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AOL Announces ‘Socialthing’

AOL’s Publishing Unit to Deploy Socialthing to Engage its Audience of 181 million Users
  • 29 April, 2009 10:31

<p>AOL has announced Socialthing™, a revolutionary new platform that brings social networking services to websites and enables publishers to attract new users and keep them engaged wherever they are on the Web. MediaGlow, AOL’s centralised publishing unit, is in the process of deploying Socialthing across its network of more than 75 sites – reaching approximately 181 million* unduplicated users worldwide. Last week Socialthing premiered on ‘TheBoot,’ the #1 online country music destination in terms of unique visitors** and will launch on Cinematical, the blog for movie enthusiasts, in the coming weeks.</p>
<p>“Socialthing turns any media into social media, making it easy for people to share their experiences in real time with their friends, wherever they are on the Web,” said Joanna Shields, President of AOL People Networks. “Built on AOL’s best-of-breed messaging technology, unrivaled social networking and media aggregation tools, Socialthing enables users to converse, connect and broadcast messages and their activities to friends on the Web.”</p>
<p>“We have successfully created valuable brands around original and best-in-breed content by targeting the areas that people are most passionate,” said Bill Wilson, President, MediaGlow. “Socialthing enables us to extend each MediaGlow brand into a true social experience. With one simple implementation we can connect 181 million people and let them socialise with their network of friends around the topics and content they love.”</p>
<p>Socialthing combines four powerful elements to provide website owners with the reach and functionality that formerly could only be found on large social networks:</p>
<p>• Unified Sign-on makes it easy for users to log into Socialthing today using their AOL screenname and password, and soon using their Bebo, Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo or OpenID, without having to create a new account.</p>
<p>• Social Syndication will unlock the marketing power of users by letting them automatically share their experiences with their social network, including their Bebo, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter friends.</p>
<p>• On-site Chat and Instant Messaging lets users engage in real-time conversations with others who share the same passions as they do.</p>
<p>• An Open Platform will enable third-party developers to build their applications on top of the Socialthing platform, helping them increase distribution and add value to site owners and their audience.</p>
<p>Socalthing will deliver users a consistent core experience across its partner sites and is enabled by three core technologies:</p>
<p>• The Lifestream Platform is a real-time, open platform for aggregating and distributing social feeds across different mediums. Lifestream on Socialthing lets websites unleash the power of social syndication by letting users broadcast their activities to all their Bebo, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and Twitter friends. Socialthing’s distributed architecture lets updates from one Socialthing-enabled site to be distributed on other Socialthing sites, on mobile devices such as the iPhone and through the AIM and ICQ desktop clients, further increasing each site’s reach.</p>
<p>• The AIM &amp; ICQ Messaging Platform brings the power of chat and Instant Messaging directly to Socialthing-enabled websites. After logging into Socialthing users will be able to join public conversations in the site’s chat rooms and communicate directly with any other user who is also logged into Socialthing on that site. The combination of Lifestream and IM makes it easy to alert AIM and ICQ buddies to breaking news and interesting stories from across the Web.</p>
<p>• The AOL Open Authentication API (OpenAuth) Platform currently enables third-party websites and applications to authenticate AOL and AIM users through their websites and applications. OpenAuth is now being extended so that it will include support for single sign-on from Facebook, Google, Yahoo, OpenID and many other services. This decreases the friction for user participation on a publisher’s site while helping the site create richer profiles for their users.</p>
<p>Socialthing boasts a simple interface that makes it easy for even the most novice user to enjoy the benefits of social networking. Upon arriving to a Socialthing-enabled website, users sign-in using their existing credentials or create a Socialthing ID using only an email address and password.</p>
<p>Privacy settings for sharing content mean the user is in control of publishing activity at all times. Whenever an action is taken on a site, Socialthing asks for the user’s consent to publish their action into a Lifestream that is then distributed to their friends.</p>
<p>Socialthing lets publishers insert their own content such as news articles or breaking news directly into the feed, creating direct engagement with users on the site. Publishers can also turn their content into conversations by offering signed-in users the ability to enter public chatrooms and launch an Instant Messaging window directly from the site. Users can preview a chat before they engage in it and decide whether they want to use the built-in Instant Messenger, which lets them connect with all of their AIM, ICQ and Bebo buddies in real-time.</p>
<p>A site has been created at http://socialthing.com/forwebsites allowing publishers, interested in enabling Socialthing on their sites, to gain further information and insight into the platform.</p>
<p>-ENDS-</p>
<p>Notes to Editors:</p>
<p>More information on how publishers can increase revenues, reach and engagement by letting their users connect with and converse about the content they care about is available at http://socialthing.com/forwebsites/</p>
<p>About AOL People Networks:</p>
<p>AOL People Networks is collection of community platforms that help improve people’s lives by connecting them with everyone and everything they care about. People Networks does this through a Web-based experience on Bebo.com, through desktop clients and mobile devices.</p>
<p>People Networks combines the AIM and ICQ personal communications networks, social media network Bebo and social search and answer service Yedda. People Networks' collection of community platforms reaches 88 million*** unduplicated users worldwide. People Networks is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL LLC, a majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.</p>
<p>Source for metrics data in this release:
* Custom AOL-defined MediaGlow report, based on comScore Media Metrix Audience Duplication report (March 2009)
**AOL Custom Built List based on comScore MMX March 2009 data.
*** Custom AOL-defined People Networks report, based on comScore Media Metrix Audience Duplication report (March 2009)</p>
<p>About MediaGlow:</p>
<p>MediaGlow, AOL’s publishing business unit formed in early 2009, centralises AOL’s programming efforts, including AOL.com, AOL’s content verticals and commerce and marketplace channels, dozens of niche sites, and state-of-the-art studios in Los Angeles and New York City. In all, MediaGlow operates more than 70 sites and attracts more than 181 million* unique visitors worldwide each month, according to comScore Media Metrix. It plans to launch more than 30 new sites in 2009. MediaGlow, along with AOL’s advertising business, Platform-A, and its social media business, People Networks, represent the three core businesses for AOL.</p>
<p>Source for metrics data in this release:
* Custom AOL-defined MediaGlow report, based on comScore Media Metrix Audience Duplication report (March 2009)</p>

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