One of the great things about Get Satisfaction’s public communities is that they are discoverable by both your current as well as prospective customers. The conversations and interactions that happen in your community are a great window into the experience your customers have with your people and products. In certain scenarios, though, communities either have products that cater to a distinctive audience or have products where the community is part of a premium (i.e. paid) service package. In these scenarios, you might want your community to be publicly accessible but have more nuanced control over which users have the ability to participate.
For example, a social gaming company’s audience might be exclusively on Facebook. That company may want to ensure that everyone participating in the community is in fact a user of Facebook. Alternatively, a SaaS provider’s audience might be its registered users that pay for its product (and the service and support associated with it) on a monthly basis. That company needs some way to deal with the “free-rider” problem — delivering great, responsive support to customers requires resources — and hence might want to limit community participation to its paying customers.
In recent weeks, we introduced a feature called Controlled Access designed exactly for these scenarios that gives communities on our Integrate and Enterprise plans the ability to control who has access to participate in their community.
What is Controlled Access?
A community can now require users to login via a specific sign-on system before they can participate in the community. These communities would continue to be publicly viewable, but users that want to post topics, replies, or comments would need to login via a sign-on system that the community has specified. For example, the social gaming company could require users to login to the community via Facebook before participating. Or, the SaaS provider could require users to login via its single sign-on system (using FastPass).
Specifically, controlled access allows your community to:
- Have all content be publicly viewable (including searchable by major search engines)
- Require users to login via a specific system (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, or your own authentication server that uses FastPass) to:
- Post topics
- Post replies
- Post comments
- Vote on topics or replies
How is this different than Private Communities?
The Controlled Access feature differs from the Private Community capability we made available last year. That product, which is currently only available to Enterprise clients, goes a step beyond access control by locking down the content in a private community from being shared or accessible to people who are not members of the community. Controlled Access provides a lighter weight version of this by focusing exclusively on access control and not content visibility.
So how do I enable and use this feature?
For details on how to enable Controlled Access in your community, please reference this community update. Or, if you’re interested in upgrading to an Integrate or Enterprise plan, please feel free to reach out to our sales team.