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Web 2.0 News

Sony acquired digital media identification company Gracenote for about $260M
Sony has today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Gracenote for about $260M plus other contingent consideration.

Amazon Web Services on its way to surpass $500M in sales this year
In a recent conference call Amazon has announced that it has reached over $131M in sales during the fourth-quarter of 2007 from its Web Services , which much or less means more than $500M in revenues for the entire fiscal 2008 for Amazon coming solely from its Web Services.

VC deals show a decline in the first quarter of 2008
While angel investors are taking on venture capitalists and have last year invested as much as VCs did the VC deals show a decline in the first quarter of 2008. According to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, venture capital investment in the United States headed south in the first quarter of 2008.

Angel investors have invested as much as $26 billion in start ups last year, almost as much as VCs did
Today we have read over a few technology and business blogs that angel investors have poured $26B in start-up companies for the last year alone. Aside the fact this is an impressive amount of money it is also very close to what VCs did themselves - $29B.

Federated Media raises huge round of funding - $50M
In a period full with launch of new ad networks and deals about such Federated Media has raised a huge amount of money - $50 million in a C round led by Oak Investment Partners and Omidyar Network as a returning investor from their first round. The rumor has it the company has turned down a $100M buy out offer some time ago and apparently they have chosen to go through the investors' road.

Nice exit for Sphere.com
So it seems to be official already: AOL has acquired sphere.com. Despite financial terms of the deal were not disclosed the price was rumored to be in the $25M range that comes on top of Sphere's $3.5M total funding to date.

Pageflakes is acquired by Brad Greenspan's Live Universe
Pageflakes , an Ajax home page that once was a real competition to Netvibes , is being rumored to have been acquired by Live Universe for an undisclosed amount. Both companies refrain themselves from publicly announcing the deal nor made any comments on the technology blogs that mentioned about it, which tells us the deal is most likely in the very low-range not worth mentioning. What makes us think so?

The $250M pre-money seems did not work for Meebo and they go now for $175M
The rumor has it that Meebo fails to sell to date and is may be trying to raise new round of funding instead and not at the initial $250M pre-money valuation they were hoping for but at $175 - $200M. Some sources claim that companies like Fox/MySpace and AOL have taken a long look at the company, but ultimately passed based on the price.

MeeVee put itself up for sale
An interesting approach is taken at MeeVee . They are trying to sell themselves through a press release . This morning we have seen a short press announcement put up on Yahoo through BusinessWire giving relatively short details about the company and soliciting interested parties to contact a person at his email as indicated in the pr.

Imeem confirms the acquisition of Snocap for reportedly less than $5M off more than $10M in venture capital taken by the company!
An acquisition that was announced in late February has today been confirmed. Imeem confirms the acquisition of Snocap . As we have then written Snocap has been in a long quest for a buyer (at least since Sept last year) and has gone through some massive layoffs, so it was clear the company had little to no options left but to sell off. Rumors have it that no other competitive buyers have ever shown up on the horizon and Imeem was the most logical buyer for Snocap. 

Apparently not all companies find April Fools Jokes funny
This is certainly the case with Bill Gates's privately held company Corbis Corporation. The company's PR guys out there have certainly taken them far too serious and have last week threatened a tiny Norwegian micro stock photography agency called Crestock with legal action over an apparent April Fools joke made by the company in a recent press release.

fix8 takes more money to fiddle around animated avatars
It was just a few months ago when fix8 took their first round of funding from Vickers Venture Group . The amount taken was then $3M. Vickers Venture Group is a Singapore-based private equity firm . This time the company says it has landed SK Telecom , which is a leading South Korean telecom, taking some $3M more to make it $5M in total funding. Fix8's first part of the funding took place last year in October.

Despite rumors Microsoft is highly unlikely to increase its bid for Yahoo
When last week we wrote about Yahoo's shares going up on rumors that Microsoft is going to increase their bid for the Internet giant it seems those rumors were not very accurate. This week Microsoft gave Yahoo a very strong signal it won't happen.

Looks like SpinVox is about to get a real run for the money, Nuance enters their niche
Everything leads us to the simple conclusion that Nuance is taking on SpinVox's voice-to-text technology . It has always been interestingly enough to see how pouring big VC money into an idea, market niche, product or solution is always attracting some bigger player to try and exploit it.

Yet another Digg clone
Reading the blogs today we came across a new Digg like service (clone) called Publish2 . Essentially the service is Digg meets del.icio.us aimed at journalists where anyone is said to be able to seed links in the system but only journalists are given with the chance to vote for them.

Glam seems to be cutting off revenues for publishers
Something really interesting is going on with Glam Media . To make a long story short Glam is basically a controversial site that runs both a network of its own web sites as well as runs ads on a network of third party sites geared towards women online and has just recently raised a massive amount of funding - $85M .

More instructional videos on the horizon
Creating educational and instructional videos , clips and episodes is something hot lately. The space is crowded and has just emerged from the popularization of the online video sector. MindBites is yet another player jumping the bandwagon.

An online career community that connects people through personal relationships and affiliations
Doostang is an interesting concept built upon the belief that over 50% up to 70% of recruiting today is done through the personal network of contacts and a large portion of which is done by email communication. Using your personal network is the most effective way to find the right candidate for a position and to find the perfect job.

Li Ka-shing invests $40M more in Facebook; total funding is now $378M from $338M before
The Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has reveled in a recent conference call that he raised his stake in the social networking site Facebook with some $40M more. That amount comes on top of his previous commitment of $60M , which brings his total investment in the popular site to $100M.

An Israeli sync start-up acquired for reportedly $25M
BeInSync Ltd. , an Israeli-based provider of an all-in-one solution that allows users to backup, synchronize , share and access data online has been acquired by Phoenix Technologies for an undisclosed amount. However, Techcrunch has reported the company went for $25M.

Yahoo shares up 4.4% on rumors Microsoft will increase the bid to $34
To make a long story short a Citigroup Investment Research analyst believes that rather than let the deal fall apart, Microsoft will increase its buyout offer for Yahoo. Citigroup has raised its Yahoo price target to $34 per share based on their belief that Microsoft will revise its takeover offer. The guy is named Mark Mahaney and he said “We believe that a Yahoo sale to Microsoft — at a price higher than the initial $31 bid is the most likely outcome”.

Wisdom of the crowds principle effectively applied to predict markets, events
While doing our daily research on the web 2.0 deals we came across a very interesting start up that deserves to make our web 2.0 innovations list - Predictify. Essentially it is a very interesting and pretty innovative idea of using the wisdom of the crowds and the collective intelligence principles to predict in behalf of advertisers and market researchers.

Modu, an innovative approach to cell phones, is on its way to raise $100M
Modu is an Israel based start up founded just in 2007 and has already raised $20M in its Series A round of funding . In that first round the backers are Gemini Israel Funds and Genesis Partners. Today there are rumors spreading around web that Modu is about to take a second round in the $100M range at $150M pre-money valuation, which means the company is ready to give up to 40% from its equity.

SocialMedia totals $4M in funding and is one of the top ad platforms for Facebook
SocialMedia offers a suite of tools and services for developers building applications that run on social networking platforms including Facebook and MySpace .

Gaming is hot in China; 9You raised $100M, talks IPO
9You , a Chinese online games operator, has received $100 million in equity investment from Temasek Holdings , among other investors . Well, any time someone talks $100M funding rounds the IPO plans are not that far away in the future.

SpinVox raises $100M at a whopping $500M valuation
SpinVox , a London based voice-to-text technology is raising $100M round of funding from a bunch of high-profile investors among which are Goldman Sachs , GLG Partners , Blue Mountain Capital Management and Toscafund Asset Management . The service can basically be described as a solution that transcribes voicemails to text so that they can be more easily digitized, searched, and manipulated.

The modern Boo.com and pets.com
Just like their ancestors Boo.com and pets.com during the dot com boom times companies like Geosign and Capazoo have also spent huge amounts of money in no time and reached nothing but grand failures. But unlike those dot com stars from the past, which at least had serious business models, their modern equivalents from the web 2.0 times can barely be called real businesses.

A new way to build your Google Maps
These days we came across a tiny French based company called Click2Map that is providing an interesting editor for creating mash-ups with Google Maps . You can there create fully customizable interactive professional online maps from existing data and the editor also offers database and template functionalities.

Meebo tries to raise $25M in return of only 10% equity valuing the company at the whopping $250M
Meebo is a popular and rapidly growing web based  instant messaging start up that was backed up by Sequoia Capital and is said to have roughly 4.6M unique visitors per month according to comScore's publicly available stats. That's valuing each of their visitors at the $54 mark

Website Optimization company and CMS leader joined forces
An interesting deal happened a few months ago, announced in October 2007 and closed in November the same year. Interwoven , a public company traded on NASDAQ, has acquired the said website optimization pioneer Optimost.

What is the real reason Automattic bought Glavatar?
T We kept the news in our archive for quite long time trying to figure out ourselves what is the real motive behind the acquisition of Glavatar and since we came up to no particular synergy and reason we have decided today to simply write about.

If your business is impacted by the weather WeatherBill might be a good solution for you
The San Francisco based WeatherBill started their service, which lets you cover your business from potential losses that might occur due to bad weather conditions , in early 2007 with a bunch of famous private and institutional investors

22M uniques / mo site (Bebo) goes to AOL for $850M in all cash deal
A quick look into the numbers reveals that AOL paid roughly $22 per registered user in Bebo's acquisition. comScore reports for 22M unique visitors per month to bebo.com, which values each unique visitor at $39 . Quantcast reports for less than 2M American visitors per month to bebo's site but since the site appears to be not quantified we should not take these numbers for the correct ones.

Is MediaBids.com an alternative of Google's AdWords?
MediaBids.com , the Newspaper and Magazine Advertising Marketplace , has recently announced the addition of over 325 new newspapers and magazines to its print advertising marketplace so far in 2008, which much or less attracted out attention.

AOL is offered up for sale
Today is a sad day for AOL , which somehow contrasts to the big day the company had in 2000 when they merged with Time Warner in what was then the biggest deal for the dot com era. All indicates that AOL is offered up for sale.

