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Last week paid blog post network Izea went public with a stock on the OTC board. Jason Calacanis has his explanation of the transaction on the Launch blog calling the transaction a, “back door IPO”. Izea CEO Ted Murphy created a video to demonstrate why Izea is a good investment.
Today Izea has announced the acquisition of Berlin-based Magpie. The press release notes the transaction was a cash and stock transaction but no acquisition amount was noted. The release explains that the reason for the acquisition was to help Izea grow their base in Europe.
I haven’t heard from Magpie in what feels like years. I think Magpie was the first paid ad network to pay Twitter users to post content into their streams. Since their launch, a number of other paid tweet ad networks have launched. Customers of Magpie will be transitioned into the Izea SponsoredTweets product. It should be interesting to see what happens to paid tweets once Twitter launches their own paid in-stream advertising product later this year.
The big story today outside of the OMG white OMG iPhone OMG was the acquisition of the Delicious bookmarking site. Former owner Yahoo has sold the bookmarking service to the founders of online video sharing service YouTube and their new company AVOS. In reviewing about 20 blog/news posts about the acquisition, so far there has been no chatter about the acquisition price.
Back in December, Yahoo hinted that they would close Delicious service – a move I noted would hurt Yahoo within the developer/early adopter tech community. I also thought the best place for Delicious would be to be acquired by commenting service Disqus. I still think Disqus should consider expanding into bookmarking as it would make the service more sticky and could provide even more benefits to publishers.
This evening I received an email from Yahoo regarding the Delicious acquisition. There are a couple of interesting bits that got me wondering exactly what did YouTube founder Steve Chen and Chad Hurley purchase? I assumed when I read all of the copies of the press releases that the Delicious site would be put onto a blu-ray disc, handed off to AVOS, and then the entire service would be available as it is today but now hosted by AVOS.
Earlier this month AOL (NYSE:AOL) acquired the Huffington Post blog for $315 million. I posted on Twitter that I wondered if online video hosting service Viddler would be next for the “new” AOL. I still think the acquisition makes sense for both companies.
AOL has a large number of brands (and will be even larger once the above acquisition is complete) and I have to imagine that video will be a large piece of AOL’s pageview generating strategy going forward. Today AOL has a video site and they also own the Truveo video search engine.
Viddler currently works with AOL’s Engadget tech blog for their gadget videos. AOL’s Techcrunch blog uses Ooyala for their video hosting and this hosting could easily move to Viddler if there was an acquisition. It appears that the videos on AOL’s video site are self-hosted.
I am not 100% sure but I think Viddler has only raised some angel funding (which is quite impressive considering they are in the video hosting business). Viddler also received $50,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners last April. Viddler lists a team of 16 people based outside Philly and in Poland.
My guess is that AOL could acquire Viddler for a very reasonable price and bring a strong base of video hosting, video analytics and monetization inside the company. If there was an acquisition, Viddler would become the corporate hosting platform. This central repository would help AOL cross-promote videos across all of their channels. There is tremendous opportunity in cross-promotion that AOL is losing everyday by hosting with so many different video partners. For example, when you are finished watching the latest iPad 3 unboxing video on Engadget, you could jump over to Techcrunch to watch the latest TechCribs video.
AOL would also gain the ability to use their internal ad sales team to sell and integrate video ads across all of their properties.
The only question I am left with regarding a potential acquisition is whether Viddler would remain open to other companies to use — they currently host video content from a variety of companies including Gawker and the Cheezburger Network.
One of the few startups I pay good money to every month is Zipcar. The car sharing service really is quite amazing. If you haven’t heard of car sharing, here’s a very simple overview. In a variety of cities around the world, people share cars. The cars are typically located around a city center and can be rented by the hour or day. With Zipcar, gas, maintenance and insurance are included in the rate. And for me, the cars are so close that it’s almost like I have my own car except that I can only use the car when it’s free. And with Zipcar, your key can be used in any city that Zipcar operates.
This morning I received an email from Zipcar that they have aquired UK-based car sharing service Streetcar. From their acquisition announcement, “When the transition is complete, you will have access to more than 1,000 cars in the city of London and the surrounding areas. So, when your plans take you across the pond, whether for business or pleasure, grabbing a Zipcar will be even easier than it is today.” Honestly, I can’t wait to travel to London (once the ash is gone) because I’ve always wanted to drive on the wrong side of the road!
The WSJ says the deal is worth about $50 million and Streetcar had 2009 revenues of $25 million.
London-based Alterian has announced that the acquisition of NY-based Techrigy. Techrigy describes their service as, “providing visibility into social media for anyone managing brands and reputations online, SM2 combines a massive data warehouse of online conversations with state of the art search, analysis and reporting tools.” Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Alterian reported a 73% increase in revenue for the last fiscal year. Here’s an interesting tactic…to get Alterian’s current customers to test out the Techrigy service, they are offering a free trial which can then be converted into a premium account should the customer wish to continue use.
David Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer of Alterian said, “By combining Alterian’s platform with Techrigy’s SM2 technology, marketers now have a complete, easy and practical solution to understand the complete view of their customers and take action to use this to build brand equity and generate opportunity.”
As social media reporting becomes more important for companies, we will see more acquisitions in this space by larger agencies wanting to provide the tools for their clients in-house.
Former Techcrunch editor Ouriel Ohayon is reporting via The Globes that social search Delver has been acquired by Sears. Yes, the powertools and "sponsored conversations" company Sears. The acquisition price for the Israeli-based startup was not disclosed. Ouriel notes that the price is probably not that high as the company was running out of cash.
Delver raised $4 million in a Series A round. About a month ago the company announced that they would either sell or close the company as they were unable to raise another round of funding the tune of $6-8 million.
The Globes notes, "Delver co-founder and CEO Liad Agmon will move to the US and become a VP at Sears. Delver’s employees will continue to work in Israel and the company will operate as a Sears’ development center."
Movie news and reviews site Movies.com has been acquired by Fandango. Fandango is owned by Comcast and Movies.com was owned by the Walt Disney Internet Group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Nielsen/Netratings reports that for May 2008, Fandango reached 6.3 million monthly unique visitors, while Movies.com served 1.9 million monthly unique visitors. There was apparently very little overlap in the users.
Rafat Ali at PaidContent notes that Fandango’s ad team will sell advertising on both sites. He also spoke with Disney who said that a dozen of its Disney Internet Group employees will be reassigned because of the Movies.com sale and no layoffs are expected.