Mzinga: Live Long and Prospero

The SAAS e-learning provider purchases social software maker Prospero to improve customer communications.

Prospero's social media software, which lets companies put blogs, social profiles, message boards, real-time chat, live event chat, and ratings and reviews on their sites, will be rolled into the Mzinga platform to help customers of the Burlington, Mass., company communicate more efficiently.

Catering to marketing, human resources and customer service professionals, Mzinga makes a SAAS (software as a service) technology platform that includes social media applications and enterprise management tools to help customers with recruiting, onboarding and learning activities.

The Mzinga platform embeds widgets, or lightweight applications into a customer's Web site. Mzinga also employs templates to support private-label community destination sites. Customers may also customize their own social media integrating Web pages or applications via an API.

Mzinga has done more than $30 million in sales, boasting 1 billion page requests per month, 27 million users in 160 countries worldwide and 350,000 new users each month. Mzinga's customers include ABC, AOL, ESPN,, iVillage, Chevron Corporation and Johnson & Johnson.

Mzinga's purchase of Prospero, based in Littleton, Mass., whose clientele includes many online media companies, signals that the white-label social networking space is continuing to contract.

Analysts call the providers white-label because the companies let customers put their own brand on the social network they build from the provider's suite.

While this is a lucrative value proposition, there are well beyond 100 such providers, which is too many for the market to bear, according to analysts such as Forrester Research's Jeremiah Owyang.

The analyst said there will be several mergers and acquisitions of these white-label providers in 2008, including purchases by large providers such as IBM, SAP, Google and Microsoft.

Mzinga's purchase of Prospero comes two weeks after white-label social network provider Onesite acquired rival Social Platform.

The buy also comes as dozens of social network software makers, including Facebook and MySpace, are convening in San Diego on March 3 and 4 for O'Reilly's Graphing Social Patterns West 2008 show.