Category Archives: Microsoft

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. 

All deals will logically be ranked by their sizes and less weight will be put on the time the deal happened through out the year. Deals from all IT industry sectors are considered and put in the list, from Web and Internet to the Mobile industry as well. The size’s criterion for a deal to make the list is to be arguably no less than $100M unless the deal is symbolic in one way or another or either of the companies involved was popular enough at the time the deal took place. Otherwise we think all deals are important, at least for its founders and investors.

Under no doubt the year we will remember with the number of high-profile advertising company acquisitions for large-scale companies like DoubleClick, aQuantive, RightMedia, 24/7 Real Media, among others. Putting all acquisition deals aside, one particular funding deal deserves to be mentioned too Facebook raised $240 million from Microsoft in return of just 1.6% of its equity. The Honk Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing later joined the club of high-caliber investors in Facebook by putting down $60M for unknown equity position.  

Other remarkable funding deals include: Alibaba.com raised $1.3 Billion from its IPO; Kayak raised $196 Million; Demand Media took $100 Million in Series C; Zillow totaled $87 Million in venture capital funding; Joost announced $45 million funding from Sequoia, Index, CBS & Viacom, among others. 

Yet another noteworthy deal is the Automattic (wordpress.org) turning down a $200 Million Acquisition Offer. 

And the 2007 Web 2.0 Money winner is… Navteq for its deal with Nokia for $8B. Apparently Microsoft has this year lost the crown of being named the deepest pocket buyer.

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.

SAP Germany makes its biggest deal ever – acquires Business Objects for 4.8B EURO (around ~$6.8 billion)

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. [more]

Microsoft to buy Web ad firm aQuantive for $6 Billion

Microsoft Corp. acquired aQuantive Inc. for about $6 billion, or $66.50 a share, an 85 percent premium to the online advertising company’s closing price at the time the deal was publicly announced. Shares of aQuantive shot to $63.95 in pre-opening trade, following news of the deal. The all-cash deal tops a dramatic consolidation spree across the online advertising market sparked when Google Inc. agreed to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.

Oracle to buy Hyperion in $3.3 Billion cash deal

Oracle Corp. has acquired business intelligence software vendor Hyperion Solutions Corp. for $3.3 billion in cash. Oracle has agreed to pay $52 per share for Hyperion, or about $3.3 billion, a premium of 21% over Hyperion’s closing share price at the time of the deal. Oracle said it will combine Hyperion’s software with its own business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools to offer customers a broad range of performance management capabilities, including planning, budgeting and operational analytics.

Cisco Buys WebEx for $3.2 Billion

Cisco has agreed to acquire WebEx for $3.2 billion in cash. In 2006, WebEx generated nearly $50 million in profit on $380 million in revenue. They have $300 million or so in cash on hand, so the net deal value is $2.9 billion.

DoubleClick Acquired by Google For $3.1 Billion In Cash

Google reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick, the online advertising company, from two private equity firms for $3.1 billion in cash, the companies announced, an amount that was almost double the $1.65 billion in stock that Google paid for YouTube late last year. In the last month for this year the US Federal Trade Commission has granted its approval for Google to purchase DoubleClick.

TomTom Bought Tele Atlas for $2.5 Billion

It took $2.5 Billion dollars for TomTom to buy mapping software company TeleAtlas, this will set the stage for TomTom to be big rival of Garmin across Atlantic. Tele Atlas went public in 2000 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and last year, it bought another mapping firm, New Hampshire-based GDT.

Naspers acquires yet another European company – Tradus for roughly $1.8 Billion

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 the South African media company Naspers that is spending money at breakneck pace. The offered price is £946M (more than $1.8B) based on just £60M annual revenues. [more]

HP acquired Opsware For $1.6 Billion

HP has acquired IT Automation company Opsware for $1.6 billion. Whilst any acquisition of this size is interesting in itself, the back story to Opsware is even more so; Opsware was originally LoudCloud, a Web 1.0 company that took $350 million in funding during the Web 1.0 boom.

AOL acquired TradeDoubler for $900 Million

AOL has acquired Sweden-based TradeDoubler, a performance marketing company, for €695 million in cash, which was about US$900 million at the time the deal took place.

