Chat Service Meebo Launches New Version Of Site Designed Around Competitive Sharing (!)

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You probably know Meebo as a service that lets you easily chat with friends across different IM services, but the company is now rolling out a new version of it’s site that’s designed around sharing. Think competitive sharing, like who can get the most traffic from their articles. It’s a big switch from the former Meebo Messenger IM site (which you can still find here).

I’ve been playing around with it, and here are some initial impressions. It’s like a cross between Twitter and Klout. The new user flow guides you to add a bookmarklet to your browser, and instructs you to use it to share any link you find on the web. The terminology is “check in,” as if sharing a link is like checking in to a physical location, I guess. There are options to share it with Facebook and Twitter friends or to other Meebo users.

After that, you can look at the new site to see how many people are clicking through based on your share. You can also see how many people are following and how many people you’re following. There’s also a history of everything you’ve shared. And if you follow friends on the service, you’ll be able to see their scores and compare yourselves to them.

The Meebo Bar is also getting the check in button, chief executive Seth Sternberg tells me today. The bar, a feature that web site owners add to the bottom of their sites to let users chat and share their content, will be a key way for this service to spread. It already has 100 million unique users in the US, according to comScore. You can see an example of it live now at philly.com. The bar is also now inside of the new Meebo site, too, so you can chat about your scores with friends.

The big plan here is for Meebo to become more of a central social repository for all the things you’re sharing across the web. You’d still use Facebook and/or Twitter as normal, but this site will help you track how much people actually look at what you’re sharing. It’s sort of like how web sites use Google Analytics, but for individual users in social services.

The big new web site isn’t the only news out today. Sternberg has a blog post up about the change, in which he discloses that the company is making revenue in the “mid 8 figure zone.”

Sternberg emphasizes to me that this release is the “.5 version” of the new Meebo site, and that we should expect a bunch more releases next year. So let the backlash among existing users begin as this big experiment in competitive sharing evolves.