KickApps has expanded the service offering of its on-demand social media platform by partnering with Userplane to add Live Chat, instant messaging and presence awareness functionality.Userplane is a subsidiary of AOL that offers online communications platforms for communities. Specifically, KickApps has integrated Webchat and Webmessanger as free core features of their platform. These features are self-serve through the KickApps Affiliate Center -- the web-based console for communities.
According to Alex Blum, CEO of KickApps, "adding Userplane will give them [their clients] the ability to offer immediate communication between their members. We expect these types of integrations of external applications from 3rd party developers to drive even greater levels of engagement that fuel their websites’ growth.”
There's a catch to how "free" the chat and IM features are from Userplane. You have to allow their advertisements to appear in your chat and IM clients. The good news is that you can do an advertising buyout with Userplane to not have ads appear. Hard to say what that will cost you though, especially if you have a very popular site.
This is the second partnership that KickApps has announced in the last couple of months that provides some new features to their customers. In June they announced a partnership with Clearspring, a provider of widget syndication and tracking services. KickApps will enable their clients to use Clearspring's distribution and tracking services.
All good news for KickApps customers who can get new functionality for their online communities quicker than waiting for KickApps to develop, test and release custom solutions.