Microsoft acquired Tellme Networks for reportedly $800 Million

Microsoft Corp. has announced it will acquire Tellme Networks, Inc., a leading provider of voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search. Although the price remains undisclosed, it is estimated to be upwards of $800 million.

Disney acquires Club Penguin for up to $700 Million

Club Penguin, a social network/virtual world that has been on the market for some time, was acquired by The Walt Disney Company. An earlier deal with Sony fell apart over the Club Penguin’s policy of donating a substantial portion of profits to charity. The company, which launched in October 2005, has 700,000 current paid subscribers and 12 million activated users, primarily in the U.S. and Canada.The WSJ says the purchase price is $350 million in cash. Disney could pay up to another $350 million if certain performance targets are reached over the next couple of years, until 2009.

Yahoo acquired RightMedia for $680 Million in cash and stock

Yahoo has acquired the 80% of advertising network RightMedia that it doesn’t already own for $680 million in cash and Yahoo stock. Yahoo previously bought 20% of the company in a $45 million Series B round of funding announced in October 2006. The company has raised over $50 million to date.

WPP Acquires 24/7 Real Media for $649 Million

Online advertising services firm 24/7 Real Media was acquired by the WPP group for $649 million. The old time internet advertising firm had its origins serving ads for Yahoo! and Netscape in 1994 and was formerly founded the following year as Real Media. After numerous acquisitions it took its current name and grew to have 20 offices in 12 countries, serving over 200 billion advertising impressions every month.

Google bought the web security company Postini for $625M

Google has acquired e-mail security company Postini for $625 million, a move intended to attract more large businesses to Google Apps. More than 1,000 small businesses and universities currently use Google Apps, but ‘there has been a significant amount of interest from large businesses,’ Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google Enterprise, said in a Monday teleconference.

EchoStar Acquires Sling Media for $380 Million

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.

ValueClick acquired comparison shopping operator MeziMedia for up to $352 Million

ValueClick has acquired MeziMedia for up to $352 million, in a deal consisting of $100 million in upfront in cash, with an additional sum of up to $252 million to be paid depending on MeziMedia’s revenue and earnings performance through to 2009.

Yahoo Acquires Zimbra For $350 Million in Cash

Yahoo has acquired the open source online/offline office suite Zimbra. The price: $350 million, in cash, confirmed. Zimbra gained wide exposure at the 2005 Web 2.0 Conference. Recently they has also launched an offline functionality.

Business.com Sells for $350 Million

Business.com has closed another chapter in its long journey from a $7.5 million domain name bought on a hope and a prayer, selling to RH Donnelley for $350 million (WSJ reporting up to $360 million). RH Donnelley beat out Dow Jones and the New York Times during the bidding.

AOL acquired online advertising company Quigo for $350 Million

AOL announced plans to buy Quigo and its services for matching ads to the content of Web pages. The acquisition follows AOL’s September purchase of Tacoda, a leader in behavioral-targeting technology, and comes as AOL tries to boost its online advertising revenue to offset declines in Internet access subscriptions.

eBay bought StubHub For $310 Million

eBay has acquired the San Francisco-based StubHub for $285 million plus the cash on StubHub’s books, which is about $25 million.

Yahoo! Agreed to acquire BlueLithium for approximately $300 Million in cash

Yahoo! Inc. 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.

CBS to buy social network Last.fm for $280 Million

CBS is known to have paid $280 million for the Last.fm site, which caters to music fans. CBS Corp bought the popular social networking website organized around musical tastes for $280 million, combining a traditional broadcast giant with an early leader in online radio. Last.fm, claims more than 15 million monthly users, including more than 4 million in the U.S.

