NEW YORK--At the Web 2.0 Expo, I got a quick demo of Present.ly, which is another Twitter-alike for business. On the surface it is similar to Yammer, winner of the TechCrunch50 best of show award. Present.ly, like Yammer, lets you quickly set up a private microblog where you and your co-workers can enter short update messages.
I find Yammer's interface a bit simpler, but Present.ly has a few important features that will make it a better bet for some companies.
It supports file attachments. That's a win in the workplace. Present.ly also lets you segment out groups, which is useful for filtering the flow of info.
Present.ly doesn't require that all users are on the same e-mail domain, which to my mind is a huge flaw in Yammer--it makes it impossible to invite an outside contractor into a work group.
The biggest wins in Present.ly are at the platform level. Unlike Yammer, you can get Present.ly either as a hosted service, or, if you want, you can install in your business, behind your corporate firewall. And Present.ly supports the Twitter API, so tools that work with Twitter, like Twhirl, should be easily modifiable to work with Present.ly.
Present.ly is free for up to five users. After that, the company charges about $1 per user per month; it varies a bit depending on service plan. Installed versions are available but there's no quoted price on them.
If you want something like Twiitter in your business, check it out. Also check out SocialCast, which (it's more like FriendFeed for business). And see this Web Strategy post, List of Enterprise Microblogging tools.
Bonus: Present.ly vs. Yammer gossip
I believe that if Present.ly had been at the TechCrunch50 event, it would have split the vote of the judging panel and prevented Yammer from winning the Best of Show award. Present.ly didn't present at TechCrunch50, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Yoshi Maisami, president of Intridea, which makes Present.ly, told me that he submitted his product for consideration for the event. However, he says, his proposal was rejected out of hand--that he never got the chance to pitch his company to the TechCrunch50 selection committee. If true, that's a shame.
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