Microsoft acquires socl.com domain name. Is it a threat to Facebook and Google+ ?


Microsoft recently acquired the domain name socl.com, leading to speculations that Microsoft is getting in to the social networking again. In this article, I will discuss available details of the socl.com website and it's history with Microsoft.

On July 14th, a blogger discovered that Microsoft acquired socl.com and accidentally leaked out an internal project of Microsoft. According to the information available in the website, Microsoft is working on some projects related to social networking.

Many websites and blogs on the web suggests it is an answer from Microsoft to the recent newsmaker "Google+". However, I really doubt if there is any truth in that, for several reasons:

1. If Microsoft is working on a social networking project, and if they want to keep it as a secret project, they will not publish it on a public domain. There are hundreds of companies, bloggers and corporate spies watching what is Microsoft is even thinking. So, if they decide to publish a secret project, they must have some real idiots out there, which I doubt. There are higher chances that Microsoft purposefully leaked out some information to slow down the attention Google+ is getting these days. They just wanted to feed the bloggers with another topic to chew on for few days.

2. The screenshots of the website "socl.com" showed sign in with Facebook or Twitter. If Microsoft want to come up with it's own social networking website, the chances of offering a Facebook or Twitter sign on is low. Why would Microsoft promote it's own competitors?

What is socl.com really?


There is no official comments from Microsoft on what is socl.com. In my personal view, this is one of hundreds of internal projects Microsoft have. By nature of the research projects, there is no guarantee that such projects will go live ever. Any product based companies have to design, prototype, develop and throw away several projects before they finally decide to launch some products. socl.com could be one of those research projects or could be a prototype.

What is obvious is, socl.com has something to do with social networking. Even if it is not a full fledged social networking website, there are chances that it is something related it. One speculation is, it could be a search engine for social networking. It will be a cool idea to have a search engine that search only the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Will socl.com compete with Google+ ?


It is very hard to predict if socl.com is going to compete with Google+ since we are not sure what exactly is socl.com is meant for. Google+ is getting a lot of media and bloggers attention these days. Since social networking websites are growing too fast and almost anyone on the web has a Facebook account, there are chances that Microsoft too wants it's share of it. However, competing with well established Facebook and newly launched Google+ will be a real challenge for Microsoft, if they try to get in to the social war. May be Microsoft is too late.

socl.com history: Who owns socl.com?


When the new social networking website news was filling the tech news, I started some research on the domain name. This is what I found:

  • socl.com domain name is owned by Microsoft, according to domain registry information.

  • socl.com domain was registered on 21 Oct 1998

  • socl.com was last updated on 12 Jul 2011

  • socl.com doman registration - social networking website from Microsoft?

  • The original socl.com website was taken off by Microsoft already. all you see there now is a message like this:
    Thanks for stopping by.  

    Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web.

    We didn't mean to, honest.


  • Socl.com domain current status

  • Here is a screenshot of original www.socl.com website, captured by this blogger.


  • Tulalip - socl.com original website screenshot

    Image Courtesy: http://fusible.com/2011/07/new-microsoft-social-search-service-called-tulalip-revealed-on-socl-com/

  • socl.com was earlier used by DHL courier service. I took a look at the wayback machine and found that this domain was earlier used by courier and freight companies during year 2005.

    socl.com was used by DHL


  • Is Microsoft really launching a social networking website?


    No one other than Microsoft can answer this question. It is highly possible that Microsoft will make an attempt since almost everyone on the web no uses some sort of social networking services. Even though Facebook is well established and Google+ is moving too fast, considering the marketing power of Microsoft, it is not hard for Microsoft to get it's own place in the social web. Let us wait and watch the social network competition.


    Article by Tony John
    Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

    Follow Tony John or read 646 articles authored by Tony John

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    Comments

    Author: Bharath18 Jul 2011 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for giving this article to everyone. It is really nice to see an article in this topic. Keep on contributing like this.



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