Messenger Connect: A New Tool for Worldwide Social Distribution (Whitepaper)

Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled a comprehensive activity stream architecture for Windows Live. This activity stream (sometimes called “Messenger social updates”) flows throughout popular PC, web and mobile phone services such as Messenger, Outlook, MSN and the new Windows Phone 7. This means activities sent to this newsfeed have the potential of surfacing where some of the most meaningful social interactions are taking place on a monthly basis:

  • There are more than 500 million active Windows Live IDs
  • Messenger has more than 298 million active accounts worldwide
  • Hotmail has more than 359 million active accounts worldwide
  • Windows Live Messenger climbed to #2 worldwide in total daily active users connecting to Facebook
  • the Messenger iPhone client has been installed millions of times
  • Windows Live activities flow to the “People Hub” of the new Windows Phone 7

As a site owner, allowing users to share activities from your site to the Windows Live activity stream represents a new opportunity in social distribution. It lets you connect your application to potentially hundreds of millions of Windows Live users and their devices. It’s hard to understate the value of tapping into a pipeline to such an enormous number of people.

Microsoft provides several options for writing activities to the Windows Live activity stream. You can (i) embed a sharing badge to your site, (ii) publish an activity feed or (iii) use their collection of REST and javascript interfaces collectively known as Messenger Connect API. And since Messenger Connect is officially out of beta, you’re completely free to setup an application and start kicking in the tires.

The Messenger Connect API is particularly useful to developers. It’s based on industry standards (OAuth WRAP,, etc) and provides a more fine-grained control over the publishing process. If you’re using Gigya’s Share plugin or publishUserAction method, Gigya actually uses the Messenger Connect API to publish activities to Windows Live on behalf of your application.

To help better understand Messenger Connect API, we’ve written a developer whitepaper that outlines different ways site owners can leverage the platform and increase social distribution. Some of topics covered include:

  • how to write activities to Messenger Connect API
  • how to use “activity templates” to help increase traffic acquisition
  • strategies to measure the impact of Messenger Connect through analytics
  • an index of online resources and utilities to help you get started

You can download the whitepaper here:

We strongly encourage developers to look at using Messenger Connect as part of your social distribution strategy.

NOTE: you can read Dare Obasanjo’s take on the Windows Live Developer’s Blog

By Kevin White