ONESite Acquires Social Platform, Aims To Increase Presence In Entertainment And Tech

Seeking new talent and a larger sales force, ONEsite, a white-label social networking platform, has acquired rival software provider Social Platform. With the deal, ONEsite is aiming to extend its footprint in the West Coast and increase its presence in the entertainment and technology sectors.

"They have the sales expertise on the West Coast we're looking for," said Bob Crull, ONEsite President and CEO. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Crull said he is actively looking to expand ONEsite through additional acquisitions, which would likely spell heavy consolidation for the crowded social software industry.

"We're looking for more structured deals to expand our footprint, and increase our expertise in the areas of business, sales, and technology," he said. "We're looking for people who really understand what we're trying to do conceptually, which is all about engagement."

Along with hefty software licensing and consultancy fees--enterprises packages cost clients $2,500-per-month--ONEsite presently draws ad revenue from the activity of more than 1 million registered users who unknowingly use its software across a network of communities.

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While ONEsite has attracted little attention since its launch back in 2003, the company now powers over 2,000 such communities for clients like Univision and Clear Channel Communications.

The company has also become a resource for brand marketers interested in executing one-time special promotions, as in the case of Sprint's RED campaign, and Procter & Gamble's Swash brand of detergent.

Crull, however, says ONEsite, and the social platform industry at large, are poised for huge growth in the near future. By his estimates, the company will power a network of over 10 million community subscribers by the end of the year, and revenues of $30 million by 2009--up from about $5 million last year.

"Social networking is faddish," Crull explained. "But consumer engagement is a business strategy that's just now catching on, and it's going to be huge. Any company without a strong consumer engagement strategy in the future won't last."

Today, there are an estimated 40 white-label social platform providers, including KickApps, Userplane, LiveWorld, SixApart, Ning, CrowdVine, Dave Networks, GoingOn, CollectiveX, Me.com, PeopleAggregator, iBelong, and Haystack, among others. For its part, Social Platform is known in the business for working closely with clients to build social networks based on their unique needs.

What sets ONEsite apart from its myriad rivals?

"Our people and our technology," Crull said. "We've already scaled through a million users; we're got a complete API system; and patent-pending cross-domain linking technology so people can participate in multiple communities with a singe sign-on."

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