Meebo Turns Into One Big Ad, But Users Seem To Like It

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Web chat service Meebo, always innovative with advertising, is trying out something fairly aggressive: full takeover ads that show a persistent advertisement in the background.

The company says that they already got 1% or higher click throughs on existing ads units on the site, which included rollovers at the bottom of the screen and another unit right in the middle. But the new units actually take over the entire background of the site, meaning users are literally slammed with the messaging. They are presented with an option of removing the add with a click.

And the users don’t seem to mind at all.

Founder/CEO Seth Sternberg wrote a blog post today on the new ads and asked for user feedback. Most of the 100+ comments to the post are very positive. Example comments:

“Awesome…Black is a really nice look for Meebo…The ad is really subtle, too — not all up in your face…“Did we strike a good balance between not disturbing your use of Meebo, while acknowledging the need to run ads?”…Hell to the yes!”

“I read your message about why the background changed and everything, and I definitely agree with what you’re saying. (Especially the sucky, flashy ads that cover your page you’re trying to view). With that said, nice work! I actually really like the way the ad is incorporated into the background, and slightly opaque. It’s not too distracting, and if the ads are helping you guys out, by all means, keep doing it this way! : )”

“I think this is a brilliant way to put ads up without being obtrusive and annoying. No one likes banner ads or popups. This does look like a good balance. I hate ads as much as the next guy, but know the need for them to support your business, and the fact that you concidered your clientell in your design means a lot. It means my willingness not to click the ‘backtoblue’ button and get rid of it because it simply being there and me not clicking is paying you for a job well done.”

YouTube, ESPN, MySpace and others have tried similar ads in the past, and these things command great fees. If Meebo really has gotten the users to buy into this, we may be seeing similar stuff all over the place, and soon.

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