Social media company Pluck has created an application server to let customers customize the social media experience for users. Pluck 4 will still let customers accessorize Websites with profiles, blogs, comments, ratings and reviews, as it has done for media outlets like USA Today. But it will also let customers build their own widgets to run on the application server. Pluck is one of the stronger players in the so-called white-label social media market, in which companies provide blogs syndicating RSS feeds, forums and photos, and video tools that other companies license to use, customize and brand as they choose.
, the social media
software maker acquired by Demand Media in 2008,
has created a programmable
environment to let customers customize the social media experience for users.
Pluck 4 is a social media application server that comprises a full
presentation, scripting and data management framework, Will Ballard, executive
vice president of technology and engineering for Demand Media, told eWEEK in an
Pluck hosts this application server, which will be announced and become
generally available Sept. 8, on its own servers. As with the previous Pluck
platforms, customers will subscribe to use Pluck 4 over the Web, paying
anywhere from $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year depending on
their consumption of bandwidth and other computing resources.
Pluck is one of the stronger players in the so-called white-label social
media market, in which companies provide blogs syndicating RSS feeds, forums
and photos, and video tools that other companies license to use, customize and
brand as they choose. Pluck, under the aegis of Demand Media, competes with
Wetpaint, Onesite, Pringo Networks and others.
Pluck 4 will still let customers accessorize Websites with profiles, blogs,
comments, ratings and reviews, as it has done for media outlets like USA Today.
But it will also let customers build their own widgets to run on the
"We have groups that are making applications, such as a comment widget.
Now instead of just being a tool we offer, the comment widget is an application
programmed on our application server that we're offering to customers,"
Ballard said. "Customers can take that app, copy and paste it and change
it if they'd like, or use it as a sample program and write their own."
Pluck 4 has an application container programmers may use to create, deploy,
host and deliver custom applications. This customization capability will help
developers boost search engine optimization for their Web pages and content
inclusion in their existing sites.
One component of Pluck 4 is a presentation engine, which lets developers use
strings, images and more for feature customization. Programmable APIs help
trigger browser, server and mobile device requests from one single framework.
Pluck 4 Comments enable user highlights, threading, scores, friend filters and
The platform also includes an community manager for user, content and abuse
management, an analytics manager to track user activity, and an application
manager for controls and configurations.
Matthew Lees, analyst for the Patricia Seybold Group, said Pluck 4 has to
deliver on the ease-of-use and scalability fronts, but said he is comfortable with Pluck's position:
"What I like about Pluck's
chances are its experience, its existing customer base (it's nice to have some
built-in beta testers and early adopters), and the relatively deep pockets of
parent company Demand Media. So they're well positioned to market and support
Pluck 4, yet not entirely reliant on whether its customers fully leverage all
it has to offer."
Pluck isn't the first vendor to try its hand at marketing an application
server for social media. Ringside Networks offered an open-source application
server targeted toward social apps before it went belly up
a year ago this month on Sept. 24.
While Ringside never got off the ground, Pluck has found purchase in 400 Web sites,
including those of the NFL, the MLB, Kraft
Foods, Lowe's and other brand marketers looking to use Pluck social media tools