Chat with your website visitors using MeeboMe

Meebo, the popular web-based service that allows you to chat with any of the four major IM networks (MSN, Yahoo, AIM or Jabber), launched their MeeboMe service, which allows website owners to chat with any visitor using their site, by way of a handy flash widget that is inserted into the site.

Meebo has been widely used as a convenient way to access all of the major IM networks from any computer with an Internet connection, since the web-based Ajax client doesn’t require any installation of software, thus making it like webmail – easy to access and use. They seem to have a pretty good privacy policy as well, which is good, since you must sign in with credentials (login/password) from whatever network you want to use; encryption is also used to prevent sniffing of passwords.

The new MeeboMe service seems quite useful – in certain situations. If you visit the site, you’ll see that once the website owner signs up, a flash-based chat widget can be placed on their site. Anytime someone visits the site and the widget loads, they show up as a visitor on the website owner’s Meebo IM list. By default, the chat widget is “on”, and the visitor can thus send messages to the website owner (if they’re online) in real-time, offering any comments or feedback they might have. Additionally, (and this could be sort of scary for first-time visitors), the website owner can initiate a conversation with any visitor! For most people, this would be surprising and possibly downright freakish, to see a website “talking back” to them.

For most websites, I don’t see this being really useful. After all, most visitors don’t really have anything to say to the owner/operator/designer of a website, and in fact, most mainstream users won’t even want to participate in any sort of online discussion. However, as I said before, in certain situations it could be very useful. For example, if you’re offering some sort of service or operating a store, having this chat widget could enable real-time live support for whatever products or service being offered. It could be provided either as an alternative or a alongside phone support, and the upside is that you wouldn’t need to implement your own system for the chat – Meebo has done it all for you, and set up time is next to nothing.

Currently, the chat widget doesn’t allow for communication between visitors at a website – it only allows for communication between the visitor at the website owner. However, this might be added in the future, but it’s worth it to know that Gabbly, a neat Ajax app, has provided this functionality for a little while, and could also be used in a similar manner to MeeboMe. It even provides you with the proper code needed to automatically embed the Gabbly application on your website, though some users might find the addition of any chat application on a website (by default) to be annoying and detrimental.


  1. The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

  2. Another great option for live chat is Habla. They offer a slick free live chat solution that beats Meebome on customization of the widget. Also, Habla ties into most other Instant Messaging clients.

    – Andrew

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