Yammer should enjoy it’s 5 minutes of internet fame

I’ve been perplexed for a few days about TechCrunch50’s winning pick, Yammer. I finally started to use it, and I’m not all that impressed. Clearly, winning at TC50 has done wonders for Yammer, but I don’t think this spike will last long.

Yammer is NOT an “enterprise product”. Can we please stop calling it that? Yammer is just twitter for private groups with the domain name of your email address as the common denominator. I’ve joined 3 different Yammer networks already - microsoft.com, alumni.purdue.edu and employees.org. I can see Yammer being useful for a university, for example. You could get to meet new people, but I really don’t see it being useful for a company as much.

  1. It’s not innovative. The UI and the design look exactly like twitter’s. The idea sounds a lot like SocialCast’s.
  2. From a study that involved interviewing over 500 executives done by Avande:
    “The key barriers to adoption of social media technologies are concerns about security (76 percent); senior management apathy (57 percent); and, fear of using unproven technologies (58 percent).”
    Yammer poses security risks that companies should take seriously. For example, there are over 100,000 people with an @microsoft.com email address, and I can only imagine that a thing or two is bound to slip and people who are not supposed to seeing certain yams (?) will be seeing them. As of now there are about a 100 ‘softies on Yammer already and from my brief time on the site, most ‘softies have been very prudent about not talking about internal projects and several have thrown the security caution flag. Also, if for some reason there were to be a vulnerability, internal yams could be exposed.
  3. As an evangelist, I care more about having conversations with my friends outside the company than I do on the inside. I’ve started using Twitter, and so far, I like it.

I find no benefit in Yammer, and I find no need to use it. I just don’t understand why Marc Benioff said he’d buy Yammer. Do you?