In the mood for some free stuff? Of course you are. Surely banking on the idea that everyone loves to get something for nothing, Socialcast (news, site) recently announced a treat for their users: free networks.

Corporate social networks, that is. Effective immediately, employees of any company can visitSocialcast’s website and join their company’s private community using their corporate email address. Meanbwhile, administrators can enjoy free rights such as user access management and customization. The offering also comes with a handful of new features for added pizzazz.

Corporate Social Networking

The San Francisco-based company launched their private networking solution back in 2005.Their SaaS offering combines traditional intranet features with social networking technology in order to empower employees to spread their knowledge and interact across the enterprise.

Social networking within the workplace isn't an unfamiliar concept on the blogosphere; we've covered the topic various times ourselves. Naturally, we've found Socialcast’s efforts to reserve a seat in this particular niche mirror those of (many) others. Cubeless, CubeTree, Telligent's Community Server and IBM's Lotus Connections are just a few additional fish in the sea.

What exactly makes Socialcast different is hard to pinpoint, although it is notable that they've been nominated for various Crunchie awards, pulled through to win the software2008 Innovation Showcase, and secured $1.4 million in Series A funding from True Ventures and angel investors back in April of this year. It seems pretty safe to assume that whatever they've got going on, is pret-ty good.

In any case, news of their free offering will no doubt spread corporate networking love as it allows access for tens of thousands of organizations across the globe.

Learning Opportunities


Socialcast’s free offering includes all of the features in its current platform, along with the addition of a few extra frills. The release, which also marks the sixth official iteration of the product, comes complete with:

  • Company-wide domain-based networks
  • Free company administration (such as user management and basic site customization) and data “claiming” rights on all networks
  • A real-time track feature that allows users to customize activity streams based on subjects, people, groups, and topics
  • Accessibility tools such as a desktop application and enhanced email integration

The Motivation

The way Socialcast sees it, there are two main reasons for handing out their on-demand tool like candy:

  1. They want to be trusted. As Socialcast puts it on their blog, “Enabling corporate communication without corporate administrative control was unfathomable…companies may need to experiment with a collaboration tool for some time before deploying permanently, and with that experience must come administrative features.”
  2. Every employee has to join for the solution to be effective. To kick start a corporation’s journey to a social networking haven, Socialcast figures they’ll offer their tool for free and instead focus on the sales of premium services to bring in the bacon.

“Socialcast’s new offering as a more powerful and free tool is the result of significant research with our clients and their employees,” said Timothy Young, Founder and CEO of Socialcast. “Our experience has shown that the real value of a business social network comes from employees’ effective interpretation and application of shared information. Now, Socialcast makes it even more simple for employees to communicate and for enterprise companies to securely manage and foster this collaboration while understanding the importance of both individuals and the network.”

Gettit (or something else)

Socialcast is certainly not the first networking solution for the enterprise to flaunt its free feathers, but it still seems like a viable option. Interested companies and employees can sign up for the service here, but don't forget the messenger! Be sure to come back 'round and tell us what you think.