Instant-messaging service Meebo announced on Thursday that it has inked a deal with Hearst Magazines Digital Media that will bring its Meebo Rooms chat tools to the sites of glossies such as Popular Mechanics and Seventeen.
"Meebo is excited to provide readers of Seventeen.com and other Hearst Magazines Digital Media Web sites with a live forum to chat with people who share similar interests and differing opinions," Martin Green, chief operating officer at Meebo, said in a statement.
In tandem with the partnership announcement, Seventeen.com integrated Meebo's technology into its "Style Stars 2008" feature to allow visitors to browse photos, read articles, and watch videos of celebrities while they chatted in real time with others on the site. Hearst believes that the chatting-while-browsing formula will generate a lively community around its properties and help engage audiences more effectively.
And so far, the company is pleased with the results. According to its own figures, Popular Mechanics generated more than 20,000 lines of conversation in the first 48 hours from a single online article, and the Meebo chat room associated with it was loaded about 70,000 times by 30,000 unique visitors.
Meebo's ability to bring its embeddable chat rooms to Hearst is a major victory for the instant-messaging specialist. Although it is largely competing against the likes of Yoomba and eBuddy to serve as a log-in hub for outside messaging services such as those of AOL, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft, embedding chat rooms into other sites makes it unique and adds a new angle for revenue generation that its competitors simply don't have. And if its Meebo Rooms catch on, it could find itself in an extremely lucrative position.