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Salesforce Extends Social Media Push with Radian6 Buy

Salesforce.com has agreed to acquire Raidian6, which provides a service that monitors multiple social networking sites, for $326 million in cash and stock.

The deal furthers Salesforce.com's push into bringing social media tools to its enterprise customers. Salesforce.com already has its own social media service dubbed Chatter, which provides a Facebook-like environment for enterprise employees.

The Radian6 Engagement Console discovers what's being said about companies. It functions as a sophisticated search engine and is intended for companies that want to manage their reputations, enabling them to react to complaints on scores of social media services, blogs, discussion forums and media such as YouTube.  

"With Radian6, Salesforce.com is gaining the technology and market leader in social media monitoring," said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We see this as a huge opportunity. Not only will this acquisition accelerate our growth, it will extend the value of all of our offerings."

Radian6 counts among its customers Dell, General Electric, Kodak, Molson Coors, PepsiCo and United Parcel Service.

Forrester analyst Zach Hofer-Shall described the deal in a blog post as the most significant yet for what he described as social media data acquisition. "Salesforce.com can now cover social listening, data analysis, customer profiling and record storage, and social engagement all under one offering," Hofer-Shall noted.

"The move also furthers Salesforce's commitment to social media. Through its engagement console, Radian6 helped popularize the concept of social customer support -- an area that Salesforce will happily improve through this acquisition," he added.

That Salesforce.com is acquiring Radian6 is not a huge surprise. Just earlier this month, the two companies entered into a partnership, announced at the CloudForce conference in New York, in which the Radian6 Engagement Console would be offered as an option to Salesfore.com's new Service Cloud 3.

The Radian6 Engagement Console is available to agencies (such as public relations and advertising) for $600 per user per month, or to corporations starting at $1,750 per month for five users.

Salesforce.com said it intends to create a bridge between Chatter and Radian6 that will enable organizations to discern what their customers are saying about them, presumably from the Chatter interface.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on March 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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