Mary has leaked the scoop this morning: AskJeeves is to announce the acquisition of Bloglines on Monday. Act 1 was the acquisition of LiveJournal by SixApart, broken by Om even before the final papers were signed. One can only assume that some lawyers are going to be busy over the week-end to finalize all this, especially given the disclosure requirements of ASKJ as a public company. Which means that we should know sooner or later how much Jeeves is paying, which is going to be a *very* interesting data point. So far the only (rich) reference was the $29M YHOO paid for Oddpost last year. And yes, I am not counting the acquisition of Pyra Labs by Google as Act 1, since it happened ages ago (357 days exactly).
This is an interesting, and unexpected, move by Jeeves. They have not been visible in the blogging/RSS space, having only recently launched a corporate blog (granted that this is not the only way to demonstrate a commitment to social media, but it is a data point). Buying Bloglines gives them what I personally consider the best browser-based and mobile RSS aggregator, a very decent RSS search capability and a large (in the hundred of thousands, if not millions - my guess) user base. Mark Fletcher had hinted in the past that his business model would be to sell advertising on the client - highly personalized because bloglines knows what I am interested in (my feeds) and what I really pay attention to (my clicks).
Mary also very rightly points out that because of the decentralized and heterogeneous structure of the blogosphere, and the fact that RSS/Atom syndication only provides access to a few posts, companies building a comprehensive archive (like Bloglines, Technorati, Feedster,...) are developing a differentiated asset. I predict that there will be a controvery as to how valuable that asset actually is compared to GOOG, YHOO and MSFT's. The next acts in the consolidation of social media will tell us.
First startup (ONEList) sold to YHOO, second startup sold to ASKJ... Not bad, congrats Dude. For real, now that this has been announced.
- Mark, and Jim Lanzone, the SVP of Search Properties (and Bloglines addict) at Jeeves, have both blogged about it.
- SilicontBeat has an interview of these two.
- John Battelle provides his analysis, out of "embargo" (sort of... ), calling a "at least $25M" deal.
- So does Charlene Li, suggesting some acquisitions to come.
Onto Act 3!!!