Good grief: There’s now a friggin’ stampede to invest in AOL.
Yahoo Inc. is in early talks about buying a stake in Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit, according to people familiar with the situation.
Yahoo joins a long list of suitors who have expressed an interest in AOL, including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Comcast Corp. A person close to the situation says that Yahoo is interested in luring AOL users to its search engine.
I shouldn’t say this because I’m a disgruntled Time Warner stockholder and anybody buying this lemon is a good thing. But I feel morally bound to remind the world that AOL is a nightmare from which there is no waking up.
Moreover, the news feed company founded by Nick Denton, David Galbraith, and Angus Bankes — where I sat on the board — has been sold to Verisign. Rafat has the story — and, I’m sure, he’s pissed I couldn’t comment when he almost had the scoop a few weeks ago.
Fred Wilson on Web 2.0 and all that:
Last year at this time we were talking about interesting companies like Skype, Flickr, MySpace, etc.
Many of them are gone, gobbled up by the web 1.0 giants or the mainstream media companies.
In their places we are seeing second derivatives. I heard one business described as Google Maps meets delicious, and another described as Skype meets MySpace. When the first derivative hasn’t fully figured its long term business model (other than getting bought), the second derivates are pretty scary.
I am a contrarian at heart. This situation bothers me.
It doesn’t mean we are going to stop investing. But it does mean we are going to be more careful.
We have to raise our hurdles when others are lowering them.
Red Herring covers my ad panel yesterday. I’ll be writing up reflections later.
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.