Jivox, yet another video ad network, has raised $2.7M
The funding was led by Opus Capital and also includes investments from individual investors including Jivox founder Diaz Nesamoney . The funds will be used to continue development of the Jivox online video advertising platform , as well as to expand the company's sales and marketing efforts. No other names of private investors are publicly disclosed.

Are Digg's users the real reason nobody buys them?
Based on what we have read, and understood, it might turn out that Digg has a track record of surrendering to the mob when things get really bad. Giving control of its users to what shows up on their home page as a story or news is perhaps what made Digg popular but ironically it plays, with the same degree, a very negative role in Digg's attempt to sell itself out.

Video advertising networks are hot, Brightroll gets its second round, claims it already served over 1 Billion video ads
After having covered the video ad networks BlackArrow and YuMe Networks today we have discovered that yet another one called Brightroll has also recently closed its Series B funding taking $5M more.

Pluck acquired by Demand Media
Demand Media , a major buyer and operator of Internet domain name companies, has announced just a few days ago it has acquired the Austin-based social media company Pluck after about reportedly two months of negotiations. The price is $75M in all cash deal.

Digg is likely to make a nice exit soon
Digg , the user generated news site, has been pretty serious on getting itself sold for quite long time now. Just late last year they have hired Allen & Company to shop the site for what rumors claim to be anything in the $300 million range.

Mint keeps on taking money, closes its third round of funding
Today we have read over Internet that Mint is about to announce its third round of funding today - $12.1 million from new investor Benchmark Capital and all previous investors, including Shasta Ventures , Sherpalo Ventures , Felicis Ventures , Hite Capital and First Round Capital . The company has now raised a total of $17 million, most of it since October of 2007. Benchmark's Bob Kagle is joining the Mint board.

Some of the Silicon Valley's top non-Web innovations VCs spent money on
Forbes has assembled a very interesting list of some of the Silicon Valley's most interesting and coolest innovations beyond the web start-ups. What is being said as a fact is that venture capitalists have poured over $30B into more than 2500 new ventures in 2007 alone. Some of them have to be non-traditional the media says and outlines some of those non-web start ups.

Taylor Nelson Sofres buys Compete.com
Compete, which started out in 2000 as an Idealab company, raised over $40M in funding to date, incurred $4.5M losses for the last year off $15M revenues and had hard time lately to compete with Quantcast has its exit day today. Compete has been acquired by the market research leader Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) for $75M plus another earn-out $75M through out 2008-2010 if certain conditions are met.

Google invests more in DNA projects
After having spent almost $4M on 23andMe , which plans to make the human genome searchable and whose founder is the wife of Google's Sergey Brin, last year and is in heavy preparation for the launch of the Google Health, Google has now financially backed a project from a Harvard University scientist to unlock the secrets of common diseases by decoding the DNA of 100,000 people.

Technorati is rumored to be in preparation of Blogger Ad Network
Rumors online claim Technorati is in serious preparation to lunch soon its own advertising network aimed at bloggers . The online advertising market , as we said a few times in our blog posts so far, is perhaps the hottest thing on web over the past 2 years and 2008 appears to be giving no signals of slowdown in the space.

Snocap has been acquired by Imeem
Snocap was known to be searching for a new home for quite some time and it seems they have shopped themselves successfully as Imeem has bought them last month. Snocap is digital music wholesaler and Imeem is music streaming site so the synergy seems quite logical here. Terms were not disclosed publicly.

Stock photography and video footage leader sold out for $2.4B
Getty Images Inc. the world's leading creator and distributor of visual content and other digital media announced today that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $2.4 billion, including the assumption of existing debt.

ETech, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference is coming
One of the most important technology conferences for the year will be held in March 3-6 in San Diego, California. ETech the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, now in its seventh year, will take a wide-eyed look at the brand new tech that's tweaking how we are seen as individuals, how we choose to channel and divert our energy and attention, and what influences our perspective on the world around us.

Yelp: $200M valuation, $31M total funding, 8M uniuqes, SEO – all for local reviews
The 4 years old Yelp , which is a local review site , has already reached a hefty popularity on Web. Today we have read online the site claims to have more than 8M unique visitors per month, which can already be called a hugely popular site and all that achieved within 4 years only. Pretty impressive one may say. But the company seems to have raised tons of money in 4 rounds totaling $31M to date.

The entire internet advertising market was estimated at $21B in 2007
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has today released its estimation about the total online advertising market for the entire 2007, which was said has been over $21B with nearly $6B in Q4 2007. 

Glam Media raises a massive round of funding - $85M
A controversial site Glam that runs both a network of its own web sites as well as runs ads on a network of third party sites geared towards women online has raised a massive amount of funding - $85M.

Most recent Facebook and MySpace visitor numbers
Despite Facebook's US traffic has fallen down over the past few months the social networking site seems to be rapidly reaching its major rival MySpace. The most recent data revealed by comScore shows that Facebook had 33.9M unique visitors for January 2008, which represents 2% down from its traffic for December 2007.

Ancestry.com has been bought out by a private equity firm, preparing for an IPO
One of the few dot com success stories Ancestry.com and their parent company The Generations Network has entered into a private buyout , a couple of months ago, with the private equity firm Spectrum Equity Investors for a reportedly $300M acquisition deal. Private equity buyouts have been a serious, if not the only, alternative of IPOs these past years.

Page creator Jimdo landed the Samwer Brothers as investors
Just two months before they invested in Facebook with plans to take the company to Europe, the brothers have poured money into Jimdo through their European Founders Fund.

Mint.com - the financial-planning startup with an army of high-profile investors
Total funding in no time reached $5.5M for Mint Software. Institutional investors include Shasta Ventures and First Round Capital and the company's angel investors are Josh Kopelman, Rob Hayes, Tod Francis, Ron Conway, Mark Goines, Geoff Ralston, Jeff Clavier, Sy Fahimi and the last but not least Ram Shriram.

Peanut Labs closes its Series A round of funding
Yesterday we were tipped off that both LeapFrog Ventures and BV Capital have invested in San Francisco start-up called Peanut Labs. The funding is in the $3.2M range and is the company's Series A round.

Microsoft's stock has fallen 13% since its offer for Yahoo
It turns out that Microsoft is the big loser from the situation with Yahoo's acquisition because it has lost 13% of its market capitalization since it has announced its bid to buy Yahoo almost a month ago.

Sharing digital media start up has raised $2.5M
A couple of months ago a tiny start up called Treemo has taken its first round of funding in the $2.5M range. The funding was led by JK&B Capital.

fix8 has taken $3M for animated avatars for your cam
A couple of months ago the tiny start up company fix8 has raised $3 million in a series A round of funding from Vickers Venture Group , which is a Singapore-based private equity firm.

Qunar, a Chinese travel search engine, raised $10 million
Qunar.com is an online travel search engine that we've just found out it has raised $10M in its 2nd round a couple of months ago.

Revver, the video-revenue sharing site finally sells out, but the price is not hefty
The site best known as the first video site that started to split the ad revenue with publishers and video creators and producers on a 50/50 basis is being reported sold. The troubled video site Revver was bought by Brad Greenspan's LiveUniverse for what is rumored on several tech blogs to be under $5 million.

InfoSpace has sold its mobile unit for $135M to Motricity, the second prepares to go public
A couple of months ago Motricity , a mobile content solutions service, has acquired the mobile services business unit of InfoSpace for what is said to be $135M in an all cash transaction. From what we have found out it seems the acquisition is being funded largely by Carl Icahn and Advanced Equities since the company has then announced the completion of its $185M a round of funding, which was led by Advanced Equities, Inc., Carl Icahn and New Enterprise Associates, Inc.

Yahoo makes an acquisition of its own – the online video platform Maven Networks
Undeterred by the threat of a hostile takeover Microsoft imposed over them a couple of weeks ago Yahoo seems to have completed an acquisition of its own Tuesday by buying online video service Maven Networks Inc. for $160 million.

And here is what Microsoft has to tell Yahoo!
The saga continues. Following the firm ' NO ' of Yahoo as of yesterday, Microsoft has put up today an official press release responding to the Yahoo!'s NO with “Reiterates Full and Fair Proposal for Microsoft-Yahoo! Combination”

YuMe, a broadband video advertising network, has taken $16M so far to tackle the video advertising
WThe well-funded YuMe Networks is aiming to match video publishers with video advertising using a bit of contextual analysis. The company said video content is targeted based on tags and metadata, something that generally works much better for established content creators who label their work well. YuMe uses such information to slot videos into ad-friendly content buckets such as auto, finance, and entertainment.

End of speculations: Yahoo rejected Microsoft's offer
Internet giant Yahoo's board has decided to reject Microsoft's takeover bid , saying its 44.6 billion dollar offer “massively undervalues” Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier today.

BlackArrow took $12 Million to tackle the video advertising, relies on cable companies
A couple of months ago BlackArrow has taken a big round of money - $12 million in Series B funding. The company offers an advertising management platform for video , allowing web sites to monitor their inventory while enabling advertisers to insert ads on-the-fly. BlackArrow's money for its Series B funding came from Comcast Interactive Capital , Cisco Systems , Intel Capital , Mayfield Fund , and Polaris Venture Partners.

One after another the potential competitive bidders for Yahoo drop off; is Yahoo going to surrender to Microsoft?
A few days ago we were trying to analyze who is going to eventually make a counter offer to match or outbid the Microsoft's $46B offer for Yahoo!. By that time multiple sources were reporting counter offers are in preparation by competitive bidders trying to snatch Yahoo! before Microsoft does it.

An acquisition within the 3-D modeling space
While everybody is waiting to see what is going to happen between Microsoft and Yahoo, the first made yet another technology acquisition – bought the 3D modeling and animation software company called Caligari to further improve its Virtual Earth.

It seems eXpresso is having more competition than we thought
A couple of days ago when we wrote about a tiny start-up that raised venture capital for an online collaboration tool built around Microsoft Excel we did not fully realize how crowded the market is.

