It’s social CRM (customer relationship management) platforms like Gigya that give me mixed emotions as both an online marketer and user of social media. Gigya’s SaaS (Software as a Service) technology ‘makes your site social’  with arousing plugins. The social plugins create an irresistibly engaging arena for users. Within this arena, administrators controlling the social stimulation are simultaneously acquiring vast amounts of information about their users. Behind Gigya’s social features lies its true mission as a ‘Identity Management Platform’ interested in collecting social data for businesses.

By centrally hosting information from the cloud, Gigya allows users to easily: link their various social-networking accounts to the site, share content from the site to multiple social-networking platforms, build community by commenting and rating on the site’s content, and engage in friendly competition with other users through incentive-based game mechanics. These social features are just a setup, a smokescreen that both supports and hides Gigya’s Identity Storage database. According to Gigya:

“Identity Storage is a cloud-based database designed to store the next generation of user data that is accessed via social authentication, traditional site authentication, or on-site activity. Identity Storage automatically collects and stores social data including user profile data, interests, activities, email address, location and social graph connections. It also charts user activity across your site so you can see how users engage with your site’s content. Additionally, Identity Storage can store traditional profile data, replacing your existing user database. All of this data is organized into a cloud-hosted database where it can be searched to identify customer patterns and gain valuable insight on their identities.”

Businesses can easily view Gigya’s Identity Storage database using the social analytics feature. The analytics feature offers key data reports about users that are clean, concise and useful.

As an online marketer I’m totally into using this new innovation to target (stalk) users. Users who are willingly (and also unknowingly) giving up their social data to engage with others and be entertained. As a user of social media, I’m keeping my eye on this lucrative and invasive social CRM business that projected to reach $12.1 billion by the end of the year.