Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:industry news“

A Few Notes on Security

DIA competitor Convio suffered a major security breach that unfolded publicly last week, as many readers may know. This post is well past its immediate news cycle, but we've quite understandably been asked in light of that event about our own security procedures as well, and wanted to put them on the record. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, the thumbnail version is that a compromised password enabled an intruder to download scores of Convio clients' lists ... and that those downloads included hundreds of thousands or millions of plain text (rather than encrypted) versions of ordinary users' passwords. The NTEN blog summarizes the affair here. Allan Benamer's initial alert -- and accompanying comment thread -- have a lot more. Any system could be hacked or compromised, of course; this is a risk all online providers face and strive to minimize -- we're doing the reflexive sympathetic wince over here that you do when someone on TV gets clobbered in a sensitive spot. But beyond the initial intrusion, the compromised passwords are the real problem. Since many users re-use the same passwords across many different systems -- including financial presences such as online banking, PayPal, and the like -- it's potentially hugely damaging. So, most importantly for users of DemocracyInAction's Salsa platform: this particular aspect of the breach has not happened and could not happen in our system. We use, and always have used, industry-standard one-way encryption algorithms to protect passwords for all users and campaign managers. Neither intruders nor organization administrators nor users themselves can ever actually see even their own password.

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The Great Awakening

'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' -Luke 15:31-32 It's time to slay the fatted calf. As a hybrid nonprofit/tech provider, DIA's animating vision has always been empowering nonprofits. Open APIs have been a bedrock assumption of that understanding since day one: as our guy put it on last year's Open API debate, "nonprofits can do more than vendors can imagine they can do". Kintera and Convio just got a little religion, too. And since we're not above glorying in converts, we're excited to see the big commercial players starting to come around. Judi Sohn and Michelle Murrain have more about those announcements. Allan Benamer has some thoughts from a coders' standpoint. Personally, I'm pretty much in Beth's boat -- "wouldn't know an API from Ape if it stood right in front of me beat its chest".
Above: an image capture of a third-party application that increments a counter based on data pulled from our API
But I've seen some groups use our API to do some pretty cool stuff, often stuff we had no idea they were doing. Mashing up with outside applications, custom data sets and (of course) Google maps. Radically customizing pages -- even reworking DIA-hosted pages. Content management integration. Arranging custom database syncs.

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Manifest Destiny? DIA Opens WiredRockies in Montana

The nonprofit community is not confined to major metropolitan areas, and the tools and services available to nonprofits shouldn't be, either. So on the heels of our westward foray to the Bay, we are excited to announce the launch of our new WiredRockies office, based in Missoula, Montana. Jeanette Russell will serve as our Western Field Director providing strategic and technical support for DIA clients and organizations. "Jnet" brings over 12 years of experience as an environmental leader and knows grassroots organizing, non-profit management and fundraising, besides the technology turn that's redefining her nickname. Our WiredRockies office is designed to increase the effectiveness of DIA users and expand our western network. It will also provide technical resource in rural areas, where online communication support is sparse. DIA's Western Field office means that clients can expect:

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DIA Opens San Francisco Office

We've gone low-key with the launch, just sort of easing into things, but the rumors are out there and it's time to cop to them. DIA San Francisco is here. As many know, DIA was born in Washington D.C. (it's good of you not to hold that against us). It's been obvious from day one, though, that a lot of the best things in the space hail, like all good-hearted people, from points west, and we've long had our eye on opening up in the crucible of progressive nonprofit action that is the Bay Area. It'll enable us to offer a local support, training and networking presence, and further to the last of these, Californians should save July 13, when we'll be celebrating our opening along with the first anniversary of the San Francisco Nonprofit Technology Center on whose futons we're crashing. There'll be more communications about (and from) San Fran going ahead, and west coast clients especially should keep 'em peeled for accessing later support hours. And just to step out on a proper leave-em-hangin' conclusion: it's not the last new DIA local you'll be hearing about this summer.

