WeblogsInc sold to AOL

Rafat has the scoop (confirming rumors of the last few months): AOL has bought Jason Calacanis’ WeblogsInc. Whispered prices from $20 to as high as $35 million based on earnouts (that is, he gets bucks if it makes the bucks). Congrats to Jason. But AOL has a history of buying things and killing them.

  • After my experience with those idiots I can only hope AOL buries the whole concern so deep it would take a major archaelogical dig to find them.

    They crashed my computer.

    1998 opaque grape iMac running OS 9.2 and Netscape 7.02 and IE 5.1

    In both cases WeblogsInc did not render properly, or function properly. From this I can only conclude that whoever designed the site optimized for the latest browsers, giving no consideration for people who perforce must use older software.

    I’m on a limited income, it’s hard raising the money to get new equipment. You can bet there are many more like me out there. Add in the fact I do not trust the Windows operating system for many a (security related) reason, and I’m a klutz where Linux is concerned, and you get a person who’s pretty much stuck with Apple. Which means if I’m to get a new PC it’s gonna have to be a Macintosh. Sorry folks, but that’s not negotiable.

    So WeblogsInc loses a reader (and possible contributor) because they’re a bunch of arrogant fools.

  • Alan – it’s not Weblogs, Inc. that “crashed” your Mac. All of the Weblogs, Inc. blogs work just fine on my wife’s ancient beige G3 PowerMac running IE 5.1. Heck they even work in her AOL browser (even older IE code). A web page isn’t going to crash your iMac just because it doesn’t render. Better look elsewhere for the root cause of your woes.

    Jeff – From what I currently know this is a pretty hands-off deal. Because of how Jason and Brian built Weblogs, Inc. we’re a pretty independent collection of bloggers who write about what we think our readers will be interested in with no editorial “oversight”. I’ve been with the network since May of 2004 and have never once had a post questioned or edited. I’m inclined to take Jason at his word – he’s always been a straight shooter with us – that nothing will change in terms of how we go about creating our content. This provides Weblogs, Inc. with a huge amount of additional exposure through AOL’s various properties and provides AOL with a rich source of up-to-the-minute content. A real win-win proposition IMO.

  • Clarification: It crashed Netscape, and in OS 9 when a app is crashed the computer crashes.

    I viewed the site in Netscape and had problems accessing certain features. I then opened IE, had trouble accessing certain features, and then Netscape crashed.

    I have had both browsers open at the same time before. This was the first time Netscape crashed while IE was open. Now I can’t use IE. The app opens, my hopepage loads. But my trackball and keyboard don’t work with IE. This after visiting those morons’ web page. Tell me, bub, what the fuck am I supposed to think?

    This the only time something like this has happened. It happened as a result of their incompetence at web design. At their incompetence at coding a website. They owe me.

  • Michael

    I’d echo Marc’s post: Jason isn’t a cut-and-run kinda guy. And I would like to personally congratulate him on finally getting his due. I’ve had my ups and downs with him, but he’s someone worthy of a lot of respect, if for no other reason than his relentless championing of blogs and the power of the Internet at large.

    I think this also reflects heavily on AOL and the vector Bankoff is pursuing. Historically, they’d just gobble ’em up and poof! You wouldn’t know where the “cool” company they acquired went. In this case, I suspect you’ll see a much more decentralized approach — heavy on the interaction b/w WIN and AOL, light on the corporate restructuring. At least, I hope so!

    For Alan, I might politely suggest you contact Brian Alvey (alvey.weblogsinc.com). He’s a great guy and will definitely help you out of your jam. Also, as Jason would say, you’ll go further with honey than vinegar. ;)

  • Smart move for AOL, who will be able to penetrate the blogging space and acquire a solid product portfolio without having to go at it from scratch.

    And a timely exit strategy for Calacanis, who had recently posted on his own blog that traffic and advertising demand was so high that the privately held Weblogs Inc couldn’t book any new ad partners until 2006.

    Thursday’s deal illustrates that blogs, which collect revenue through advertsing, are not waning in popularity.

    Nor are they safehavens for journalists without jobs, as they have sometimes been labeled.