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News Editor

Genius? … You be the judge

May 01, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

Name your startup Genius and you had better come across with the goods.

Genius, Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., emerges from behind the curtain today with its first product — dubbed SalesGenius — a Web analytics tool for sales and marketing professionals that the company touts as requiring no IT department involvement or coding to use.

The hard-chargers in sales and marketing are sure to love the autonomy, although how that “feature” goes over with IT departments remains to be seen.

Genius CEO David Thompson — see what I mean about the company name? — formerly the top marketing guy at WebEx, walked me through the basics of SalesGenius last week (using WebEx, naturally). The IM-like interface looks friendly enough, and while I know absolutely nothing about how to sell, the concept wasn’t difficult to appreciate.

From the company’s press release: “The patent-pending Genius Tracker™, an Instant Messenger-like client, alerts users immediately when prospects open their SalesGenius e-mail and opt to click to the corporate Web site. One-click replay shows which pages have been visited and for how long. The result is that sales professionals have instant access to the information they need to qualify prospective customers and target their specific interests. Sales professionals can then prioritize call-backs to the most interested prospects and offer personalized follow-up.”

They didn’t want to talk about future iterations, but it doesn’t take a genius to imagine that direct interactive capabilities will be forthcoming.

But how are those prospects going to take to the idea that their every move is being watched?

“Our customers have learned to be sensitive,” Thompson said. “Jumping on the customer just because they’re on the Web site isn’t necessarily the best way of doing business with them.”

Genius is the second company to show me this type of visitor-tracking capability in recent weeks (Proficient Systems was the other). And something tells me it’s going to take more than sensitivity to get some prospects comfortable with this kind of product.

Pricing for SalesGenius starts at $49 per person per month, with enterprise licenses available. You can try it for free at

News Editor

In addition to my editing duties, I have written Buzzblog since January, 2006 and wrote the 'Net Buzz column in Network World's dearly departed print edition for 13 years. Feel free to e-mail me at