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Salsa Is Here: Get It Free With a DIA Empowers Grant

There was a star danced, and under that was I born. -Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing Well, it's here, as you may have heard a few times. (Relive the announcement here if you must, on the Salsa updates blog.) At some time today -- no one can say the hour or the place any more than the meaning -- Salsa became. It's the end of the day. The party is already beginning to crank. It's been a devil of a ride, not that it's over yet, as the views into tool development (see here, here, here and here, and check back tomorrow [update: here] besides) indicate, though plenty of the hours logged are the unbloggable drudgery of bug-spotting and -swatting.
To mark the occasion, we're giving it away. No foolin' -- get a year's service on us, with no lock-in, hidden fees or other nasty surprises with a DIA Empowers Grant. Even signups with our regular low-low, won't-be-undersold fees are taking it in the shorts: pocket $500 for beer money (or, if you're coming to the bash tonight, hangover remedy).

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DemocracyInAction's New User Interface Debuts

DemocracyInAction campaign managers yesterday were invited to the birth of our new user interace, Salsa, which reached its public beta phase. We'll have a great deal more to say about Salsa, whose innovations and extensibility extend very far beyond the more obvious boon of usability, for weeks and months to come. That will of course include more structured webinars and feature presentations. But for now -- for any admin-permissioned campaign managers who haven't checked it out, and for anyone in the broader world who wants to know what they're missing -- we've got baby pictures. You know how it is with proud parents. Here's what you'll see the first time you log in (and click any of these images for a larger version): salsaDashboard More on the flip ...

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Shareholder Revolt Shakes Kintera

The Nonprofit Tech Blog unearths from Kintera's Edgar filing a letter from minority shareholders calling on the management that has led KNTA stock to the brink of de-listing to step aside. PICnet has more ... including share prices with the following disclaimer: "Warning: the graphic after the jump may not be suitable for Kintera shareholders." With GetActive absorbed by Convio and Kintera seemingly facing insolvency or irrelevancy, the shape of the early-aughts CRM terrain is being resculpted before our eyes.

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Convio/GetActive Merger Scuttlebutt

The Feb. 1 The Nonprofit Times (link goes to a funky webbook display of their latest issue; you have to click through the specific article) has a cover story on the Convio/GetActive merger putting some speculative dollar amounts on the table and reporting that the purchase was a "nine month" wooing that almost broke off around Dec. 22 for yet-to-be-leaked reasons. It also indulges the speculation (see, for instance, the comment thread at this EchoDitto post) that an IPO is

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CRM Marketplace Narrows as Convio Buys GetActive

Two of the major commercial players in the eCRM space are -- to the shock of seemingly everyone -- tying the knot with Convio buying out GetActive. (Ryan at PICnet graciously reprinted the entire announcement message.) Quite a psychedelic life arc for GetActive, from the petrie dish at Environmental Defense to commercial standalone with a progressive rep to acquisition by the company that provoked a blogswarm by signing on anti-gay groups. Funny, in last month's scorecard of the 2006 tech predictions, Phil at CompuMentor got dinged for forecasting "a shakeout in the nonprofit ASP field, including mergers and acquisitions." Missed that one by 17 days. This is going to significantly alter the playing field for nonprofits. With the last member of the Big Three, Kintera, perpetually in the red, it's quite possible this is going to leave ConActive as the last commercial titan standing -- perhaps facing off with Blackbaud as it ramps into e-CRM. However it goes down, the dynamics and consequences are going to be far-reaching. And though we're somewhat biased, it's good occasion to consider alternatives. Why?
  • GetActive clients now have to learn a new toolset, whether they would or no ... so that particular pain point of transition is a nonissue.
  • The challenges of integrating across systems will make the switchover a bumpy ride, virtually by definition.
  • Convio has been, for the most part, a higher-end player than GetActive, with GetActive a less-expensive commercial alternative. Under even less competitive pressure, one has to think fees stand to increase in general -- though when that happens and whether that's specifically the case for any particular organization or sector of the market still remains to be seen.

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