Sequoia Capital invested in TokBox, hoping for Web's next big communication tool
Sequoia Capital has recently provided $4 million in Series A round of funding to Tokbox - a new startup providing real-time video chat via a browser. Sequoia joins an already impressive collection of angel investors including founding members of YouTube, Bebo, and Netscape along with execs from Slide, PayPal and Cisco.

A Google's Chief Legal Officer vs. Microsoft's General Counsel
An interesting virtual war is taking place on Web right now caused by the Microsoft's bid for Yahoo!. It appears Google cannot (or they don't want to) enter the bidding war for Yahoo! due to many reasons; one of them seems to be the antitrust law complications that might arise from potential market dominance in the search market. Another reason could be that Google does not need Yahoo but does not want to let Microsoft own it.

An online collaboration tool built around Microsoft Excel took $2M, plans for $2M more
eXpresso, an online collaboration tool around Excel spreadsheets, has raised $2M round of financing from Novus and Rocket Ventures.

Is Google going to be the winner from the Microsoft-Yahoo deal?
Over the past a couple of days all the major media outlets are full with news, analyses, reports, commentaries and researches on the potential deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! trying to figure out the benefits or the potential pitfalls the deal would eventually face. We've read a lot and we'd like here to summarize the pluses and minuses of this potential deal.

Yes, we were right Yahoo was seriously undervalued; Microsoft offers $44.6B for the company, a 62% premium over their value from yesterday
When a few days ago we conducted an in-depth research on Web and ran an analysis based on the information collected we came up to the logical conclusion that Yahoo! was seriously undervalued company. Today Microsoft proved us right by offering $44.6B for Yahoo!, which represents a 62% premium on Thursday's closing price. All major media are reporting on the deal.

The Washington Post Company acquired CourseAdvisor.com
The Washington Post Company ( NYSE: WPO ) has acquired the education site CourseAdvisor.com, which is an online lead generator serving the education industry. However, the financial details and terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Founders Fund creates Founders Fund II
Founders Fund, a non-traditional investment group, has raised an institutional fund in the amount of $220 million. The new fund, Founders Fund II , will allow this team of four managing partners, who themselves are founders and entrepreneurs, to leverage their individual expertise and deliver their unique business model, which puts the entrepreneurs first. Founders Fund has developed a comprehensive package designed to create near perfect alignment of interests between founders and their investors

After Internet Brands, LogMeIn, now Al Gore's Current TV files for an IPO and plans to go public
It seems it is time for small-sized Internet and technology IPOs. After Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ , LogMeIn, Inc. filed to do so now Al Gore's Current is looking forward to do the same. Unlike Internet Brands Inc and LogMeIn, Inc, Current TV is purely from the web 2.0 age, so it would be of particular interest for all companies from the web 2.0 sector to see how the company goes public and what is going to happen after their IPO.

A big question: is Alibaba.com overvalued or Yahoo is seriously undervalued?
Let's put it that way Alibaba lost $13B from its market cap in just one month, yet the company's market value is close to 50% from what Yahoo!'s current value is!

Mobivox takes $11M series A round from IDG Ventures
A couple of months ago IDG Ventures Boston led an $11 million series A round of funding for a Canadian company called Mobivox , which lets registered members make cheap or free phone calls around the world. The Montreal-based company is essentially letting members call to a number of countrieres free of charge and to other countries at around 2 cents.

Yet another seed round, this time for MyLifeBrand
MyLifeBrand, the social network that offers private label solutions for online community-building, has received $750,000 in seed money. However, the angel investors were not disclosed.

Inform receives $15 Million investment from Spark Capital
Inform Technologies, a technology solution for established media brands, has received a $15 million investment from Spark Capital, a Boston-based venture fund focused on the intersection of the media, entertainment and technology industries.

Secretive video site has raised $800,000 seed round
A couple of months ago a secretive video site has raised $800,000 seed round from Concept Ventures and its founder and managing director, Julien Nguyen, according to multiple sources on Web. The company was rumored they were in quest for its series A round of funding some time across Silicon Valley.

More deals in the enterprise search sector
A couple of weeks after Microsoft announced its $1.2 billion acquisition of FAST Search & Transfer , enterprise search competitor Endeca is getting a $15 million cash infusion from both Intel Capital and SAP Ventures. This is on top of the $50 million Endeca has already raised in the past few years from Lehman Brothers , Granite Global Ventures , Ampersand Ventures , Bessemer Venture Partners , Venrock Associates and DN Capital.

Wall Street plunged but does it affect the Web 2.0
Wall Street plunged at the opening of trading Tuesday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down about 300 points after an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to assuage investors fearing a recession in the United States.

After Samwer brothers Nokia is also going to invest in Facebook
It has been deal time for Facebook over the past months, or year? After Microsoft, the Honk Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing   and the Samwer brothers Nokia is now rumored to be in talk to invest in Facebook. Let's however first take a look at what the Samwer brothers have gotten last week for their money.

WidgetBucks claims it served over 1B ads in just 3 months, enters behavioral targeting
A tiny start up called WidgetBucks is claiming they have served over 1 billion ads in the past three months. It is a serious claim, aside the fact they also claim to be the fastest growing ad network on web today.

Proximic lands deals with Yahoo! and Shopping.com, said to be taking on AdSense, which is bad PR approach!
Content-delivery network Proximic, which has a unique contextual matching system, now has ads to sell that can help bloggers and others monetize their sites. The Munich Germany based start-up has signed deals to syndicate product listings from both eBay's Shopping.com and Yahoo's Shopping Network as contextual ads on other Websites

Massive second round of funding for Freebase - $42 Million
Freebase, the open and shared database of the world's knowledge, has raised a whopping amount of money in its Series B round of funding , $42 Million, in a round that included Benchmark Capital and Goldman Sachs. Total funding to date is $57 million.

NetAudioAds kicks off with… spam
A new initiative launched by V2P Communications , a San Diego company, named NetAudioAds is taking clearly wrong PR approach by spamming web site owners and administrators around Web with unsolicited emails and trying to convince them to join their network.

Reach for the stars says a newly launched talent show site
It Impersonated.com launches exciting new talent show site which allows users to upload videos of themselves singing their favorite songs for a unique opportunity to make friends, have fun and even to earn massive fame and fortune in the process.

More deals in the storage space, Fabrik acquires G-Technology
Fabrik, a storage hardware and service provider, announced today that they have acquired G-Technology. Deal terms were  not disclosed. G Technology sells external drives that focus on high performance for rich media.

LogMeIn files for an IPO hoping to raise $86M
It seems it is time for small-sized Internet and technology IPOs. After Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ it is now turn of yet another second-tier technology company LogMeIn, Inc. to do the same looking for pretty much the same amount to raise. It has filed to trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol LOGM.

Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ
Internet Brands, Inc., the smaller brother of IAC in terms of Internet strategy, and an Internet holding company with a number of second tier e-brands went public in the last weeks of 2007. They filed for their IPO back in July 2007 and were then planning to raise $100M/$115M million.

Technorati's total funding revealed - $21.6 to date in 3 rounds
Technorati, the blog search engine, has always been quite secretive about the funding it got over the years leaving people like us, always interested in the money behind the Web 2.0, speculate about the right numbers. Things changed the last month when we have read over multiple trusted sources on Web that the company has raised $21M so far in three rounds of financing. Those numbers are believed to be the right ones. Our attempt to dig some more information about what are the different numbers for the 3 rounds yielded some results. Who the Technorati's investors are, anyway?

From Half.com to FirstRound Capital
When Josh Kopelman has sold his company half.com to eBay for $350M back in 2000 he most probably did not know that in few years he would manage a small VC firm called FirstRound Capital and that his young venture capital firm would be at the center of nearly every hot trend in Silicon Valley. Fortune has recently named Josh and their VC firm as one of the top 6 innovation leaps for the 2007.

Behavioral Targeting is Busted; But Marketers are barking up the wrong tree!
Behavioral Targeting (BT) has been around since the first dotcom days. It got really hot again in late 2007 thanks to a few big promoters like Facebook. But what is it and does it really work as it sounds?

Can Google lead amid its ever growing infrastructure and computation expenditures?
While reading our daily dose of news, stories and events from the web sector we came across an interesting fact worth reading and mentioning further. Google seems to be processing huge amounts of data per day in their daily routines – 20 Petabytes per day (20,000 Terabytes, 20M GBs).

Virtual television network start-up has raised $8 million in second round
The virtual television network start-up RayV Ltd. has raised $8 million in its second financing round as the money is coming from Accel Partners. RayV describes its business as follows: “Why is everybody so hell-bent on replacing TV? We here at RayV, like TV. The only thing is, we want more of it.

Microsoft bets on enterprise search, offers to buy Fast.no for $1.2B
In what's Microsoft's second largest deal for the past 12 months the company offered to buy Fast Search & Transfer ASA, a leading provider of enterprise search solutions based in Norway.

After Last.fm, Wallstrip CBS has now acquired Dotspotter
Online gossip site Dotspotter has been acquired by CBS for $10 million. In Digg style Dotspotter lets users offer up celebrity news , video clips, images, articles and sightings for your leisurely enjoyment. You can vote up the ones you like and vote down the ones you hate.

Google bought Jaiku, instead of Twitter
Finnish short messaging and microblogging service Jaiku has been acquired by Google. Notable fact here is the fact that Google bought Jaiku instead of its competitor Twitter, a service founded by Blogger founder Evan Williams.

Online storage sector is hot, yet another player is entering the game
Just it was a couple of days ago when we reported and analyzed the two major acquisitions within the online storage sector IBM announced it has acquired XIV, an Israeli company for what is believed to be $350M and some months ago EMC Corporation has snatched up Mozy for $76M. Today we have dug up yet another deal from the same industry.

Google files patent for recognizing text in images
Google has filed a patent application in July 2007, which has just recently become public claiming methods where robots can read and understand text in images and video. The basic idea here is Google to be able to index videos and images and made them available and searchable by text or keywords located inside the image or the video. Aside Google Inc. the application was filed by Luc Vincent from Palo Alto, Calif. and Adrian Ulges from Delaware, US. The inventors are Luc Vincent and Adrian Ulges.

