Serial entrepreneur and investor Bill Gross is "completely smitten" with social media.
"The way it's connecting the planet, it's a new connective tissue for knowledge sharing," he told CNET during an interview last week. "It's really, really unbelievable."
As Gross sees it, the only hurdles today's social networks face are relevance and monetization. Not surprisingly, his latest social offering, dubbed Chime.in, is an effort to address both issues. Chime.in will formally launch today at 11:05 a.m. PST--timed to coincide with a live demo by Bill Gross himself at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
Does the world want to join yet another social network? Gross and a team of 40 engineers worked like crazy over the past five months to prepare Chime.in for its unveiling today. Of course, they maintain, they have a shot.
The CEO of UberMedia takes risks and bets big. Gross has backed more than 100 companies over three decades, including GoTo.com, the first company to successfully provide an Internet search engine parlaying paid-search and pay-per-click advertisements. His Pasadena, Calif.-based company, owned by Idealab, which independently develops social applications like UberSocial and Echofon, last year put up a hardy fight for TweetDeck, an extremely popular application for sending and viewing tweets and profiles, but Twitter beat him to it for an estimated $40 million to $50 million.
Chime.in's public beta has already hit a few snags. The mobile app inadvertently went live yesterday morning in the App Store. That was a mistake, and the app was quickly pulled.
Chime.in's public beta is designed as a browser-based application. Apps for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry mobile platforms will be made available today.
Regarding relevance, Gross said, there's too much noise on social networks. "It's very hard to filter the good stuff from the bad." Chime.in aims to offer both branded and user-generated content. At launch, Disney, Bravo TV, and Universal Pictures have signed on as partners.
On the monetization front, Gross told CNET that "monetization take place where engagement takes place." Publishers on Chime.in, no matter what size, take 100 percent of ad revenue from ads that they place and 50 percent from ads that UberMedia places.
Correction and update, 11:45 a.m. PT: This story misrepresented the career history of UberMedia CEO Bill Gross, who formally unveiled and launched Chime.in at the Web 2.0 Summit.