The up and down story of social networking site Tribe ends — or rather enters its next phase — as Cisco, which recently purchased Five Across, now buys it. I had heard this rumor about a week and a half ago and decided not to blog about it. But now Brad Stone at the NY Times makes it official. Stone’s article leads with the Tribe acquisition and then discusses Ning. But it’s mostly about the enterprise application of social networking.
Here are the primary ways that’s manifesting now:
- Social networks as the new intranets
- Consumer facing commercial sites for brands with social media features for “engagement” of audiences
- CRM/marketing platforms for companies to interact with customers and poll them about new products or features
Tribe was one of the earlier entrants in social networking but it probably made some bad strategic decisions around monetization (emulating Craigslist to help its newspaper investors) that limited its organic growth. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but it’s probably not a big number. Tribe, according to the Times’ piece, will continue on while Cisco will use the backend for its own purposes.
These Cisco acquisitions and the parallel development of social media being integrated into many online campaigns for major brands represents the “mainstreaming” of social networking. The MySpace acquisition was the watershed moment of course that put lingering doubts about the viability of social media to rest.
Related: Om Malik doesn’t like the acquisition.