Yammer took home the TechCrunch50 top prize this past week, and the collective internet tilted their head to one side and said “Huh?” Read about it from the source at the TechCrunch post Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50.
I know what you’re thinking “It’s Twitter for the enterprise!” “Can’t you do this for free with a WordPress account and Prologue?” You’d be right on both accounts. Yammer’s business plan is simple. To support each person in your network who will access Yammer, it costs $1 a month per person. Without support, you can use the service for free.
What makes this different than Prologue or using Twitter with protected updates? Support. If you’ve ever been a part of deciding on software or a CMS to use for a larger company, your boss always wants to know how much it costs and if there is 24/7 support. Twitter doesn’t offer that, and while you can get corporate support for WordPress, I doubt they have a full time staff doing Prologue support.
When Twitter didn’t offer an enterprise version of Twitter, the free market filled in the gaps. Of course, the market isn’t taking this Yammer thing lying down. Laura at Pistachio Consulting (rulers of all things microsharing) put a post of their site titled List of Internal Microsharing Tools where the information listed is exactly as advertised. They range from free to paid. I personally like the way Presently looks.
So when you create a useful service with no foreseeable business model, think about how you can serve the enterprise while also serving the public. You might just win a prize!