Web based instant messaging provider Meebo will launch Meebo Rooms tonight. Like MeeboMe, which allows users to embed a widget on a website where visitors can chat with the publishers, this is a significant new product that will appeal to new set of users.
Users can now create their own chat box that appears on Meebo and can also be embedded into a website. The room can be themed and customized by the publisher (see screen shots). Users subscribe to the Meebo Room by adding it to their buddy list. Others can be invited and will receive a URL to click; they can join immediately even if they are not a Meebo user.
This is a really cool feature – if anyone adds a link to media, say a YouTube video, the video is automatically embedded into the chat for users to view/hear.
The company is announcing a number of partnerships who are launching their own branded Meebo Rooms tonight. Partners include blip.tv, Capitol Music Group, CNET, CollegeHumor, Flixster, Hearst Magazine Group’s Popular Mechanics, Jive Records, MTV Networks’ GameTrailers.com, NBC Universal, RockYou, Sugar Publishing, and VIBE Magazine. See the flixster room here as an example.
Each Meebo room is currently limited to 80 simultaneous users. CEO Seth Sternberg says that they are working to increase that limit and keep the rooms stable. An interim solution will be to simply create a new version of the room after 80 users are using the first one, and put the next group of 80 into a clone of the original room.
Meebo isn’t currently keeping permanent archives of the conversations in the rooms but says they will add that feature in the near future.
And Meebo now has advertising, too. Any video integrated into chat will include “lull advertising.” 15-30 second video ads will be shown between videos after a few are shown.
Meebo is based in Silicon Valley and has 16 employees. The company has raised $12.5 million over two rounds of financing – $3.5 million from Sequoia in 2005, and $9 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 2006.