Read Write Web is reporting tonight on a CRN story (confirmed on Twitter), that Salesforce.com’s Chatter activity stream product (currently free for Salesforce.com customers or $15/month for non-customers) is going freemium soon.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff made this announcement to analysts today (leaked by CRN, as Benioff said on Twitter) saying that the Chatter product becoming free was a good way to get other Salesforce products into organizations.
Benioff talked about organizations using Chatter to replace aging tools like Lotus Notes; products that just haven’t kept up with how information flows or is shared today.
But the freemium model? Is it a good idea for something like Chatter and Salesforce.com? My gut says it is. From my own experience in organizations (large and small and informal) bringing in a free tool, especially one that doesn’t require additional software to install, is a great way to test and get hooked on the tool. Sometimes the tool isn’t the right fit. That’s cool, because nothing was invested. If it is the right tool and the costs make sense … then you have a new customer.
Though not on the scale of Salesforce.com, I started using Dropbox with the free version. I recommended people to it and got more space, but when I got to the point that was filling up my 4 or 6 gigs…I sprung for the 50 GB package. Simple as that.
Now I have hundreds of files synced (and backed up) there as well as shared folders with my publisher and the rest of the TNW team.
Nice up sell I think.
So Chatter…if it goes free in the near future (could be as soon as next month), I’ll certainly give it a shot.
Why not, it’s free.