Blah, blah, blah: Help me find a website chat combined with internal chat software.
January 22, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a web chat for visitors to my company's website...

...and there are plenty out there. Here's the thing. I also would like it to be integrated with a internal chat system like Openfire Enterprise, but without the high price tag.

I potentially have 15-20 internal users (I'm including future hires in the next 2 months on that number), and it would be nice to be able to have a separate "tech support" chat and "sales information" chat that visitors could use.
posted by chrisfromthelc to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
It can be cheap or it can work. That's the way it goes with enterprise software.

Why not just buy market-leader LivePerson?
posted by GuyZero at 8:56 AM on January 22, 2008

I played with Velaro for a school project recently and was quite impressed. U of Wisconsin Madison libraries are using this as their virtual reference software, if you want to give it a try. You can also test drive it on Velaro's website....their sales reps with chat with you via it and are pretty good about answering questions. Pricing was reasonable when I asked. I think basic service was like $60 per "channel" per month, but that was school/library pricing.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:58 AM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: See, neither of those have the one feature that I must have, which is an private chat system between all of the agents. At least, it's not clear that they do if it is part of those solutions.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:01 AM on January 22, 2008

This make take a bit of work but it would seem like an internal IRC server would work for this and for a web chat you could easily install cgi-irc
posted by DJWeezy at 9:23 AM on January 22, 2008

We've used Openfire Enterprise for a few years now and like it quite a bit. At $15/user/year you're only looking at $300/year total for your 20 users, which for enterprise software is actually pretty cheap. They have 30 day trials last I checked so that you can evaluate it.
posted by togdon at 9:36 AM on January 22, 2008

Why does web site chat need to be integrated with the internal chat? You could implement Office Communicator internally and whatever else externally.
posted by GuyZero at 11:41 AM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: @togdon: We currently use Spark and Openfire (free version), and I love it. However, they now have a 250 user minimum on Enterprise subscriptions. That makes it $3700+ a year. Not worth it to me.

@Guyzero: We're currently doing that, and it's a pain. Plus, what we're using on the web side of things is very bareboned.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 3:23 PM on January 22, 2008

Ah, I wasn't aware of the limit since we're using Clearspace as well. There the limit is 25, so you'd be in it for $1725 (still a lot more than the $300/year it'd be if you could just license Openfire) and have a worthy replacement for Sharepoint that integrates well with the chat stuff.

I'd email them and see if they'd do a lower limit. I almost want to believe that the 250 is a typo, given that the limits on the other products are 25. They also have non-profit and non-commercial licensing if that applies.
posted by togdon at 1:04 PM on January 23, 2008

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