AOL Acquired Tacoda, a behavior targeting advertising company for reportedly $275 Million

AOL has announced the acquisition of New York-based Tacoda earlier this year, a behavior targeting advertising company that was founded in 2001. The deal size, which we haven’t had confirmed, is likely far smaller than Microsoft’s $6 billion for aQuantive , Yahoo’s $680 million for RightMedia , or Google’s $3.1 billion for DoubleClick. The price might be low enough that it isn’t being disclosed at all.Jack Myers Media Business Report has confirmed the $275 million price tag

MySpace to acquire Photobucket For $250 Million

MySpace has acquired Photobucket for $250 million in cash. There is also an earn-out for up to an additional $50 million. Oddly enough MySapce has dropped Photobucket off its social networking platform. The dispute that led to the Photobucket videos being blocked on MySpace letter also led to acquisition discussions, and the block was removed. They have hired Lehman Brothers to help sell the company. They were looking for $300 million or more, but may have had few bidders other than MySpace.

Hitwise Acquired by Experian for $240M

Hitwise, the company that performs analysis of log files from 25 million worldwide ISP accounts to provide relative market share graphs for web properties, has been acquired by Experian for $240 million.

$200+ Million for Fandango

Comcast paid $200 million or perhaps a bit more. Fandango revenue is said to be in the $50m/year range, split roughly evenly between ticket sales and advertising. Wachovia Securities analyst Jeff Wlodarczak estimated the multiple-system operator paid $200 million for Fandango, whose backers include seven of the 10 largest U.S. movie exhibitors.

Intuit Acquires Homestead for $170 Million

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. [more]

Naspers Acquired Polish based IM Company Gadu Gadu (chit-chat) for reportedly $155 Million

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. The price is $155M. [more

Studivz, a Germany Facebook clone, went for $132 Million

German Facebook clone Studivz has been sold to one of its investors, Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, a German publishing group, for €100 million (about $132 million). Other investors of Studivz include the Samwer brothers, founders of ringtone company Jamba (sold for €270M) and Alando (sold to eBay for €43M in 1999).

Feedburner goes to Google for $100 Million

Feedburner was acquired by Google for around $100 million. The deal is all cash and mostly upfront, according to sources, although the founders will be locked in for a couple of years.

Answers.com has purchased Dictionary.com for reportedly $100 Million

Question and answer reference site Answers.com has acquired Dictionary.com’s parent company, Lexico Publishing, for $100 million in cash. Lexico can really serve all your lexical needs because it also owns Thesaurus.com and Reference.com.

Yahoo Acquires Rivals for $100 Million

Yahoo has acquired college sports site Rivals.com, reported the Associated Press in a story earlier this year. The price is not being disclosed, although the rumor is that the deal was closed for around $100 million. Rumors of talks first surfaced in April 2007.

UGO Acquired By Hearst for reportedly $100 Million

Hearst has acquired New-York based UGO. Forbes reported the price should be around $100 million. UGO is a popular new media site that was founded in 1997 and, according to Forbes, is generating around $30 million/year in revenue. UGO media is yet another web 1.0 veteran and survivor.

Fotolog Acquired by Hi Media, French Ad Network for $90 Million
 
New York-based Fotolog 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. 

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.

eBay Acquiring StumbleUpon for $75 Million

The startup StumbleUpon has been rumored to be in acquisition discussions since at least last November (2006). The small company had reportedly talks with Google, AOL and eBay as potential suitors. At the end of the day the start-up got acquired by eBay. The price was $75 million, which is symbolic with the fact the site had only 1.5m unique visitors per month at the time the deal took place. The company was rumored to be cash-positive.

General Atlantic Has Acquired Domain Name Pioneer Network Solutions

General Atlantic has acquired Network Solutions from Najafi Companies. Network Solutions was founded decades ago in 1973 and had a monopoly on domain name registration for years which led Verisign to pay billions to buy it. Najafi Companies purchased NS from VeriSign in November 2003 for just $100M. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal and no price tag is publicly available, although we believe it is way over $100M, but NS made our list due to its mythical role for the Internet’s development. That deal is symbolic for the Internet. 

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.  We think the price tag for the Newsvine is anywhere in the $50/$75M range, but this is not confirmed. [more]

Google to buy Adscape for $23 Million

After some rumors of a deal earlier this year, Google has expanded its advertising reach by moving into video game advertising with their $23 million acquisition of Adscape.