Two major acquisition deals within the online storage space
IBM today announced it has acquired XIV , a privately-held storage technology company based in Tel Aviv, Israel. XIV, its technologies and employees, will become part of the IBM System Storage business unit of the IBM Systems and Technology Group. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed but sources tell the price was $350M. 

RockYou named one of the top innovations for 2007
RockYou is amongst the top 6 innovation leaps for 2007 according CNN. Below is what Michael V. Copeland from Fortune wrote about the company....

AOL‘s Platform-A gets the fourth ad company under its umbrella
AOL has finally completed the acquisition of online advertising company Quigo. Financial terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed, though we've found information on Web from different sources claiming the sale is said to be around $340 Million.

Some of the web's biggest acquisition deals during 2007
As the end of the year approaches us we would like to briefly sum up some of the web's biggest acquisition deals for the 2007, as we know them. 

Fashion Fix for Facebook users
Developing Facebook applications and taping into their millions of registered users appears to be yet another marketing instrument employed even sometimes by brick and mortar retailers like the UK's TopShop.  

Naspers acquires yet another European company - Tradus
Simply put a fallen dot com star with eBay ambitious, once worth more than 2B British pound (around $4B) and collapsed down to £62M at the end of 2000 is now being basically said rescued by a South African media company that is spending money at breakneck pace. The offered price is £946M (more than $1.8B) based on just £60M annual revenues.

Oddly WalMart jumps into the search engine marketing business, joins Kenshoo & Fathomonline
In a recent announcement the company seems to be entering the SEM (search engine marketing) business and are offering services to users willing to advertise on Google AdWords through AdSense.

In a small acquisition Mobile Network mbuzzy snapped up by SendMe
In a recent deal SendMe Mobile, a mobile media company, has acquired a mobile social network called mbuzzy. Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to Russell Klein, SendMe's co-founder and CEO, the two companies had been in talks to work on joint projects for almost 8 or 9 months before the acquisition. 'There's a fair amount of overlap between our tech platforms and typical user demographics,' said Klein. 'And over time it became evident that the best way to partner was to join forces.' 

Behavioral recommendation service for shoppers raises $10 Million, market heats up
A couple of months ago MyBuys raised $10 Million in Series B funding aimed to help online merchants sell more by utilizing behavioral targeting techniques. The company provides software to ecommerce stores that allows them to serve up ads and products based on your behavior – for example, tracking what you search for and showing related items during a future visit. Lightspeed participated in this latest round, which was led by Palomar Ventures.

MSNBC made its first acquisition in its 11-year history, acquired Newsvine
In a recent deal the citizen journalism startup Newsvine has been acquired by MSNBC, the Microsoft/NBC joint venture, for an undisclosed sum. Newsvine will continue operating independently, just as it has been since launching in March of 2006. The acquired company also indicated there would be little change in the features of the site. 

SAP Germany makes its biggest deal ever - acquires Business Objects for 4.8B EURO
SAP , the world's largest maker of business software, has agreed to acquire Business Objects SA for €4.8 billion euros, which was around ~$6.8 billion at the time the acquisition deal was announced. The deal is amongst the largest for 2007 alongside with Oracle's Hyperion deal for over $3.3B and the Nokia's Navteq for over $8B.

Naspers Acquired Polish based IM Company Gadu Gadu (chit-chat)
South Africa's biggest media group Naspers Ltd offered to buy all outstanding shares in Polish Internet firm Gadu Gadu S.A. ( GADU.WA ), a Polish IM service, for 23.50 zlotys ($8.77) per share. The current majority shareholder of Gadu Gadu has agreed to tender its 55% shareholding in the public tender offer.

Small round for Mesmo.tv
The social video bookmarking and recommending service Mesmo.TV and provider of a very popular Facebook application, has secured over half of a $900,000 round of Series A financing.

Hakia takes $5M more, totals $16M
In a new round of funding Hakia , the natural language processing search engine has raised additional $5M. The money came from a previous investor, some of which are Noble Grossart Investments, Alexandra Investment Management, Prokom Investments, KVK, and several angel investors.

iPower -- the worst hosting company I have ever seen
One thing seems clear to me today iPower, Inc, is rapidly heading towards the “deadpool” and is on its way to totally disintegrate itself as a hosting company

Digg guys are up for sale again, quietly
The situation around Digg is heating up, but not because there are many potential buyers bidding for the company, but it seems the rumors are all around us telling stories where Digg is in desperation to sell out. It has happened before; it happens today again, the only difference is the price tag. Digg is again getting serious about a sale and has hired Allen & Company to shop the site for what rumors claim to be anything in the $300 million range.

Sequoia Funding for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Firm Kenshoo
Kenshoo, a search engine marketing firm, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Sequoia Capital. The end-to-end search marketing solution aimed at advertisers and ad agencies operates on an automated technology for advertising campaigns, and a core feature of the company’s suite of offerings relies on the longtail keyword expansion.

MyPunchBowl gets angel funding, relies on algorithm to recommend best dates
MyPunchBowl, the event planning site that has joined the new crowd of Evite rivals, has recently been angel funded. According to some sources like VentureBeat and Mashable, the exact amount of funding has not been disclosed, but it's less than $1 million, and is enough to keep the team in development for another year, at least.

Sportingo has raised $3.2 in funding, moves to London
Sportingo, a sports fan portal and blogging community, has raised $3.2 million in funding from London-based Ingenious Media.  Launched early this year in Israel, Sportingo is a site where users can write their own match reviews and commentary, and discuss others' content.

Google is taking on Wikipedia
Once known as one of the strongest and beneficial friendships on the Web between two hugely popular and recognized giants is today going to turn out into an Internet battle second to none.

No IPO for Classmates.com
Today we learned they have canceled their IPO in US. If it did go through it could have been the first pureplay social networking IPO in the country.

BillMeLater - $1 Billion in funding so far
By putting different pieces together we have just realized that all the funding for the so called credit card alternative BillMeLater totals $1 Billion. Pretty impressive at first sight but on second reading we guess it is in norms for a financial company with such ambitious goals and operations.

Hakia takes on major search engines backed up by a small army of international investors
In our planned series of publications about the Semantic Web and its Apps today Hakia is our 3rd featured company. Hakia.com, just like Freebase and Powerset is also heavily relying on Semantic technologies to produce and deliver hopefully better and meaningful results to its users. Hakia is building the Web's new 'meaning-based' (semantic) search engine with the sole purpose of improving search relevancy and interactivity, pushing the current boundaries of Web search.

Exclusive: Imeem inks a deal with the world's largest record company
In what is believed to be a big leap for the relatively small social networking site called Imeem they announced today a licensing agreement allowing its users to listen free to the music of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group.

Rackspace jumps on the web acquisitions bandwagon -- snatches Webmail.us
During the past 2 years the Web's M&A market is very intensive. In what is known to be the RackSpace's first web acquisition the company has acquired Webmail.us, a business web email service provider for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft acquires discount shopping search Jellyfish
A couple of months ago Microsoft did an interesting move. They acquired Jellyfish.com -- the Internet's first buying [search] engine, as they call themselves.  Simply put: online discount shopping website that shares their fees earned from the merchants when you buy from them through cash back program.

Edgeio closes doors after burning $5M in one year
In a final board meeting last evening Edgeio's board members have decided to shut down operations of the company. This failure is sort of symbolic for the Web 2.0 sector. Why? What Edgeio is interested with? First off it has been co- founded by Michael Arrington from Techcrunch, an influential, probably the most, blog that is symbolic itself for the web 2.0 age and Arrington himself is the editor there and one of the most influential people on Web today, according many sources, including but not limited to Wired and Forbes.

Adobe Systems Acquires Buzzword, a web-based word processing software
So, is this an employment through acquisition? It could also be a well planned, funded and executed internal deal in the domain of the PR for Adobe in order to promote, proclaim and popularize its new products as Adobe Flex software, Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR, all trademarks owned by Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Dmoz.org - a falling star, web 2.0 to blame?
Once mythical site millions of web sites were desperately relying on for Web authority, today Dmoz.org is declining in every aspect you can imagine of - from traffic, site usage, indexation level, PageRank(tm) to overall authority, trustworthiness and beyond.

Interesting web buy for Dun & Bradstreet Corp
Today Dun & Bradstreet Corp., a major business information company, said it has bought AllBusiness.com for $55 million in all cash deal. Based on this the company subsequently raised its 2008 revenue outlook to account for the acquisition.

Powerset - the natural language processing search engine empowered by Hbase in Hadoop
Powerset is a Silicon Valley based company building a transformative consumer search engine based on natural language processing. Their unique innovations in search are rooted in breakthrough technologies that take advantage of the structure and nuances of natural language.

Troubles and security issues in SecondLife and other virtual worlds
Indeed, while Second Life may have started as a utopian world where gamers, geeks, and technophiles could gather and immerse themselves into the pure and innocent escapism of a genuine second life, the rocketing popularity of Linden Lab's online world has now begun attracting the attentions of people that intent on destruction, and even violence...

Microsoft Acquires WebFives, yet another multimedia sharing site
Microsoft has acquired yet another photo/video and audio sharing site called WebFives. The agreement has been reached during November 2007 and according it Microsoft has acquired all rights to WebFives technology, patents pending, trademarks, and software to incorporate into its products and services over time.

Force.com takes $25 million from Bay Partners & Bessemer Venture Partners
Bay Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners have teamed up with Salesforce to invest $25 million in businesses building on the recently announced Force.com application platform over the next three years. Investments will be around $500,000 each where some convertible notes are also included. Investments may go as high as $2 million depending on the company's stage and needs.

Is Google trying to become a Social Search Engine?
Based on what we are seeing the answer is close to yes. Google is now experimenting with new social features aimed at improving the users' search experience.

