New effort to link 50M online media site users to sites

Facebook and MySpace to link to media sites

More than 50 million users of online communities operated by media companies like Gannett, Reuters Group, The Washington Post and others will soon be able to link their contributions to those sites to their profiles on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Pluck this week announced plans to use Google's OpenSocial APIs to connect its Pluck SiteLife social media tool to the social networks. SiteLife, which is used by more than 200 media companies, allows users of online media sites to submit comments, provide recommendations, participate in forums, submit photos and write blogs.

The OpenSocial APIs will automatically -- with the user's permission -- send comments made on one of the media company communities to that user's Facebook profile, noted Dave Panos, CEO of Pluck.

"On USA Today's site, I can comment on articles, submit photos, create a blog that lives there, participate in forums on the site and interact with other users on that site," he said. "We're going to connect those interactions that are happening on these public Web sites back to the user's Facebook profile." Therefore, Panos added, "the publisher gets an expanded reach of their brand ... to reach people who aren't necessarily thinking about their brand at that time."

The first media companies to participate in the program include Gannett, Reuters, Discovery Communications, The Washington Post, The Economist Newspaper, Freedom Interactive Media, Canadian Broadcasting, Rodale and Meredith.

To allay privacy concerns, Panos said that only the things users do publicly on a Web site will be featured in their profiles on the social networking sites. Users themselves can also control whether their actions on a media site can be incorporated into their social network profiles.

"Integrating the value of our timely and trusted news content and the social media contributions generated by our readership with social networking audiences represents the future of media on the Web," said Peter Lundquist, vice president of content and product development at Gannett Digital, in a statement. "Using the expanded SiteLife capabilities from Pluck, we are able to expand the realm of social participation for our readers, while also attracting new audiences to our content."

The OpenSocial APIs are designed to help developers build applications that run on multiple social platforms.

The Pluck SiteLife integration with Facebook will be available to Pluck customers in the first quarter of 2008, with support for more social networks available in mid-2008.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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