The three-year-old Brazilian music website Sua Musica attracts 3 million monthly unique visitors who listen to and download music from emerging local artists. With a user base focused on discovery and sharing finds, it’s become one of the most successful test publishers of Spot.IM, a chat overlay platform launched in 2012.
Spot.IM looks like a floating chat bubble in the corner of a publication’s website. When opened, it reveals a social stream of chats and galleries of photos and videos. Users join “the spot” with social sign-in and can use it to direct message each other.
Two thousand publishers currently use the chat platform, including Time Out and Bauer Media. Sua Musica boasts 53,000 users of the chat service. “At any time, there are about 200 people online, sharing photos and links,” said VP of marketing Roni Maltz Bin, a founder of Sua Musica’s holding company, AMBI Digital.
Sua Musica has been using Spot.IM for six months, and intends to use an upcoming analytics feature that will show different levels of engagement among its chat users, along with their interests and what parts of the site they favor.
This analytics suite is also designed to give publishers the ability to benchmark their community growth rate against publisher peers.
“Right now, our users are talking and using it a lot, but there’s too much information for us to use,” Bin said. “When they release the analytics, that’s when we can start to do things with our community.”
Spot.IM is free for publishers, and will likely serve as a medium to deliver advertising, with a revenue shared between the technology service and the publisher. But for now, the goal is simply to grow the user base and add new product features, according to founder and CEO Nadav Shoval. His co-founder and CTO, Ishay Green, founded two companies that were later acquired, Onigma and Soluto. The latter produced an app of the same name and was sold for a reported $100-$130 million.
Shoval came up with the idea based on his own experience as an extensive user of the an early online chat protocol called IRC (Internet Relay Chat).
With so much of the response to news sites happening through external services, like on Facebook, Shoval created Spot.IM as a way for publishers to bring that conversation back to their own sites.
Bin sees the chat service as a way to centralize the conversations taking place off-site. “With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the conversation was always about answering questions,” he said. “When we put in Spot.IM, we could see who is actually using the website.”
Sua Musica has used the chat service not just to give users a place to interact on the site, but also as a way to host chat events. One chat with a famous musician nearly brought down the site’s servers. “We really like that our users think it’s a feature of our website and they don’t realize it’s Spot.IM,” Bin said.