Disney buys Chinese mobile content provider Enorbus for around $20 Million

Disney has bought Chinese mobile gaming company Enorbus , for around $20 million, MocoNews.net has learned. Financial backers in the company included Carlyle and Qualcomm Ventures.

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. We truly believe this deal is in the $100M range, but since no confirmation was found on Web and therefore we cannot put a price tag for the sake of the list. Even though a global brand their site is getting just 4M unique visitors per month.

AOL Acquires ADTECH AG

AOL has acquired a controlling interest in ADTECH AG, a leading international online ad-serving company based in Frankfurt, Germany. The acquisition provides AOL with an advanced ad-serving platform that includes an array of ad management and delivery applications enabling website publishers to manage traffic and report on their online advertising campaigns. No details about the acquisition price were found on Web but we would suspect a large-scale deal and rank it very high. 

Amazon Acquires dpreview.com

Amazon have announced the acquisition of the digital camera information and review site dpreview.com. UK based dpreview.com was founded in 1998 by Phil Askey as a site that publishes “unbiased reviews and original content regarding the latest in digital cameras. Dpreview.com has in excess of 7 million unique viewers monthly. The value of the deal was not disclosed but we believe the purchase price should be in the $100M range (not confirmed).

HP Acquired Tabblo

HP announced the acquisition of Cambridge, Massachusetts based Photo printing site Tabblo this morning. The price was not disclosed.

eBay Gets Stake in Turkish Auction Market

eBay announced yesterday that it has acquired a minority stake in Turkish-based GittiGidiyor.com, an online marketplace structured in a similar manner to eBay. GittiGidiyor reportedly has more than 400,000 listings and 17 million users, which is a considerable percentage of the Turkish population. With the stake in GittiGidiyor, eBay now has the opportunity to enter the Turkish market via a system that’s already similar to theirs in functionality and purpose. Istanbul-based GittiGidiyor.com was founded in 2000. GittiGidiyor is Turkish for Going, Going, Gone. Terms of the deals were not found publicly available. Looking at the size of the Turkish site and the buying habits and history of eBay, the price should be considerably high, at least for the region.

Microsoft Acquiring ScreenTonic for Mobile Ad Platform

Microsoft is acquiring ScreenTonic, a local-based ads delivery platform for mobile devices, for an undisclosed amount. Paris-based ScreenTonic was founded in 2001, and has created the Stamp platform to deliver text or banner links on portals, text message ads and mobile web page ads, that vary depending on the recipients’ geographical location in a so called geo-targeting approach. 

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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. 

Newsvine is one of the good CJ [Citizen Journalism] web sites. Others include Digg, Reddit and Netscpae’s Propeller among others. Newsvine is a good example of a startup CJ site aimed to be a mainstream news destination in the future. Along with most of the other current CJ sites, Newsvine uses many of the ‘web 2.0’ functionalities in its design – such as user-generated content, reputation, voting, comments, friends lists, tags, and more. Newsvine was among the first sites on web to implement basic semantic tagging based on the content submitted. The first site, as far as we know, was NosyJoe.com with its intelligent tagging engine.  It allows users to ‘seed’ stories, by adding a link and short description. Users can also write a full article as well. Newsvine is arguably more advanced in its design than other CJ sites, often trying new things and design techniques – e.g. the Newsvine, a color-coded visual representation of a user’s impact on the site.

The site opened as a private beta in December 2005 and was officially launched on March 1, 2006. Newsvine CEO is Mike Davidson and the company is based in Seattle which is the home of MSNBC too. Calvin Tang is the Co-founder and COO. More details about Newsvine can be found below.

“Over the next few years, Newsvine technology and content will make its way onto msnbc.com, and vice-versa where it makes sense.” Davidson explained further.

Newsvine officially became part of MSNBC on Friday, October 5th, but Davidson said they’d “been talking since May.” The company will continue to be based in Seattle, perhaps due to the location of the MSNBC too.

