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Jun 9, 2008

IM, Widgets, Mobile - Social Web Targets Money

Ed: Meebo, 10 mobile sites, and RockYou widgets target advertisers. Is each equivalent to ONE TV show? Does it make sense for the ONE show to be burdened with the high cost of ad sales? Venture backed, is the real goal an acquisition?

Meebo introduces interactive ads, another step towards social web sites making money

We were hard on instant message startup Meebo in March when it was raising a $25 million round at a $200 million valuation. While it has gained tens of millions of users in a couple of years, it has yet to generate significant revenue...

The larger trend, as we’ve covered, is that social networks and other web services are trying to figure out how they can connect brand advertisers with their millions of users. If it turns out that Meebo users — the majority of whom are teenagers or twentysomethings — do like to share these ads, then Meebo may start making some serious money. Advertisers are looking for more precise ways of reaching these younger audiences. Social networks and social services like Meebo replace time spent watching TV or reading the newspaper, but brand advertising on these sites has until recently been limited to poorly-performing banner ads.

And so, if Meebo’s effort works, it will likely be duplicated and iterated upon by other social services that provide IM. For example, Facebook’s own IM service, only recently launched, could likely run similar ads.

10 Mobile Social Networks to Check Out

Earlier today we covered a mobile social network called Buzzd, which will be featured at the music festival Bonnaroo. In this post we outline 10 mobile social networks to keep your eye on. It's a developing field - and there are issues such as hardware compatibility to overcome - but we expect some of these services to make a big impact in the next year or two. Because, as Sarah Perez recently noted, with 975 million Mobile Web users expected by 2012, this is a potentially very lucrative market...

Slide Got Theirs, Now RockYou Gets Some Too

Back in January Slide pulled off a whopper of a financing for an effectively pre-revenue startup:$50 million, valuing the company at a cool half billion dollars. Not bad.

No one was surprised to hear that arch-rivalRockYou would soon close a big round of their own. And we have not been dissapointed. Today RockYou is announcing a $35 millionSeries C round, led by DCM. Previous investors include Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, and First Round Capital—none of which are mentioned as participating in the current round. The company had raised just $16.5 million over two previous rounds, bringing their total to $51.5 million.

RockYou is the second-most popular creator of applications on Facebook (after Slide), and says that its widgets are seen by 87.5 million people a month across the Web (compared to Slide’s 63.7 million). The company also offers OpenSocial applications that have been installed 10 million times. RockYou sells social-networking ads against the audience for its widgets. At 2.7 billion pageviews a month, that’s a lot of advertising inventory.

Now it just has to figure out how to get more people to click on them...

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