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing Invests $60m in Facebook. Funding totals $338.20M to date
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing Invests $60m in Facebook. Facebook now has $338.20M in cash to play with. Plans are the company to go public in 2008 or 2009 according to some rumors within the sector.

Freebase: open, shared database of the world's knowledge
Freebase, created by Metaweb Technologies, is an open database of the world's information. It's built by the community and for the community -- free for anyone to query, contribute to, build applications on top of, or integrate into their websites.

The Semantic Web and its Applications Today
Since Web 2.0 Innovations is all about discovering and showcasing the innovation on web, we think the Semantic Web is playing a significant role of the next web transformation. Therefore in a series of publications we will try to discover, highlight and feature the next generation of web-based semantic applications, engines, platforms, mash-ups, machines, products, services, mixtures, parsers, and approaches and far beyond.

Intuit Acquires Homestead for $170m
Small business website creation service Homestead, started out in the web 1.0 era, announced tonight that it has been acquired by Intuit for $170m. In addition to Intuit's personal and small business accounting software, and the company's partnership with Google to integrate services like Maps listing and AdSense buys, Intuit customers will now presumably be able to put up websites quickly and easily with Homestead.

What's common between Nokia, Motorola and Nintendo?
CNope, it is not a new mobile gaming platform the two companies are planning and working on. The 3 companies, among others, are being slammed by Greenpeace in their ‘Guide to Greener Electronics' . While we are all waiting for the major companies to adopt the web 2.0 principles and enter the sector, it seems they are having serious green issues ( environmental issues ) to deal with rather than wasting time and resources on web 2.0 companies and technologies.   

Classmates prepares for an IPO
Classmates Media has just filed to go public at a valuation of $600 to $700 million. Compared to Facebook's $15 Billion valuation, which the company took as a private entity, it ranks the company more in the bottom level of the Internet sector rather than within the top 100. It appears that Classmates is trying to cash in on the social netowrking market craze.

ReachLocal Stands at Good Chances When it Comes to Location Based Advertising
As we wrote yesterday a couple of months ago a company called ReachLocal raised a massive amount of money - $55 million at a pre-money valuation in the $300 million range. ReachLocal provides online advertising services for small businesses. The company’s investors include Rho Ventures, with Galleon Crossover Fund also participating, and VantagePoint Venture Partners as return investors.

$12 million more for online local advertising. No it's not ReachLocal it is now Yodle
Yodle has raised a whopping amount of money in its second round - $12 million for its web-based local advertising business. The company manages online advertising campaigns for small businesses on all of the big search engines and drives traffic to pages designed specifically to attract new leads. Yodle also employs customer management tools for tracking both incoming calls and emails that your small business is generating from its web presence.

Michael Dell is returning; reshaping the industry?
As we have seen today across multiple news reports Michael Dell is returning to the company and is in charge again of the troubled computer company he founded 23 years ago. After a two-year absence, Michael Dell is back as CEO of the PC maker he founded in 1984. Why troubled? Here are some facts as we know them explaining the situation behind Dell, Incorporated.

China-based video-sharing Youku takes $25 million, totals $40M
In its the third round of funding for the company Youku raised $25 million which is pretty large amount for a China based web site. We remember large scale funding happened before for a couple of other China Internet companies one of which is Maxthon, the China based browser organized as donateware (part of Charles River Venture's portfolio).

Nokia Buys Navteq For $8 Billion, Bets Big On Location-Based Services
Nokia (NOK), the Finnish mobile phone giant with nearly a third of the global handset market, has decided to bet big on location based services (LBS), and is buying Chicago-based digital map company NAVTEQ (NVT) for $8.1 billion. That works out to about $78 a share. This is one of Nokia's largest purchases to date -- the Finnish mobile giant has a mixed track record when it comes to acquisitions. This is also the second megabillion dollar buyout in the maps (LBS) space. Earlier this year, Dutch GPS device maker TomTom bought Tele Atlas for $2.8 billion.

BBC Worldwide Acquires Lonely Planet
BBC Worldwide, the international arm of BBC, has acquired Lonely Planet , the Australia-based travel information group. The amount of the deal was not disclosed, but Lonely Planet founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler get to keep a 25% share in the company.

Bay And Bessemer Add $25 Million In Monetary Muscle Behind Force.com Bay Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners have teamed up with Salesforce to invest $25 million in businesses building on the recently announced Force.com application platform over the next three years. Investments will be around $500,000 each (some convertible notes). However, others may go as high as $2 million depending on the company's stage and needs. The investments are a boon to the evolving Force platform and sure to lessen the appeal for a host of other database-driven application platforms.

Wikinvest Gets $2.5M in Series A Round
Wikinvest, the wiki community for stock junkies, is officially launching today, with $2.5 million in a Series A round of funding, led by DCM venture capital firm. You'll remember that wikinvest operates around individual contributions to information regarding the stock market, all within the transparent community consisting of wikis. Establish yourself as an authority by providing useful information to other users. Searching for information is also a primary objective for Wikinvest, and you'll find several filtering options for narrowing down your queries, according to things like analysts' user names and companies.

Google Buys Zingku, Mobile Social Network
Google's plans to extend in the mobile space could include the launch of a mobile phone . For now, Google bought another mobile social network: Zingku. 'We've entered into an agreement to have Google acquire our Zingku service,' informs us Zingku.com.

DECA, bringing Hollywood online, raises $5M
With the profusion of video sharing services on the internet, a number of startups are helping produce professional online content. Every Silicon Valley venture capital firm, it seems, wants to back one. DECA , a Santa Monica, Calif., studio that calls itself 'the best of Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and Silicon Valley,' is the latest to bring professional production values to computer screens and mobile phones.

Asklaila Adds $10 Million Funding
The India portal asklaila, was successful in its Series B fundraising. The new round of capital was secured from Lightspeed Venture Partners, SVB India Capital Partners and existing investor Matrix Partners India. The company plans to use the capital to expand its service across the country.

Deca.TV: VCs Invest New Media Production House
Mayfiled, General Catalyst Partners, and Atomico Investments have put $5 million into Deca.tv, a newly launched production house for mainstream digital entertainment. Deca was started by Michael Wayne and Chris Kimbell, both from Sony Pictures.

Project Playlist Raises $3 Million for Social Music Sharing
Project Playlist, a service that lets users share music playlists on blogs and social network profiles, has raised $3 million in its first round of funding, PEHub.com reported, citing a regulatory filing. No investor information was disclosed. Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Project Playlist's technology allows users to add their music playlists to blogs and profiles on social networks including MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and Gaia Online.

Demand Media Takes $100 Million Series C
Domain holding company Demand Media has taken $100 million Series C funding in a round led by Goldman Sachs that included 3i Group, Generation Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Spectrum Equity Investors. The new round takes Demand Media's total funding to the rather extraordinary figure of $320 million and values Demand Media at $1 billion.

Sugar Publishing Acquires ShopStyle
San Francisco based Sugar Publishing, a social network and group of women-focused blogs that we've covered since late 2006, is announcing the acquisition of ShopStyle, an ecommerce site, this evening. The price is not being disclosed. Sugar says they will integrate shopping into editorial via widgets that allow readers to buy items directly. Combined, the company's claim 5 million unique monthly visitors.

GameTrust sold for less than $50M, after raising $20M over 3 rounds
Paid Content reported today that GameTrust sold for less than $50M, after raising $20M over 3 rounds, over the past 5 years. That does not seem like a healthy exit for the numerous VCs, which include: TWJ Capital, NJTC Venture Fund, Patriot Capital, CSK Ventures, Topspin Partners, Silicon Alley Venture Partners, Draper Associates and investor Elon Musk.

Huffington Post Raises Another $5 Million
The cool thing to do if you have a famous blog, it seems, is raising funding - and more funding. The Huffington Post, world's 5th most popular blog according to Technorati, has raised another $5 million in its second round of funding. The investors are the same as in the first round: Softbank Capital, Greycroft Partners, CEO and co-founder Ken Lerer as well as Bob Pittman's Pilot Group. This rounds it up at $10 million of funding total - not bad for, you know, a blog.

Acebucks Gets $1.5 Million For Virtual Facebook Currency
Acebucks, the maker of a virtual currency for Facebook has raised a $1.5 million round of investment. AceBucks was originally purchased by Michael Lazerow to form Buddy Media, whose investors include Howard Lindzon, Peter Thiel, Mark Pincus and James Altucher. Acebucks is a virtual economy that pays users Acebucks for installing applications and referring their friends (kind of like a virtual pyramid scheme). Users can then spend the currency on either virtual goods in the Acebucks mall or put them toward real items like an iPod Nano.

Ad Network Turn Raises $8 Million
Turn, an online ad network that automates the process of selecting the best ad placements, has raised $8 million in financing. The company is notable for being founded by Jim Barnett, the former CEO of Altavista, which was one of the more popular search engines of the 1990s. Turn hopes to differentiate itself from the dozens of competing online ad networks through an automated process that saves time for both advertisers and publishers by using algorithms to select the best ad placements.

DocuSign Raises $12.4 Million
DocuSign, an eSignature service, has raised a $12.4 million series C led by new investor WestRiver Capital, LLC and their existing investors Ignition Partners, Frazier Technology Ventures and Sigma Partners. It follows a Series B investment of $10 million in April 2006 from Frazier, Ignition, and Sigma. DocuSign, which has been around since 2003, enables companies to get legally binding signatures quickly over the internet instead of over the fax or mail. The whole digital signature business was really opened up during the turn of the century with that passing of the UETA and ESIGN acts, which clarified the legal grounds for electronic signatures nationwide.

Microsoft Bets On Facebook Stake And Web Ad Boom
Microsoft Corp.'s $240 million investment in Facebook Inc. -- a three-year-old company with more promise than profit - represents a huge bet that the online advertising boom will continue and the popular social networking site will be among the biggest beneficiaries. The software giant said yesterday that it will buy a 1.6% stake in Facebook, beating out Google Inc. after intense lobbying.

