So, the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) company Salesforce bought the web conferencing platform Dimdim for $31 million USD in cash.
Right after the announcement of the deal, Dimdim changed its landing page stating that they won’t accept new clients anymore, the old clients could use the service during the transition period until March 15th as they had done before. After that period the service will shut down completely as it seems.
I think, this is one of those classic acquisitions where the buyer, hence Salesforce, will take the interesting parts for its service, implement them and then pull the cable for the rest. The article on TechCrunch and other sources lead towards this solution as Salesforce are planning to integrate the live collaboration parts and add it to their Chatter service.
According to TechCrunch and CrunchBase Dimdim had about $9 million USD in funding and launched the service in 2006 in alpha. There were two versions of the product available. One was a hosted solution similar to other web conferencing tools like Adobe Live Connect, WebEx and GoToMeeting. The big difference was of the pricing, of course and Dimdim set the marketing focus on being much more affordable than its competitors.
The second version was open source which meant that everyone who knew how to download and host such a software could set up a similar service. Best known example in our industry is Myngle.
Now as said above, the service will probably shut down completely once the transition period will be over and as Dimdim also had offers for academic users there might be some institutions and companies left in the rain. In fact, I just got contacted today for a talk on alternatives to Dimdim for an educational platform ready to launch and now without classroom.
Let’s take a look at some traffic data and, I think you will get a better picture.
After a spike in April 2010 the traffic went down and then leveled out at 100k uniques per month. Now, let’s compare Dimdim to its main competitors on the market, WebEx and GoToMeeting, the two which Dimdim wanted to take on with lower rates and more features.
It does not seem as if Dimdim had any impact on the user numbers of those services and therefore selling the company to Salesforce for a decent price probably made sense. Taking into consideration that Dimdim probably had to give away 30% to 40% for that funding, the investors got their money back and the founders made some cash.
According to a cnet article from April 2008 the main idea was to get enough developers behind the platform, through the open source part, that would enable Dimdim to launch better features faster than its competitors. Apparently, that did not work and it also leads me to my mantra of less is more. And there is another proof. If you take a look at the graph you can see that both WebEx and GoToMeeting were loosing a decent amount of traffic in December. If we now take another look at the graph exchanging Dimdim with Skype which released its newest version plus the iPhone app with video calling that month.
I have any more questions, your honor. Will be interesting to see how this will evolve in the coming months.
But back to shutting down Dimdim and what will happen to the educators using the platform. Well, WiZiQ has the answer: come over to our platform. The team even took the time to draft a presentation of the differences between the two services.
Of course, the major difference is the extras you get with your virtual classroom on WiZiQ and the question is if the educators and institutions which chose Dimdim as classroom needed / wanted all of that or if they rather preferred a pure web meeting software that fits their own platform.
Bottom line: to me, this once more strengthened my belief that if the classroom is the center piece of your company you should build it in-house or at least outsource it to a developer like for example Stefan Richter. Or use Skype, of course ;).