What is MSNBC getting, anyway? Mostly the citizen journalism community and features combined with some basic (compared to MSNBC’s) traffic but representing a very loyal community. From our perspective this deal looks more like acquiring technologies, features and mostly practical experience from the citizen journalism and the social news sector. It could also be an employment through acquisition. Basically Newsvine successfully established and positioned itself especially within the social news arena yet the site cannot be clearly identified as a popular site with its only 1.2M unique visitors per month. So, MSNBC is clearly trying to tap into the social news space and is buying experience.

The following statement from the company supports out thinking:

“While Newsvine may be well known in early adopter circles, we want every college student, every farmer, every weekend journalist, and every household to have their own branch on the “Vine”.

Davidson, the Newsvine’s CEO has explained the reason why he sold out to MSNBC.
It seems it is all about scale and partnering with bigger media company to achieve that:

“Why would a young, efficient independent news startup become part of a large organization? For us, the answer is simple: it’s all about growing the community and spreading the idea of participatory news as far and wide as possible. Although going from zero to over a million users a month in less than two years is heartening, msnbc.com operates on another scale entirely. While Newsvine may be well known in early adopter circles, we want every college student, every farmer, every weekend journalist, and every household to have their own branch on the ‘Vine. In order to spread this idea further, we could have gone out and raised a lot of money, quadrupled our staff, and gone it alone, but when one of the finest news organizations in the world is headquartered right across Lake Washington, the potential of partnering with such a great team is dramatic. We feel strongly that we can learn from the successes of their experienced team, in a way that will empower Newsvine to become the worldwide mouthpiece of the citizen journalist.”

This is the MSNBC’s first acquisition in its 11-year history and is a good fit for MSNBC.com. Newsvine will report directly to the Publisher/President of MSNBC.com.

Neither of the companies would disclose terms of the all-cash transaction, but deals for other social media sites have ranged as high as the $75 million that eBay was reported to have spent for StumbleUpon.com, which claims about 3 times the number of users as Newsvine.

It appears as Newsvine will move to the server farms of MSNBC.com to allow for greater reliability and expansion.

Reach

Back in July 2007 the stat numbers were reported by the founder Mike Davidson, to be in about 1.2 million unique visitors per month and Newsvine has grown at an average rate of 46% per quarter. Newsvine community members view an average of 21 pages per day and spend an average of 143 minutes per month on the site. The site gets about 80,000 comments a month and 250,000 votes a month.

Where the site stands at today?

Quantcast is reporting for slightly over 260,000 unique visitors per month but Newsvine is not quantified there. Compete on the other side is reporting for 409,000 unique visitors.  Both sites are reporting on only the American traffic.

In details about Newsvine

Newsvine is a website consisting of community-driven news stories and opinions. Users write articles and save links to external content, vote, comment and chat on article pages created by both users and by professional journalists.

Seattle-based “Newsvine, Inc.” was incorporated in March of 2005 by Calvin Tang. Mike Davidson, Lance Anderson and Mark Budos subsequently left The Walt Disney Internet Group and together began development of Newsvine during the summer of 2005, as the four co-founders of the company. Josh Yockey joined the company shortly after development began, with Tom Laramee following in the spring of 2006. Eric Glomstad joined as an intern over the summer of 2006 and has stayed on with the company since. The development team consists of several veterans from the Disney Internet Group and ESPN. Mike Davidson, CEO of Newsvine Inc. was interviewed in episode 8 of Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur’s weekly Inside the Net podcast.

Community

Newsvine is a community-driven news site similar to sites such as Slashdot, reddit and Digg. It combines user submission of information with items from the Associated Press and provides each user with a blog-style “column” for writing their own ‘posts’.
Features
 
Seeding
Newsvine allows users to “seed,” or post links for others to view. Seeds usually contain a short description or direct quotation from the linked article. With the “Newsvine Button,” users can select “Seed Newsvine” from their bookmarks and a seeding dialog will appear. Seeds allow for all of the same options as articles except the ability to insert photographs.

Articles
One of the most defining features of Newsvine is the ability for users to write their own articles. Commonly known as citizen journalism, this allows for users to express their opinions for public disccusion or even report in a journalistic manner. The most popular articles for top tags appear in the “Featured Writers” section, where article writers can receive extra publicity.

