SAP should be thanking Cornelius. Instead, he gets a defensive e-mail from their "Business Community Manager". Yeah, you read that right...the person responsible for managing their business community. I love when job titles are ironic.
Communities are a great thing. People join formal communities (that require registration) because there is something specific they want to get from that community. Blogs can build community, but are a more open medium that sit outside the myopic scope of traditional member-based communities. Companies may want to protect themselves by only allowing the converted to access their blog content, but the real interesting conversations happen where people have differing interests.
It would be like me requiring that you send me your resume if you want to read my blog. Kind of defeats the purpose.
Come on SAP. Figure this one out. Your products and your brand are being talked about (both positively and negatively) whether you acknowledge it or not. You have a choice as to whether to be part of the conversation. And there's a lot of value in the conversation.
By the way, a little plug for Cornelius' blog, which I just discovered today through Technorati:
CorpBlawg is a web log on corporate/enterprise/business blogging that is maintained by Cornelius Puschmann.
Cornelius is currently a PhD student at the Department of English Language and Linguistics of the University of Duesseldorf, Germany. His interest in corporate blogging stems from the fact that he is writing his dissertation on the corporate blog as a genre, claiming (somewhat optimistically) that he can find linguistic features which are unique to corporate blogs.
Yeah, what that says is that Cornelius is pretty much smarter than the rest of us ; )