EchoStar Acquires Sling Media for $380M
EchoStar Communications Corporation, the parent company for DISH Network, has announced its agreement to acquire Sling Media, creator of the Sling suite, which lets you do things like control your television shows at any time, from their computers or mobile phones, or record and watch TV on your PC or Windows-based mobile phone. The acquisition is for $380 million.

Visible Technologies Takes sA $12 Million Series B
Visible Technologies is a company that helps corporations manage their online reputations by becoming more aware of and responsive to these conversations. Visible Technologies was started in 2003 and took a Series A investment of undisclosed size from U.K.-based advertising giant WPP in July 2006. WPP announced it acquired 25% of the issued share capital of Visible Technologies LLC for $3.5 million with the option to buy 26% in August of that year. Today they're announcing a $12 million series B led by Ignition Partners with WPP also participating.

LinkedWords.com surpasses the 500,000 monthly unique visitors mark
We are excited to announce that for first time since its inception in July '06 LinkedWords.com, the contextual platform, has surpassed the 500,000 uniques/mo mark. The last measured period taken into consideration was Sept 17-Oct 17 2007 and the number revealed was 556,000 unique visitors for that period of 30 days.

Online Backup Startup Mozy Acquired By EMC For $76 million
Online storage startup Mozy, headquartered in Utah, has been acquired by EMC Corporation, a public storage company with a nearly $40 billion market cap. EMC paid $76 million for the company, according to two sources close to the deal.

MatchMine Raises $10m for Media Recommendation Engine
MatchMine, a Massachusetts company building a cross-platform media recommendation engine, announced this morning that they have received a $10 million investment from The Kraft Group. The company released an early product called MyMovieMatch in July, but in the bizarre DEMO dance of 'now you see us now you don't,' the product has gone back under wraps before it launches next week. Hopefully there will be more disclosed than there has been so far. You can sign up for a beta account now on the company's site. See RIA expert Ryan Stewart's review of the original product for background from this summer.

Snapvine Raises $10 Million
Online voice messaging service Snapvine has raised a $10 million round led by Bridgescale Partners, a new Silicon Valley firm. This is on top of a $2 million round they raised back in last year from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, First Round Capital, and Russell Siegelman.

IT Marketplace OnForce Closes $6.75 Million
OnForce has closed a $6.75 million series A1 financing round led by Accel Partners. OnForce is a 'marketplace for on site IT services'. Companies use the site to post contract gigs for registered IT professionals in your area. Postings can be made to the site for $11 with 10% of the parts and labor taken after completion of the job and final payment transferred. OnForce plans on putting the financing toward expanding their operations into new markets outside of their current U.S. operations.

PlaySpan Lands $6.5 Million For In-Game Commerce Network
PlaySpan 's plan is to sell virtual goods from within virtual worlds, and while not yet launched, has received $6.5 million in its first round of funding between Easton Capital, Menlo Ventures, STIC and Novel TMT Ventures. According to the website they've signed up seven MMOG publishers, and will attempt to be the only "official" commerce providers for them.

MeeVee Takes $3.5 Million Series D
TV listings discovery service MeeVee has taken $3.5 Million Series D in a round that included original backers Bay Area Equity Fund, Defta Partners, FCPR Israel Discovery Fund, Labrador Ventures, Rothschild Ventures and WaldenVC. The investment takes MeeVee's total funding to $18 million.

Zillow Raises $30 Million More, Up To $87 Million in Venture Capital
Seattle-based real estate site Zillow has raised another big round of capital. Tonight they're announcing a $30 million financing, bringing their total capital raised to a whopping $87 million. The round was led by asset management firm Legg Mason Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and PAR Capital. Their last round, $25 million, was announced in July 2006.

Streetfire's Video Network Gets $6.1M
Car enthusiast site Streetfire has raised $6.1 million in a Series A round of funding. The network, which operates around the premise of video-sharing, managed to survive the dot-com bust by opening up for user-submitted content. The funding will pretty much go towards building out the site, and bringing in more premium content from top creators and publishers. The hope to steal market share from YouTube is a lofty goal that most video-sharing networks, like ustream, have in common.

Caring.com Gets $6 Million To Help With Your Parents' Elder Years
Caring.com, a website community about elderly care, just announced a $6 million Series A round of financing from DCM and Split Rock Partners. It's yet another one of the subject-specific knowledge communities to pop up over the last year. The site, as you can guess, is about caring for your parents in their 'Golden Years'. It provides articles about dealing with your parent's healthcare, financial, legal, housing, and life issues written by professionals or other users. It seems like a more smartly age-related service than Eons social network for the over 50.

RingCentral Raises $12 Million From Khosla And Sequoia
RingCentral provides phone system integration and utilities to a traditionally under-served category, small to medium sized businesses. Similar to GrandCentral, RingCentral (founded in 1998) uses a virtual number to offer more services to their users existing mobile, fax, and landlines. RingCentral numbers can feature an auto-attendant, multiple extensions, call forwarding, voicemail, click-to-call, screening, logs, and Outlook integration.On Monday, the company will announce they raised a $12 million series A financing from two highly respected firms, Khosla Ventures and Sequoia. RingCentral is also adding a new CFO, Dinesh Lathi, who was an ex-VP of eBay. They have currently provisioned over 100,000 numbers and serve over 40,000 paying customers with plans ranging from $9.99 per month to $24.99 per month.

Proximic takes on Google but overlooks Sphere, LinkedWords, Kontera, VibranMedia and others
German startup , based in Palo Alto, Proximic claims that it can deliver more realistically targeted ads on any given page using what it calls 'Pattern Proximity' compared to Google AdSense. The idea of finding relevant information within the content's context one is reading is not something new. LinkedWords.com for example has been around for more than a year...

SEOmoz Announces VC Funding, Staff Shuffle & Future Goals
First up (yes, there's lots of big news) is that we've decided to go the outside investment route. We're giving up an undisclosed (but small) percentage of the company (sorry, had to keep that one piece under wraps) for precisely $1.25million in outside capital.

ProfileBuilder Acquires ZingFu.com
Online identity management platform company ProfileBuilder has acquired ZingFu.com, a social-networking resource site with 600,000 registered members. Milwaukee based ZingFu.com provides 'zany content,' with products including Zing, a photo manipulation tool, Pets, a 'tomgatchi style toy,' and Zany Cards, pretty much as the title suggests.

Yahoo Acquires Zimbra For $350 million in Cash
Yahoo will announce the acquisition of open source online/offline office suite Zimbra this evening, we just heard through a very solid source. The price: $350 million, in cash, confirmed. Our coverage of Zimbra goes back to 2005. They gained wide exposure at the 2005 Web 2.0 Conference. Recently they launched offline functionality.

Facebook, Accel and Founders Fund Launch fbFund; To Give Grants To Facebook App Startups
During his keynote conversation with Michael Arrington this afternoon at the TechCrunch40 conference, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will be launching a new entity called fbFund with Accel and Founders Fund. The size of the fund will be $10 million (coming from Accel and Founders Fund) with anywhere between $25 to $250 thousand in grants available for each selected startup dedicated to developing Facebook applications. Founders Fund and Accel will get the right of first refusal for the first round of financing of any company in the fund.

IAC/InterActiveCorp Takes Game Designer Stake
IAC/InterActiveCorp today plans to announce it has taken a majority stake in game developer GarageGames.com Inc. to anchor a soon-to-be launched gaming site, InstantAction. IAC is hoping the company will help it develop a type of gaming still in its infancy: three-dimensional games users can play in their Web browsers. Unlike other sophisticated games, users don't need large software downloads or special consoles.

Nokia To Acquire Mobile Advertising Firm Enpocket
Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Enpocket. Boston based Enpocket provides technology and services centered on mobile advertising. Enpocket's platform delivers mobile advertising across multiple formats including SMS, MMS, mobile Internet advertising, and video. Nokia said in a statement that the acquisition will allow it to accelerate the scaling of its mobile advertising business by leveraging Enpocket's platform and strong partnerships with advertisers, publishers and operators.

Comcast Acquires TV Community BuddyTV
BuddyTV, the community that's founded around pop culture television, is being acquired by Comcast. The cable network provider plans to incorporate BuddyTV into its recently launched Fancast website, and Fandango. Both are services that revolve around finding programming and purchasing movie tickets online. BuddyTV's community should be a welcome addition to Comcast's growing collection of online resources, especially as the Fancast could stand to benefit from a more involved community of users.

Intel Snaps Up Havok
The world's largest computer chip manufacturer Intel has announced the upcoming purchase of Havok , the middleware software manufacturer that creates physics engines used in games and virtual worlds like Second Life. Intel have been experimenting with the uses of 3D spaces for serious applications for some time, and see Havok becoming 'a key element of Intel's visual computing and graphics efforts.'

Odeo (Formerly SonicMountain) Acquires FireAnt
The company built up a cult following in 2005 and 2006 as the podcast directory and player, and competed head on with Evan Williams' Odeo for mindshare and users. FireAnt's assets were acquired by Odeo for $400,000, they companies will announce today. Not the old Odeo, but Sonic Mountain, which renamed itself Odeo after acquiring it earlier this year. For less than $2 million, Sonic Mountain has now put two of the more well know podcasting brands together under one roof.

Docstoc Comes Through On That Financing
They raised a first round of financing from Scott Walchek (investor in Baidu), Brett Brewer (co-founder of MySpace parent Intermix Media) and Robin Richards, the former president of MP3.com. They won't disclose the size of the financing to me, but they certainly closed on the investors they said they would. Like Scribd, Docstoc is a sort of YouTube for documents - users can upload just about any document type (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, and PDF) and display via a Flash interface on any website. But there are key differences, too.

Yahoo Makes Tiny Acquisition: BuzzTracker
Yahoo has acquired news site BuzzTracker, a tiny news aggregation site, for somewhere between $2 - $5 million. Alan Warms, CEO of parent company Participate Media, will join Yahoo as Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo News...

vSocial Completes Series B Funding Round With Investments from Biltmore Ventures, Consor Capital
vSocial, a leading provider of hosted social networking for video services, announced today that it has closed its second round of corporate funding, led by investments from Phoenix-based Biltmore Ventures and previous vSocial investor Consor Capital. vSocial's new financial support will be used to expand development and grow its sales and marketing capabilities, enabling it to more aggressively attack the burgeoning online video field.

