Meebo, the web-based IM aggregator site, has launched MeeboRooms. These chat rooms can be created on the fly by Meebo users. They can be public or private and users can theme them. Any public chat room can be embedded on a webpage and can be used by anonymous visitors. Any embedded MeeboRoom is accessible from both the embedded webpage and from Meebo’s site. This new feature will expose Meebo to a lot of new users and provide partner sites with chat rooms that can pull in an audience from across the web (instead of just their own site).
The chat rooms allow users to share and consume media together. Chat rooms have a media area. Paste in a link to Flickr photo page and the image will appear. Paste in a link to a video page on Google, YouTube, or MetaCafe and the video will appear in the media area and start to play. Paste in a link to a web page and a snapshot will appear. Meebo is using Snap’s preview to show the webpage. The media area will also show video ads. Still in a testing phase, they will come on when there is space in the media queue.
This will be popular with partners and as you can see from their list, they have quite a few already:
We’ve got Blip.tv, Capitol Music Group’s Capitol Records and Virgin Records, CNET, College Humor, Flixster, (let me take a breath…) GameTrailers.com, Jive Records, NBC Universal, Pop Sugar, (oooh, more!!!) Popular Mechanics, RockYou, Veoh, Us Weekly’s Us TV, and finally VIBE Magazine.
They have more partners coming, but they are metering them out while they work on scaling the new service. There will be an API in time. Right now RockYou is the only one with access; they will be embedding MeeboRooms in some games.
Since the rooms can be public there are always going to be griefers. To combat this they are filtering swear words in public rooms. For instance if a user types “shit” the other users will see “****”. The moderator (creator) of the chat room has the power to kick this person out.
Meebo does not intend to allow adult content into the public chat rooms. They are going to rely on their users to flag content. Meebo has also hired a person to handle associated adult content issues. They have not blacklisted any porn sites and are instead going to see what their users tell them is inappropriate.
It’s good to see Meebo adding a revenue model. As Rafe points out over on WebWare (scroll down), they have been sorely lacking in this front. But I wonder if video ads will really be able to make them enough revenue. Hopefully, they can get some revenue from their partner deals.
The chat rooms can be made private via a password and in the very near future there will be archive search. These two features can combine to make a compelling collaboration product. If Adium (my IM client) gets a plugin for MeeboRooms then I could see using this with people I am working with.