Friday, October 07, 2005
AOL buys Calacanis blog site for $15M in bid to expand reach
The Washington Post's David A. Vise reported on Oct. 7, 2005, that America Online Inc. had agreed to purchase Weblogs Inc., the publisher of 85 freelance online sites about cars, movies, parenting, travel and other subjects. The paper quoted an unnamed source as saying the deal was worth between $15 million and $25 million. AOL officials told the Washington Post they will allow Weblogs to retain complete editorial control and independence, a factor that entrepreneur Jason McCabe Calacanis, a co-founder of the two-year-old company, said in an interview was important to him.
"What makes this work is unfiltered citizens' content," Calacanis told the Post. "My key question to America Online was, 'Guys, you understand this is unfiltered and that is what makes this special?' Traditional media companies are nervous about comments or opinions without editing. You don't have that in this business. It is people talking to each other."
Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker.com, a rival blog publisher, criticized the transaction, according to the Post account. "The whole point about blogs is that they're not part of big media," he wrote on his site. "Consolidation defeats the purpose. It's way too early. Like a decade too early."