Hulu Makes First Acquisition; Chinese Video Startup To Form Backbone Of New Service
We haven't heard much about Bejing-based startup Mojiti before this week. They popped up in the TechCrunch Forums in January and are notable because the founder, Eric Feng, was previously at Microsoft Research Asia. Nothing other than that, and they do not appear to have many users. But they sure are in the spotlight now: a source with knowledge of the deal indicates that the $1 billion News Corp./NBC online video joint venture Hulu has acquired the company and is using its platform for the basis of the upcoming Hulu service.

Satisfaction, the Web 2.0 customer service site, raises $1.3M
Satisfaction, a San Francisco company that aims to improve online customer service by letting the customers effectively take over the process, has raised $1.3 million seed funding. Satisfaction creates customer support pages for companies and their products. But it goes beyond the standard customer support pages. It gives companies a way to provide answers -- but also lets customers answer the questions.

Socializr Raises $1.5M Series B Round of Funding
Socializr, the event-sharing network, has raised $1.5 in a second round of funding. The round was led by Rembrant Venture Partners. The funding from this particular venture capital firm is apparently rather important for Socializr creator, Jonathan Abrams, as it should be. Rembrandt partner Richard Ling knew Abrams before Socializr was launched, and is involved enough in the San Francisco night club scene to better understand the objectives for Socializr.

More Money For Product Reviews; PowerReviews Lands $15 Million
On the heels of Bazaarvoice raising an $8.8 million series B, competitor PowerReviews has just raised $15 million, adding to the $6.25 million they raised in late 2005. The round was led by Lehman Brothers Venture Partners along with current investors Menlo Ventures and Draper Richards. Since its launch in April 2007, the number of reviews and products offered on Buzzilions.com has tripled. Today, the site offers more than 400,000 reviews on 125,000 products from over 1,000 ecommerce sites.

Time Warner Invests In Video Ads Startup ScanScout
ScanScout, a Boston startup often described as providing 'AdSense for video', will announce this morning that it has received a strategic investment from Time Warner. The size of Time Warner's investment has not been disclosed. However, CEO Doug McFarland claims that many of the benefits for ScanScout will come from the connections and opportunities created by its partnership with Time Warner, aside from the financial gains.

Bazaarvoice Closes $8.8 Million Series B
Bazaarvoice has closed $8.8 million in Series B funding in a round led by Battery Ventures with Austin Ventures and First Round Capital also participating. Battery Ventures General Partner Neeraj Agrawal has joined Bazaarvoice's Board of Directors as part of the deal.

Yahoo! Announces Agreement to Acquire BlueLithium
Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BlueLithium, one of the largest and fastest growing online global ad networks that offers an array of direct response products and capabilities for advertisers and publishers. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! will acquire BlueLithium for approximately $300 million in cash.

$15 Million For VideoEgg As They Redefine Their Business
VideoEgg has just closed a $15 million series D round of funding led by Focus Ventures with WPP, Maveron, and August participating. VideoEgg cites plans to accelerate the development of their ad products and international sales network as the reasons behind the investment.

Cuill, yet another over-hyped stealth search engine
Few months since the unreasonable hype about Powerset begun, we are witnessing the formation of yet another over hyped and buzzed stealth search engine in the Silicon Valley - Cuill (should be pronounced 'cool or kool'). Their claims are kinda boostful and among others the company claims it can index web pages significantly faster and cheaper than Google can - Cuill has told potential investors that their indexing costs will be 1/10th of Google's, based on new search architectures and relevance methods.

Dopplr Picks Up Strategic Funding From Users
The travel based social network Dopplr has received a first round of funding. In what CEO Lisa Sounio describes as a strategic investment, Dopplr users and entrepreneurs Martin Varsavsky, Joichi Ito, Reid Hoffman and Saul Klein's The Accelerator Group have financed this early-stage funding. It's an impressive role call of investors, many of whom have been involved with a number of Web 2.0 success stories (including Last.FM, Flickr, Six Apart and FON).

Joost Acquires OnTheToob
Back in July we wrote about the phenomenon of independent developers contributing much-needed features to Joost, such as a frequently updated programming guide and a browser-based interface built in Flash. Well, one such project, Hal Schechner's OnTheTube - the programming guide that helps Joost beta testers create customized channels and RSS feeds out of Joost's some 238 channels and 10,298 programs - has been acquired by Joost, according to the blog JoostTeam (which is not affiliated with Joost, the company).

German YouTube Clone Acquired by TV Station
Germany's biggest television broadcaster, ProSiebenSat1 Media, has bought a 70% stake in German video-sharing network MyVideo.de for $26 million. The broadcasting network already owned 30% of MyVideo.de, so this last investment was more of a completion for a buyout than anything else. The German YouTube clone launched last year, and has gained significant traction even before the initial investment from ProSiebenSat1 Media.

LinkedIn Competitor Viadeo Raises €5 Million
Viadeo, a European social network for business contacts which is quite similar in idea and execution to LinkedIn, has raised a further €5 million in funding from its existing investors, AGF Private Equity and Ventech. The extra cash will be used to fuel the growth of Viadeo in Asia; so far, the network has been doing very well in Europe, with over 1.3 million members.

DailyMotion Raises $34 Million; Another Copyright Infringing Success Story
French social video site DailyMotion has raised a $34 million round from Advent Venture Partners LLP and AGF Private Equity, a division of Allianz AG. The new round comes on top of $9.5 million in previous financing from Atlas Ventures and Partech International. The round puts DailyMotion's total financing beyond that of their competitors, even MetaCafe's $45 million total financing. Dailymotion's executive chairman, Mark Zaleski, said the new funds will 'allow us to reach operating profitability'.

VersionTracker Acquired by CNET
VersionTracker, an online publication for software updates, has been acquired by CNET. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. With this integration deal, VersionTracker and its sister sites iPhone Atlas and MacFixIt will be incorporated into the CNET family as well. This gives VersionTracker a larger audience and access to more resources, while CNET expands its niche sites and grows its offerings of Mac information on the web.

Microsoft Acquires Enterprise Group Chat Company Parlano
Microsoft has announced that it has agreed to acquire Chicago-based Parlano, the maker of the enterprise group chat platform MindAlign. Microsoft said that it would use Parlano's group chat functionality to improve Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator.

SayNow Lands $7.5 Million Series A
SayNow, a service that enables 'celebrities to connect to their audience over the phone' will announce $7.5 million Series A funding September 12, in a round led by Shasta Partners. Tugboat Ventures' Dave Whorton, a SayNow advisor since early 2006, also participated in the round as did Costella Kirsch. Rob Coneybeer, MD of Shasta Ventures will join the SayNow board of directors ...

Zivity's Model Contest Site Raises $1M in Funding
Zivity, the social network aiming to be a user-generated Playboy Magazine online, has received $1 million in funding in a Series A round of funding, from private investors. We mentioned Zivity yesterday–you can read about it here...

The New York Times to Acquire Freakanomics Blog, and More
The New York Times is acquiring the popular Freakanomics blog, which was launched as a sort of spin-off to the success of the book, keeping up with its momentum. This will be the first blog that the New York Times acquires and adds to its larger media family, but there's word that the newspaper plans to acquire even more blogs in the not-too-distant future. Seems like blogs are getting acquired left and right these days, which is good for the creators, writers and publishers of these blogs, and good for the economics surrounding the blogosphere.

TheFind.com Acquires Glimpse
Shopping search engine startup TheFind has acquired the high-fashion shopping site Glimpse.com for an undisclosed amount. It's an early deal for Glimpse, which just launched this year. TheFind is a comparison shopping search engine that crawls many shopping sites across the internet (190 million products at over 500,000 stores).

Maya's Mom Acquired by BabyCenter
Maya's Mom, the social networking site for mothers, has been acquired by BabyCenter, the mom-centric parenting network, making this its first acquisition. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. According to the deal, Maya's Mom will remain a standalone product, and its back-end software will be utilized across BabyCenter's network of global websites.

SeatSmart's Ticket Search Funded in Angel Round
SeatSmart, the search engine dedicated to finding tickets for concerts, games and events, has raised a round of angel funding for an undisclosed amount. The company is a ticket search aggregator of sorts, perusing Stubhub, Razorgator, eBay, and other major ticket-selling sites to bring you a variety of search results.

Jaxtr Closes $10 Million Series A; Announces 1 Million Users
Jaxtr has raised a $10 million Series A round led by August Capital with Mayfield Fund, Draper Richards, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Luxemburg-based Mangrove Capital participating. They've also doubled their registered user base over last month, totalling 1 million users. They plan on getting to a break even point on the investment and to total 20 million users by the end of next year.

SpiceWorks Raises $8 Million; Google Adsense Even Supports IT Software
IT software maker SpiceWorks just closed an $8 million in series B financing. The funding round was led by Shasta Ventures with participation from Spiceworks series A investor, Austin Ventures. Their series A was $5 million. Shasta Ventures co-founder and managing director, Ravi Mohan, and former Dell senior executive, John Hamlin, have joined the Spiceworks board of directors. The money will be used to support over 120,000 users as well as software development and sales and marketing.

Wis.dm Raises $5M for Bookmarking and Media-Sharing Site
Wis.dm, the social bookmarking and media-sharing site that's relaunched with a Q&A slant, has received $5 million in funding. The funding was provided by North Bridge Venture Partners, with its Michael Skok joining the board.

MocoSpace Raises $3M for Mobile Network
MocoSpace, a mobile social network, has received $3 million in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by General Catalyst, and Pilot Group and Michael Daring, a former eBay executive, participated as well. The funding will be used to expand the company's sales and marketing.

Fotolog Acquired by Hi Media, French Ad Network
EXCLUSIVE: We had previously speculated that New York-based Fotolog would be the next one to get acquired. And we were right. It has been acquired by Hi Media, a Paris-based interactive media company for roughly $90 million - a combination of cash and stock, according to well-placed sources. The announcement is likely to be made later today.

