber jabber with customers via an embeddable widget and it has also snagged the Chat.Center. What a difference a quarter makes.
The app allows you to embed a chat window in any website and comes with an attendant iOS app (Android is coming soon). Early users can still chat with others via the app but you will have to buy a subscription if you want to keep your handle. The system supports embedded buttons as well as widgets that pop up the chat session on your page.
This is obviously a crowded space. Services like OLark and LivePerson have been doing this for years and the market is pretty saturated by now. However, it’s been interesting to watch this product grow from a prototype to a freemium tool to something that is 100 percent SaaS. It’s been a solid roadmap and given that the product costs $1.99 is pretty compelling. Interestingly, in honor of FriendFeed closing, the company launched a group chat service on our own Gillmor Gang.
“Today is the day that Friendfeed will close. It has long been my favorite group chat service. As of today The Gillmor Gang, a long-standing user of Friendfeed, will be able to continue live group chats alongside the Friday show here. This is a simple Chat ID that can be shared in Tweets, on Facebook and elsewhere as a URL. Users simply click and are in the chat. All Chat.Center IDs work this way. We look forward to providing real time chat to many media customers in the months ahead,” said founder (and co-founder of TechCrunch) Keith Teare.
In the end it will be interesting to see where these sorts of products take off. 24/7 support is hard and this makes it a little easier, even if you’re Mega Radio or Steve Gillmor.