Blackbaud, Google

Knol is launched by Google and Blackbaud is Already in It

I was just looking into Google’s Knol after reading a Techcrunch article about it. As you may know, Google’s Knol is Google’s version of Wikipedia but with Google Ads and money being driven to the writer of each article. If it sounds like the private sector is trying to replicate something a nonprofit is already doing, then you’re quite right. Regardless of the merits of Knol (I’m not sure it’s going to take off), I found something very interesting almost immediately.

I took a look at the article for software as a service and lo and behold, Timothy Chou, has written the article. If you’re not a Blackbaud nerd like I am, you wouldn’t know that the Timothy Chou who wrote the article was the Timothy Chou who is on Blackbaud’s Board of Directors. He writes:

You will have many choices. You can choose to sell Model 1 and Model 4, which is what Oracle did. You can choose to use Model 1 and Model 5, which is what Callidus Software did. You can choose to move completely to Model 6, which is what Concur did. You can choose to start out a new business in Model 6, which is what did. You can choose to acquire Model 6 companies, and have some of your product line in Model 1 and some in Model 6, which is what Blackbaud did. [emphasis mine]

This may be another Timothy Chou but it’s highly unlikely that an article that talks about Software as a Service and basically namechecks Timothy Chou’s past business relations (he works for Oracle, shilled for Callidus and again, is on Blackbaud’s board) is not going to be written by him. Tim don’t hide — fill out that biography! An interesting note is that the article was originally published on 2/25/2008 which I guess means that the Kintera negotiations were probably already in the air during that time.

A Model 1 company is your traditional software business model. Model 6 is Software as a Service as we’ve seen it in It’s a wide open clue if you know, not so much if you don’t that Timothy Chou seems to be referring to the purchase of Kintera here and the current state of Blackbaud’s software outside of that. I’m hoping for more Model 6 out of Blackbaud in the future.

Talk about trying to own a phrase that you don’t yet deserve! I suspect submission of other articles in the future from say, Tad Druart of Convio mentioning Aikido Convio Common Ground (yeah they changed the name so no more hillarious Google search mashups of nonprofits and pictures of guys doing Aikido (bow to your sensei!)) and how it’s a clear example of “computer technology” and “fundraising” at the same time.

What’s interesting here is that Knol is already being penetrated by corporate shills – indeed there is a wonderful article on Dr. Tom Lue by Tom Lue himself. Clearly, the age of Googling for yourself is being supplanted by getting an article on yourself ON Google. Watch out for my own entry on Knol entitled “Abe Namer: The Many Wonderful Disguises of Allan Benamer” under “Stuff”.

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  • On 07.24.08 Chad said:

    Remember when we talked last night and I mentioned eTapestry? (c:

    We acquired eTapestry long before this knol was written. The sector still wants and demands various options for technology deployment, and that is why, with Blackbaud, nonprofits can self-host, host their apps with us, or choose from our currently available and forthcoming SaaS options. (Now including Kintera Sphere.)

  • On 07.24.08 Peter Gulka said:

    I wonder what the etiquette will be on writing articles about yourself.

    The evolution on Blackbaud to a SaaS model seems to me like a no-brainer. The success fo their hosting services programs was likley a very strong indicator that this is a direction they need to head.

    I just don’t see this as all that groundbreaking. Natural progression. I really WANT to be shocked and amazed by news like Raiser’s Edge 8 coming in 2009, or the RE 7 API being released for free, or things like that.

  • On 07.24.08 Allan Benamer said:

    @Chad, I get that Blackbaud wants to be a SaaS, but pardon me for not usually making the connection. Without an active developer ecosystem around Blackbaud and APIs that aren’t open in the same manner as say a, it’s really hard to always draw that connection mentally. I mean gee, the eTapestry API still won’t let you do calls to multiple records and even the announcement surrounding the API admitted this. I think of Blackbaud right now as more of an ASP model than a SaaS model. It’s semantics sure but I think ASP more accurately reflects the current state of Blackbaud.

    What I don’t like is Blackbaud seizing on “Software as a Service” in Knol, having an article written about it by a member of its Board of Directors and with no attribution that the writer, is in fact a member of the Board of Directors of Blackbaud. Less knowledgeable readers would never know the subtle change in point of view caused by Timothy Chou’s involvement with Blackbaud.

    It’s, as they say in politics, inartful.

    Then again, it already highlights the major weakness of Knol. Oddly enough, the impetus towards monetization and the single-writer concept for an article conspire to create a lot of articles that seem to be the Web’s equivalent of vanity publishing. Compare the Knol article to the Wikipedia article on SaaS and you’ll see a striking difference in tone and external citations.

  • On 07.24.08 Allan Benamer said:

    @Peter, yes, I too am looking forward to Blackbaud’s switch to an SaaS model but even the Knol article states that right now they’re in a mixed state with traditional software still as one of their business models.

  • On 07.25.08 Knol Article Touting Blackbaud Now Unpublished | Non-Profit Tech Blog said:

    [...] a rather surprising move, the Knol article that I had mentioned a couple of days ago has -poof-  vanished into the ether. We’re now left with a “Knol not published” [...]

  • On 07.25.08 David Zeidman said:

    I don’t agree with what Tim did nor do I truely believe that Blackbaud is a SaaS company or even really much of a mixed mode company but I don’t agree with Allan’s definition of a SaaS as having to have a free API with a large dedicated ecosystem of developers.

    It seems as though Allen is modelling his definition of SaaS around Salesforce where in reality Saas is more than just one company.

  • On 07.25.08 Allan Benamer said:

    @David Zeidman, I was taking it easy on Blackbaud when I gave those defining characteristics. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

    • network-based access to, and management of, commercially available software
    • activities that are managed from central locations rather than at each customer’s site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web
    • application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
    • centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades.

    Yowza — that’s more difficult than mine in many respects. Yes, I know eTap (as I was reminded by Blackbaud folks) does fit that feature set somewhat but the rest of Blackbaud’s product line doesn’t at all. I don’t think eTapestry alone though should allow Blackbaud to claim the SaaS mantle unless eTapestry accounts for a significant portion of Blackbaud’s sales. We all know that belongs to Raiser’s Edge — most people consider themselves lucky if they can use Terminal Services to get into RE much less use the Web.

    And you’re right, is but one example of SaaS, but other SaaS platforms like Netsuite follow similar patterns of openness when it comes to programmability. This would be like Blackbaud claiming it was a Formula One race car on the basis that it too had four wheels and a steering wheel when in fact, it was merely a Honda Accord. Blackbaud is free to make “me too” marketing campaigns but they should be aware that the user community is watching.

  • On 02.23.13 totcehoudis said:


  • On 07.24.14 article writing software forum said:

    article writing software forum…

    Blackbaud tries to sell itself off as Software As a Service… using Google’s Knol | Non-Profit Tech Blog…

speak up

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