SAN FRANCISCO – On its website, Salesforce.com sells touts dealer Camping World as a leading customer of its business software, highlighting the use of products to help sales staff move the product. A Camping World Executive is even quoted as calling Salesforces software "magic."
But behind the scenes in recent weeks, Silicon Valley tech giant has delivered another message to arms retailing retailers such as Camping World: Stop selling military style rifles or stopping using our software.
Pressed Salesforce Exercises on These Dealers – Prevents them from using its technology to market products, manage customer service operations, and fulfill orders – put them in a difficult position. For example, Camping World spends more than $ 1 million a year on Salesforce's e-commerce software, according to an analyst's estimate. Switching to another provider could now cost the company twice as much to migrate data, reconfigure systems and retrain employees.
The change in Salesforce's acceptable usage policy shows how a technology giant, which is mostly unknown to the public, is trying to influence retailers in America selling and changing the dynamics of a charged social problem. While Salesforce is hardly a household name, it is a dominant provider of software and services that help companies manage their customers. With around 40,000 employees and a market value of nearly $ 120 billion, it has become a behemoth in San Francisco. Its branded skyscraper also towers over the city as the tallest building and a great landmark.
But its decision to force its position on guns on retailers was not good with some industry advocates. These types of rules are "corporate-policy virtue signaling" and discriminate gun owners whose rights are protected by the second amendment, said Mark Oliva, director of public affairs director of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trading group.
"It's a very chilling effect when a company as big as Salesforce prepares a policy like this," Oliva said. "A policy like this is not surprising from a company based in that part of the country."
Salesforce's new policy binds customers selling a number of firearms – including automatic and semi-automatic – from using its e-commerce technology. The policy also prevents customers from selling some firearm parts, such as "more than 10 rounds of magazines" and "multi-burst trigger devices".
The change affects "a small number of existing customers when their current contracts expire," as well as all new customers, Salesforce spokeswoman Gina Sheibley said. She refused to mention specific customers, but Camping Worlds Gander Outdoor unit sells a number of semi-automatic firearms and high capacity magazines. Camping World executives did not respond to multiple requests for comments.
Guns sales have become a political flashpoint for retailers in the aftermath of shootings like this one this month in Colorado. This year, Dick's Sporting Goods said it would pull weapons and ammunition out of the shelves of 125 of its 720 stores, a move that the company recognized in a March security pledge led to "an accelerated decline" in its hunting business. . Walmart completed the sale of military-style firearms in 2015, and last year it raised the minimum age for the purchase of firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21.
Even companies that have no gun-related business take a stand. Levi Strauss & Co. promised more than $ 1 million In September, to support nonprofits and youth activists working to finish arms. Two months later, Toms Shoes promised $ 5 million to similar organizations.
When technological giants enter into the broader debate, the consequences are enlarged because of the critical services they provide behind the scenes to the customers. Consumers often do not understand that they interact with other companies when placing an item in their shopping cart or chatting with a customer service representative. But Salesforce and other big tech companies have significant influence due to the dependence on their software.
This type of activism has also led to criticism of technical companies that exceeded their limits. Facebook, Google and Twitter have all faced increased control over censorship of what they consider hate speech or dangerous individuals. Web security provider Cloudflare faced criticism in 2017 that it denied free speech rights after dragging its protection against a neo-Nazi website involved in organizing the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Salesforce's new policy could prove controversial in conservative states, stifel nicolaus analyst tom roderick, who gave estimates of camping world spending on the company's e-commerce software. "Is this a hot-button issue in states where people like their assault?" Roderick said.
It's not Salesforce's first experience with social activism. The company also offers technology that helps the power of US Customs and Border Protection Agency Border and Agent Recruitment, which has increased the study when the Agency implemented Trump management policies that included separating families at the US-Mexico border. Last summer, 650 Salesforce employees signed a letter to CEO Marc Benioff who raised concerns about the agency's use of its products, first reported by Bloomberg News.
The company hired a director in December to run his new Office of Ethical and human use to guide the development and sale of his products. It is unclear whether the new director has contributed to the development of the firearms policy.
Benioff has been among the most prominent CEOs on social and political issues, including a tweet last year of the day after mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. left 17 people dead.
"AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. Prohibited it," he wrote.
A month later, he promised $ 1 million to March for our lives, a group pushing arms control laws.
At the World Economic Forum in 2018 in Davos, Switzerland, Benioff proposed social media, such as Facebook, to be regulated as Big Tobacco because of their similarly addictive nature.
He also publicly campaigned against a controversial Indiana law, the religious freedom regeneration law, in 2015, arguing that it could discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Salesforce, which today had 1,400 employees in Indianapolis, threatened to "dramatically reduce" the company's investment in the state before the lawyer finally changed the law.
Benioff declined to comment on the company's new arms trade policy. 19659025] Salesforce is not the only e-commerce software provider to decide on gun sales. Shopify, which manages over 800,000 online shopping sites, has also changed its acceptable use policy last year to get customers to use their technology to sell weapons such as automatic and semi-automatic firearms.