Meebo Builds Ad Network Around Chat

Web-based instant messaging service meebo is building an ad network spanning chat rooms on a number of Web services partners, including Piczo, Revision3, Social Project, and Tagged.

Using an API (define), meebo partners and other publishers can embed IM-capable chat windows within their sites. Meebo will sell and serve ads in those windows and pay a 50 percent revenue share to its partners.

While the rooms are ready for visitors, meebo plans to spend the first quarter developing and testing various ad formats and ramping up its sales operation, according to VP of Business Martin Green. He said meebo is in talks with additional distribution partners and agencies.

Ads are targeted across the network by age, gender, interest, location, behavior, and registration information.

Rooms supported with the API will work in much the same way as rooms implemented last spring for, CNET, NBC Universal, RockYou and Sugar Publishing. The difference is “those rooms were hand built,” Green said, adding meebo will continue custom integrations like those it’s already built for Showtime’s “Dexter” and a Kanye West album release party. The platform allows content owners to stream music, videos, games, and other applications within the embedded application. It also enables activities like “co-shopping.”

Demand for the API has been driven largely by community and social networking sites, Green said. But he added news sites and blogs have shown interest as well, and will be able to create new rooms programmatically, meaning a separate room for each story, if desired. “People will read the story and want to talk with each other,” said Green. He likened the ability to conduct an IM chat instead of post comments to “a conversation versus post-it notes.”

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