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October 13, 2003

Salesforce.com on Social Networking

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Posted by Ross Mayfield

IBDN, in preparation for an event on Social Networking hosted by Rafe Needleman, posts a short interview with the CSO of Salesforce.com on Social Networking:
TAXICAB INTERVIEW | Cary Fulbright, Chief Strategy Officer, Salesforce.com on Social Networking IBDN: Is the social networking space another bubble waiting to burst? Is it a fad, feature, or a real market opportunity? FULBRIGHT: It's not a bubble waiting to burst or a fad — many of us in the business world have been using social networking for years as part of our everyday life. The evolving technology specifically created to make social networking easier and faster can only help take us to the next level. It also helps people who aren't adept at public networking for the first time. IBDN: Do you think social networking companies will make money with the current business model? Or are they perfect targets for acquisitions? FULBRIGHT: In the long term, social networking technology is not a stand-alone application. It will become a feature of other applications where it makes sense to include it. You've seen it for a few years in consumer and personal applications. You will see it more explicitly in business applications such as our own CRM application. The technology itself is not rocket-science, so companies that are currently offering products limited to social networking will need to broaden their application to be more widely useful. IBDN: We know that consumers will pay to find a date, but will they pay to find business contacts? FULBRIGHT: Yes, one name for them is "leads," and sales and marketing organizations pay thousands of dollars for leads today. Leads are the life-blood of every business. Another type of paid business contact is called "candidates," and again companies have been paying recruiters or internal referrals thousands of dollars for great candidates for at least 50 years. Especially now, with tight budgets, businesses must run more efficiently and want to find the right contacts to meet their needs, in as streamlined a manner as possible. To the extent that businesses can start with warm leads instead of cold leads, and an existing pool of candidates when they have an opening, they will save millions of dollars.

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