Screenshot from Chime.in
What happens if you combine Twitter-like sharing, the depth of blogging and the voting mechanics of Reddit? You might get Chime.in, UberMedia’s take on social networking…
Chime.in, which makes its public debut Tuesday, shares some similarities to Twitter’s interface, but UberMedia CEO Bill Gross argues that his social network tackles completely different problems than Twitter or Facebook. Unlike Twitter, which describes itself as an “information network,” Gross describes Chime.in as an “interest network.”
Like other social networks, Chime.in lets users share content with others. It has a newsfeed, profile pages and a system for following other users. The social network doesn’t have status updates, though. Instead it has “chimes,” which are a cross between a Facebook status update and a blog post.
Users are allowed to write short articles on Chime.in — up to 4,000 characters. A chime displays a headline, the first few sentences of a chime, a piece of multimedia (an image, a video, etc.), a profile picture, interest tags and options for liking, commenting and sharing. Chimes included threaded comments that include a Reddit-style up or downvote system for surfacing the best comments to the top of a chime.
Gross says that having “yet another social network” isn’t a winning strategy, so Chime.in has a few differentiating factors that he believes will tip the scales in its favor. The biggest selling point is that users have control over their profiles, including the advertising and sponsors that run on the page. Users can include their own ads on the page and keep 100% of the revenue, or they can let UberMedia sell ads for their page and split the revenue 50-50.
Gross believes that control over revenue makes Chime.in more appealing to publishers that want to monetize themselves in social media. UberMedia has already struck deals with E! Online, Disney, Bravo and other publishers who will promote Chime.in while keeping control of the revenue they generate from it.
Chime.in is also built with the mobile world in mind. The mobile apps (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android) allow for all of the actions the website contains. Because of its complexity, the network isn’t available to feature phones, but in return the mobile versions of Chime.in work very much like the website.
One of the problems the social network’s app solves, Gross argues, is quick access to content. Gross says that getting content from Twitter’s mobile apps is a painful process: one has to go to the tweet, open the link and wait for the page to load. In contrast, Chime.in content loads almost instantly, thanks to caching and Chime.in actually hosting content rather than just linking to it.
UberMedia has a long road ahead to making Chime.in a success. The world is already flush with social networks and user fatigue. The company will have to convince millions of people that Chime.in is different enough and useful enough to use in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Gross believes that Chime.in’s focus on interests and its offer to let publishers keep the revenue they generate will make it an attractive choice for users, publishers and companies.