Another day, another social network: Bill Gross chimes in

October 17, 2011

How many social networks does the world need?

Bill Gross, the man credited with pioneering the search advertising business, believes there’s room for one more.

On Monday, Gross’ Ubermedia unveiled Chime.in, a social media “platform organized around interests.”

The idea is to make it easier for people to cull the sea of social media content and home in on specific topics of interest, whether it’s photography, Indian cuisine or neighborhood-specific news.

Anyone can create a group around any topic, and Chime says its algorithms can recommend groups to join and people to follow based on personal interests.  Users can also endorse other people’s Chime posts by clicking on them, helping the more popular items gain prominence on the service.

In addition to what it contends is improved relevance of information on the site, Chime also says it has novel ways for users to profit from their social activities. Starting next year, any person who creates a topic group on Chime will be able to offer online advertising to go along with it, the company says.

Chime will offer an inventory of ads, sold by its salesforce, which the creator of a topic group in Chime can incorporate onto their Web page, with Chime taking a cut of the revenue. Or the creator of a group can strike their own deals with advertisers for the space on their Chime Web page, and keep all the revenue.

Of course, managing social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and, recently Google+, is practically becoming a second-job for some.  Chime is asking users to invest yet more time and effort, so as to refine their profile of interests and to manage advertising. That’s no small ask.

And it’s worth noting that UberMedia’s initial forays into the social media landscape have been rocky. The company’s efforts to develop an advertising system based around Tweets on third-party apps resulted in some clashes with Twitter – which is now developing its own in-house advertising service.

But Gross has a proven knack for figuring out online business models. Now he just needs to convince the world to chime in.

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So how does one get invited to Chime.In?

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