Say what you will about Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga, salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) is making a play to be a player on the Social Web. Today, the company said it would acquire social media monitoring service Radian6 for $326 million in cash and stock.

In a statement, CEO Marc Benioff said the deal has the potential to "extend the value of all our offerings" as it helps to accelerate growth. He's probably right.

Radian6 solves an important problem for Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), among others, in that it filters the entirety of the Social Web to help employees find complaints, engage prospects, and otherwise gather intelligence.

Benioff's known the value of this sort of monitoring for a while, as have his peers at Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL). Both companies have a working relationship with Radian6. In salesforce.com's case, Radian6 monitoring is a key ingredient to the company's recently upgraded Service Cloud 3.

There's also Chatter to consider. Like Yammer and Jive, Chatter creates private social networks for companies. Benioff called the capability "core" to his business in a recent interview and hinted at why partnering with Radian6 might not be enough.

"The problem with other Facebook [and] Twitter-like services is that they are just stand-alone feeds. There is no integrated customer and corporate transaction data," Benioff said at the time.

Integration is the key word there. In buying Radian6, salesforce.com is making a play to be the dominant platform for pitching and serving customers wherever they are -- even when they're just hanging out on the Social Web's varying virtual watercoolers.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about cloud computing, salesforce.com's strategy, and the rise of the Social Web using the comments box below.

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