Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Yammer Tweaks Salesforce in Friends With Benefits Campaign — Make That Frenemies

They haven’t always been friends. In fact, relations between them have been quite testy at times. But the social enterprise software outfit Yammer is having a little promotional fun, now that its software integrates data from’s Chatter service.

Today, Yammer is boldly touting this fact at Saleforce’s Dreamforce conference, which gets under way in San Francisco today, with a new campaign Yammer is cheekily calling “Friends with Benefits.” The idea, says Yammer CEO David Sacks, is to try to highlight the fact that Salesforce’s — which it launched to great fanfare and at great expense with a pair of ads that aired during the Super Bowl — is really just a “social network inside your sales app.”

Yammer, on the other hand, is intended to integrate social feeds from numerous different business applications. Sacks calls it “social network sprawl.”

Yammer "Friends with Benefits" campaign

Strictly speaking, Sacks says, Yammer is not competitive — at least not directly with Chatter. But the integration was built using Salesforce’s own own open development platform,, which, strictly speaking, makes Yammer more or less a Salesforce partner. Still, there’s overlap. “I think Yammer is competitive with Salesforce’s ambitions,” Sacks says. Which of course makes today’s campaign all the more brash.

So what will Yammer be doing? A pair of mascots — one dressed as a Yammer logo; one that looks suspiciously like the “no software” slash — will be handing out swag at the Moscone Center. They’ll also be sponsoring free coffee for Dreamforce attendees at two nearby Starbucks locations. Yammer has also unveiled a billboard, touting the campaign, outside its offices.

Things weren’t always so, er, friendly between the two companies. Earlier this year, Yammer made its irritation rather public with the video below, wherein Yammer essentially called Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff — who was a judge at the 2008 TechCrunch at which Yammer first launched — a copycat.

See? Frenemies!

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google