Meebo wants to import the check-in phenomenon popularized by social/mobile apps like Foursquare to the Web.
The social media company is set to introduce a new product which will allow Web users to check in to content sites—like they might check in to a restaurant or bar on Foursquare—and alert their friends or other like-minded individuals. Eventually, as part of this new initiative, users will be able to instantly share content using Meebo’s patented drag-and-drop functionality from site’s they’ve checked into—regardless of whether they are Meebo partners.
Meebo is planning to roll out the new check-in system in stages, according to chief revenue officer Carter Brokaw. At first, users who want to participate will need to download a browser plug in from Meebo.com—the Meebo MiniBar.
Then, starting next month a Meebo check-in Meebo will start appearing on several charter partner’s sites, including Macy’s, Sprint, L’Oréal Professional and CMT. Then eventually all of the 8,000 sites that employ the Meebo toolbar, including a slew of content sites like EW.com and TechCrunch, will begin featuring the check-in option.
It’s an open question as to whether Web users will want to be slowed down during their surfing sessions, or broadcast their reading habits to others. But Brokaw said that Meebo’s check-in service was designed as a “very light-weight action”—one that should appeal to passionate consumers of nearly any kind of high-interest content, such as sports fans. And may at times serve them better than search.
“For example, if I’m a big Notre Dame fan, I might not know all the other Notre Dame–related sites that are out there. But this helps me find them,” said Brokaw. “Imagine the impact of having humans influence Web surfing instead of what an algorithm tells [them].”
Meebo has not yet ironed out its monetization plans for its check-in product. But given the mix of retail and content partners involved, Brokaw said that his team saw several possibility for reward-driven loyalty programs. As part of Meebo’s initiative, users will be incented to check in to their favorite sites frequently, in order to earn VIP status.