DeusM, in turn, connects users of these communities with social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to expand the reach of its clients' content and messaging. UBM has already used CIAB to develop three online products: a community site for the buyers and specifiers of electronics components at EBN.com; a custom content site called Enterprise Efficiency (www.enterpriseefficiency.com, which is sponsored by Dell Computer Corp.); and another custom content site called Internet Evolution (www.internetevolution.com, sponsored by IBM Corp.).
Three more CIAB communities are scheduled to debut before the end of the year, according to UBM. Digital Directions spoke with Stephen Saunders, managing director of DeusM, about what the new organization offers.
Digital Directions: How does the technology of your platform work in terms of putting your customers in touch with the social networks that are online?
Saunders: We have a secondary service called SNAP (Social Networking Amplification Program), in which we will go out and build a presence on social networks and then curate our customers' content on those networks—getting “likes” and “followers,” and then creating engagement using content. It's different from what other publishing companies are offering in terms of those services, which typically allow you to post advertisements on Facebook and the like. What we do is go out and actually post content on those [social] sites from the client, and, if they don't have enough content, we'll develop it for them. …[But] those social networks are for the most part consumer networks. And I'm saying this as somebody who sells a service which works with them, there are real limitations to how valuable they're going to be if you are in a vertical industry looking to engage customers. Community in a Box is the community we're deploying. We have ways to work with other social networks, but that's not our primary focus.
DD: What is your primary focus in the social sphere and how does the technology behind n-Server distinguish the company's services?
Saunders: What we've done here is to take the chance out of social networking and community for the b-to-b market. If you are using our service, you know that your community is going to work, that you are going to have the people you want on it and that they are going to be talking in an appropriate way about the products you're interested in.
DD: Why was it so important to build the platform from the ground up?
Saunders: There are alternatives to building it from the ground up, and one of them is to use a Wiki platform or a Jive platform. But that gets just so far in terms of the community components.
I'm a b-to-b publisher and my customers are advertisers, so they have a completely different set of needs which aren't supported by platforms like that. So what we've done is take all of the features that we need for business-to-business publishing and combined [them] with community features and message boards, which we need.
But more important, we've left out a huge number of features which we don't need, and that makes it much easier to implement these sites. When you're developing any type of software platform, the worst possible thing you can do is go out and ask your end-users what they think the platform should support because you end up with an infinite number of features, none of which is ever going to get used. We've developed the opposite way and have only added features to this when a customer has actually wanted them, is prepared to pay for them and that the features have been actually serving a customer need.
DD: What inspired the name of the company, DeusM?
Saunders: It's from the Latin term deus ex machina, which means god from the machine.