The most underhyped Silicon Valley success: Meebo

I read hundreds of blogs. Follow thousands of people on Twitter and FriendFeed. I’m seen as THE poster boy for the Silicon Valley echo chamber. But I don’t see much about Meebo, certainly not even close to the amount of talk that, say, Twitter gets (and Twitter has 1/10th the traffic that Meebo does). Why is Twitter on TechMeme nearly every week, but Meebo isn’t?

Well, recently I started seeing some mentions of them on sites like Read/Write Web so I wanted to find out what was up.

First of all, I was blown away. Second of all, I found I was so interested in the fact that this company has more than 20 million 35 million people using its services and most for hours every day (I heard the number wrong, and they corrected me this morning). Yet you probably don’t know Meebo’s CEO’s name. Unless you’re on the service you probably don’t even know about it.

Which is why I spent 40 minutes videoing a conversation with Meebo’s CEO, Seth Sternberg, learning about what’s happening in its business. This is like an MBA-level course on the latest advertising and community trends.  I also got a separate tour of their offices, if you want to see what those are like.

This is why I do video. It’s one thing to read a blog post, it’s a whole nother thing to get a demo, have a conversation, and learn some new stuff. As good as the Read/Write Web post is, I never got an understanding of how and why advertising on Meebo is working so well. Any entrepreneur who is trying to make an advertising business model work should watch this interview for some tips.

So, why is Meebo underhyped? We talked about that after the cameras were off and I theorized one theory:

That A-list bloggers don’t use IM or chat much, so don’t get passionate about it the way they do about, say, Twitter (although Twitter has about 1/10th as much traffic).

Seth countered and said that’s probably true, but that he’s noticed that most of his users are on Internet Explorer, not Firefox or Safari. So, the audience that’s using IM is much more mainstream than the audience that most tech bloggers hang out with.

Which points to another thing I’m learning here. If you are an entrepreneur and you want to reach a mainstream audience, you should hang out on Meebo more to do your research, not on Twitter or FriendFeed.