by MG Siegler on September 15, 2009

Screen shot 2009-09-13 at 5.43.06 PMThe idea of adding a social network to any site is a compelling one. Currently, most sites do this by creating their own networks using service like Facebook Groups and Ning. But those obviously aren’t actually your own site, they are other sites set up under your site’s name. Stribe’s goal is to move the network back onto your site.

The service, opening to the public today at Techcrunch50, provides a free and easy way to place a social networking layer over any site. This layer exists on your site in the form of a bar at the bottom of the page. This is not unlike the Meebo chat bar that you may have seen on this site and others recently. But Meebo was really only about chat (and sharing), Stribe wants this bar to be a full-fledged social network on your site, including members, comments, and yes, chat.

Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect offer some of this functionality, but again, that’s not actually your social network, it’s Google or Facebook’s social layer laid on top of your site. As such, neither of those are very customizable, at all. Stribe is completely customizable if you know what you’re doing (or have a developer who does). Maybe you don’t want the bar at the bottom of the site — you can move it. Maybe you don’t want it to be the default black — you can change it. But if you just want the defaults, it’s as easy as installing one bit of JavaScript code onto your site to get it working.

People who register to be a member of your site by way of Stribe also become members of the larger Stribe community. This means that if you have a friend who is a member of another Stribe-powered network, you can still chat with them even when you’re on different sites.

Stribe will run on the “freemium” model, offering much of their service for free, but charging a fee to those customers who are of a certain size (according to site traffic). That will range from $10 to $50 a month to use Stribe to create a social network for your site.

CEO Kamel Zeroual and CTO Gael Delalleau presented at the conference today.

Expert Panel Q&A (paraphrased)

The experts: Robert Scoble, Sean Parker, Dick Costolo, Reid Hoffman, Mike Schroepfer, Chamillionaire

MS: No integration with any social network there now? Was that intentional?

KZ: The point is that you just need to control and see what is going on, on YOUR website.

DC: 37Signals says that sometimes products do too much, you should do less. With many product, you can do too many things, and it becomes difficult to figure out what to use it for.

KZ: The low-hanging fruit is the community, but we’re trying to reach out to different markets.

C: Are you saying, if I’m Walgreens, this will turn it into a social network? This is different from Twitter, you are just at a site and you want to interact.

KZ: That’s exactly the point, man.

RS: Enterprises already have tools like this thought. What makes this different?

KZ: There are a lot of sites that don’t want to use someone else to become a social network.


By Techwacky

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