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AOL buys Weblogs Inc.

Posted in the database on Thursday, October 06th, 2005 @ 12:13:57 MST (1641 views)
by Ken "Caesar" Fisher    ars technica  

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Weblogs Inc., home to such notable blogs as Autoblog, Engadget, and The Unofficial Apple Blog (TUAW) has been purchased by AOL for an undisclosed sum. Someone close to the transaction told the Wall Street Journal that it was in the US$25 million range, a hefty price for a property that, in total, serves roughly 30 million pages per month. AOL's PR follows:

DULLES, Virginia - Thursday, October 6, 2005 - In online content that ranges from music to movies, travel to tech, food to fashion, medicine to mortgages, 85 new topical websites now call AOL and AOL.com home - providing online consumers with new micro-communities where they can connect, debate, editorialize, comment, and learn.

Founded by Jason Calacanis (pictured at We Media conference today) and Brian Alvey in 2003, Weblogs Inc. had all of the appearance of a me too network. The notion of bringing together a cadre of websites in order to amass a portfolio of pageviews and interests was nothing new, but Weblogs had one distinguishing feature: all of the sites under its umbrella leadership were owned by Weblogs, and they were blogs.

"Weblogs is delighted to join up with AOL, and in so doing, we've reached a milestone in the development of citizen media, " Jason McCabe Calacanis, co-founder and CEO of Weblogs, Inc. stated. "Weblogs has made great strides over the past two years building high-profile blogs. Yet, we realized that taking our network to the next level required a partner not only with a significant audience, but the advertising expertise to leverage it. In AOL, we found the ideal company to join."

The advertising angle is important. While 30 million page views holds plenty of advertising potential, the fact that these page views are split over so many diverse sites with diverse audiences must provide the advertising department with quite the headache. This is likely the reason why Weblogs has relied so heavily on Google's AdSense. Now that it's in the hands of AOL, only time will tell what direction the advertising takes. AOL has been slowly but surely moving its focus from premium, restricted content to open content funded by advertising.

According to AOL, Weblogs will be an independent subsidiary, and AOL will not exercise any kind of editorial control over the company or its network of blogs.



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