FM Raises Another $4.5M; Are They Having Difficulty Filling Inventory?
Reports from PEHub and Mashable indicate a new $4.5 million Series B round of funding for Federated Media. Congrats! Federated Media provides advertising for some of the world's largest blogs including: TechCrunch (TC is in "open warfare" and looking for a replacement), Read/WriteWeb, GigaOm, Mashable, ArsTechnica, TechDirt and about 100 other blogs.

DivX Acquires Veatros to Create Enhanced Video Search & Discovery for the Home
DivX has acquired Veatros, creators of a video identification technology, for $4.25 million. The acquisition of Veatros will be used for DivX to create an improved video search and discovery service on the DivX Connected platform, incorporating metadata like cover art, information on videos' directors and actors, and titles.

LendingClub To Close $10.26 Million Series A
Peer to peer lending service Lending Club will close a $10.26 million series A round of financing from Norwest Venture Partners and Canaan Partners tomorrow. This comes a few months after the company's $2 million angel round. Coinciding with the investment, Jeff Crowe and Dan Ciporin (former ceo of shopping.com) are joining Lending Club's board of directors.

Conduit Labs Closes $5.5 Million Series A Funding
Conduit Labs, a yet-to-launch gaming virtual world, just closed a $5.5 million series A round with Charles River Ventures and Prism Venture Works. In addition to the financing, CRV's Susan Wu and Prism's Will Kohler have joined the company's Board of Directors.

SINOHUB Receives New RMB 23.5 Million Letter of Credit Line from Commercial Industrial Bank
SinoHub Technology Company, Ltd. today announced that it has successfully closed a RMB 23.5 Million Letter of Credit facility with the Commercial Industrial Bank . The company will use the funds to expand its electronic component procurement fulfillment business in China. Already a leading company in the rapidly growing field of electronic component supply chain management services in China (import, buffer inventory, procurement fulfillment, VMI, just-in-time delivery, export and other services), SinoHub will use these funds to propel itself into a dominant position in this field.

StreetBee Acquires JamJunky; Rebrands as GetYourGrooveOn
StreetBee has acquired JamJunky, a music composition review service. CN reviewed the service when it launched three months ago and JamJunky added a Facebook application in July. CN described JamJunky as, 'Basically JamJunky is a way for you to upload your own authored music and get feedback from your friends and other song writers to help perfect your songs.'

Google reveals stake in Chinese social Web site
Google revealed on Monday that it had acquired a stake in Chinese community Web site Tianya.cn, indicating a foray by the global search leader into social networking in the world's second-largest Internet market.

Global Grind's Pageflakes Clone Raises $4.5M in Series A Round
Global Grind, the niche start page for hip-hop news and information, has raised $4.5 million in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by Accel Ventures. New York-based Global Grind was founded by three creators of 360hiphop, which is a social network which was acquired by BET Interactive.

The Filter Brings Home $5M in Second Round of Funding
The Filter, a UK-based music recommendation company, has received $5 million in a second round of funding. Peter Gabriel has led the round, along with Eden Ventures, with both parties participating in the first round of funding, bringing the grand total to $6.8 million.

TripAdvisor Reportedly Acquires Where I’ve Been for $3 Million
In what is by far the largest Facebook application acquisition to date, travel company TripAdvisor has reportedly acquired Where I've Been from Craig Ulliott for $3 million. The acquisition marks the first major successful exit of a Facebook application since the Platform launched just under three months ago. With 2.3 million users, Where I've Been established itself as by far the biggest travel application on Facebook, leading #2 Cities I've Visited (also TripAdvisor owned) by over 1 million users.

Kongregate Closes $5 Million Series A For Casual Gaming
Casual gaming community Kongregate has closed a $5 million series A round led by Greylock today. This is on top of a $1 million angel round they raised from Reid Hoffman, Joe Kraus, Jeff Clavier and Richard Wolpert, among others. The casual gaming category consists of all those addictive online flash games that often distract you during your downtime (remember desktop tower defense?). James Slavet of Greylock pegs the casual game market at $500 million and expects it to grow even larger.

MTVN Acquires Another LGBT Network
MTV Networks has acquired DowneLink, a multicultural, LGBTQ (Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender / Questioning) social networking site. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. DowneLink has a reported 400,000 members, more than 72% of which are African-American, Asian or Latino, making it a good buy for MTVN, which seems to be broadening its scope of LGBT sites and demographics.

YFonGlobal Acquiring Splinternet Holdings
YFonGlobal, the turn key, white label solution for social networks and their necessary platforms, has begun the process of acquiring Splinternet Holdings, the developer of Internet telephony products and services. The financials of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal is scheduled to close within the next two months.

SocialMedia Raises $1M for Facebook App Network
SocialMedia, the aforementioned Facebook apps and MySpace widgets company that will combine hosting, promotion and an ad network, has raised $1 million in funding in a round led by CRV Ventures, SoftTech VC and the Hitforge seed fund.

Doppelganger Gets $11M in New Funding
Doppelgagner, the company that offers programmed virtual worlds for the teen demographic, has raised $11 million in funding, led by new investor ComVentures, and existing investors Draper Fisher Jurveston, Trident Capital, Draper Richards, KPG Ventures and Greycroft Partners. That brings the grand total to $25 million.

Diet Television Trims Name, Takes $2 Million
Later this week, weight loss community Diet Television will announce it's shortened its name to DietTv.com and raised a $2 million series A. The round was led by MentorTech Ventures.

Kontera closes second round, faces competition by Vibrant Media and LinkedWords
Kontera, an Israel-based startup (officially headquartered in San Francisco), is raising $10.3 Million second round from Sequoia and other investors. It seems that the ad networks online are very hot these past months after the major acquisitions done by Google, Microsoft, AOL and others.

VOIP Startup Fring Raises $12 Million Series B
Israeli-based VOIP start-up Fring has closed an estimated $12 million second round, led by US VC fund North Bridge Venture Partners. VenFin and previous investors Pitango, Veritas and Yossi Vardi also participated. If the investment estimate is accurate, it would be one of the larger rounds for a VOIP company.

Technology Blog Xconomy Funded
Xconomy, a Boston-area-based technology and news blog, has received funding in a Series A round, led by CommonAngels. CommonAngels is an investment group in Lexington, MA, and it contributed funds from its investment pool as well as individual members. The financial terms were not disclosed.

CyclingTV Acquired by JumpTV
JumpTV, an online video aggregator, has acquired CyclingTV for around $4.95 million, which is broken down into $2.21 million in cash, and $2.74 million in common stock, to be issued later this year.

The NBC and News Corp. joint venture Gets $100M in Funding
The NBC and News Corp. joint venture, which has been dubbed the YouTube Killer , has received $100 million in funding from Rhode Island-based investment firm Providence Equity Partners.

Pay Per Call Company VoiceStar Acquired by Marchex
Pay per call advertising service VoiceStar has been acquired by local advertising company Marchex. Marchex total anticipated investment to acquire VoiceStar will be $28 million, consisting of approximately $20 million in transaction consideration and $8 million in company investment.

Blockbuster Desperate To Do Something, Buys A Loser
Blockbuster announced the acquisition of movie download site Movielink this evening. The price is not being disclosed (meaning it isn't 'material' to Blockbuster's shareholders), although the Wall Street Journal says it was less than $20 million.

Pickle Purchased For $4.1 Million
Photo and video-sharing site Pickle.com has been purchased by Scripps Networks for a reported $4.1 million. Scripps is the company behind many lifestyles brands like DIY, the Food Network, HGTV, and Great American Country. This is their second web purchase after Recipezaar last month.

JS-Kit Closes $1.2 Million Seed Round
Web widget provider JS-Kit has been doing a lot of growing up since starting as a simple commenting widget, founder Lev Walkin's pet project in his off hours. Since then, that single widget has grown into a company with the addition of CEO Kris Loux, 12 engineers from Filmloop, and today's $1.2 million round of financing led by the Entrepreneur's Fund III.

Scrybe Closes Series A
Scrybe, the online/offline calendar and organizer, has closed their series A round of financing from Adobe Systems Incorporated and LMKR. In what is becoming an annoying trend, the company is not disclosing the size of the round.

Kaboodle Acquired by Hearst Magazines
Kaboodle, the social shopping site that looked like a better fit for eBay than a media conglomerate, has been acquired by Hearst Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Kaboodle had taken $5 million in first round funding from 10 investors including Ron Conway.

Acquisition for Clipmarks
New York based Clipmarks, a del.icio.us-like social bookmarking service, may have been acquired by Forbes. We have no information on the size of the transaction, but my guess is that it was on the very low side. The service allows users to bookmark all or a portion of a web page and annotate it.

Amie Street Closes Series A Financing Led By Amazon.com
Social music marketplace Amie Street has closed a Series A round of financing led by Amazon.com, along with some new partnerships and a site redesign. The amount of Amazon's investment and the terms are not disclosed.

Worldwide Biggies Funded by NBC and Hearst
Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio headed by former Nickelodeon and Spike TV President Albie Hecht, has closed a $9 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by NBC Universal and Platform Equity, also getting a large chunk of that change from Hearst Corporation, Alan Patricoft's Greycroft Partners and Prism Venture works.

Insightful Corporation Sells InFact
Insightful Corporation (NASDAQ: IFUL), announced today the sale of its InFact search technology and associated intellectual property rights to Hypertext Solutions Inc. for $3.65 million in cash. Hypertext is a Seattle-based startup company focused on making information on the web more 'intelligent'. The transaction closed today.

College Boy Stalwart eBaum's World Bought For $17.5M
Today San Francisco-based HandHeld Entertainment says it is acquiring Rochester, NY-based eBaum's World. HandHeld said it will pay $17.5M for eBaum's World ($15M in cash, $2.5M in stock, and $2.5M in stock with a one-year hold back.) The company also said that it may pay up to $32.5M in earnouts over three years to the owner's of eBaum's world.



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