While writing articles, users are also given the ability to upload their own photographs or choose from a list of Flickr photos registered under a Creative Commons license for addition to the post. Captions can be written as well to clarify the meaning of the photograph.

Voting
Another common feature among social bookmarking websites is the ability to vote for content. Users who enjoy reading an article/seed or agree with its content are encouraged to vote for the content. Articles and seeds with the most votes appear in the “Top Wire,” “Top Seeds,” or “Top of the Vine” sections of the site.

Newsvine also allows for users to vote for comments that they enjoyed reading. This aspect of commenting encourages better content and friendly discussions. When a comment receives at least five votes, a green star is placed in the upper right-hand corner, signifying that many users enjoyed or agreed with the comment. Clicking the star will lead viewers to the next highly rated comment.

Negative votes are also registered, and a comment that receives too many negative votes will often be collapsed, so that it can only be viewed by deliberately opening it. This limits discussion under that comment, since new comments under it will not be seen automatically.

Commenting
The ability to comment on seeds and articles allows for extra discussions regarding the content to take place. While debates are welcome, useless, insulting, and self-promoting comments are not. If a comment receives enough reports, that comment will be collapsed and its contents can only be shown by choosing to expand it. The Newsvine comment system also allows for threaded comments, easing the confusion of comment direction. While users do not yet have the ability to edit or delete their own comments, writers are allowed to delete comments on their own content. Unregistered users are also allowed to have their say, but comments by unregistered users are not made public until that user creates a registered account.

User Columns
Newsvine user columns give users the ability to manage and share their articles, seeds, friends, recommendations, and other statistical information. Every user has one, and each is given their own subdomain to access it (<user>.newsvine.com). User columns are customizable: aspects of the layouts can be moved or hidden, a user photo and biography can be added, a header (such as a welcome message) can be added, friends can be invited to Newsvine or added to your friends list, recommendations (such as favorite books, bands, blogs, etc.) can be shown, and comments and feedback from other users can be managed. Also, through user columns, members have the ability to add others to their watchlist and friend list or to send another a chat invitation.

Earnings
Newsvine tells users that they will receive 90% of ad revenue from ads on their personal Newsvine pages. These earnings are “based on traffic to your articles and seeds,” but it is unclear exactly how Newsvine calculate earnings. The remaining 10% go to whoever referred the user to Newsvine, or for site maintenance if there was no referrer. Newsvine does not publish the amount of revenue that has so far gone to users.

Chat Lobby
The Chat Lobby is a section of Newsvine that manages the various chat rooms available or open. Every article or seed on Newsvine has the ability to have a chat room created for it, where users can discuss the subject matter real-time rather than posting a comment. While this feature is not often used, the capability is there for those users that want to participate in a discussion.

Watchlist
If a user finds a particular writer or tag that he/she enjoys to read content from, it can be added to the Watchlist. Watchlists are lists of members and tags that a user can compile to easily find interesting news. Items on a user’s watchlist appear on the left column and, if there is content that the user has not read by a watchlisted author or tag, a number will appear next to the item name signifying how many articles or seeds have not been read.

Conversation Tracker
Much like the Watchlist, the Conversation Tracker allows users to track other members. However, the Conversation Tracker is a notifier of new comments. There are three sections to the Conversation Tracker: new comments from a user’s Newsvine column, new comments from articles that a user has commented on, and new comments from an article a user’s friend has commented on. If a user has added members to the friend list that share a common interest in content, the Conversation Tracker can act as a list of recommended articles.

Friends List
The Friends List gives users the ability to meet new people and find others with common interests, but there are no requirements in doing so. Creating a populated friends list gives users the ability to find interesting new articles through the Conversation Tracker. Once a user adds a friend to the list, the added friend receives a notification and is given the ability to accept or decline the offer.

Vineacity

Vineacity is a measure of six different elements that contribute to a Newsvine user’s overall rating as a positive influence to the Newsvine community. Earned as ‘branches’ on a Newsvine logo icon displayed next to the user’s name, the six areas of excellence include:

  • Courtesy – Earned when a user’s positive feedback outweighs any abuse reports they may have received.
  • Longevity – Earned when the users has been active for at least two months after registering.
  • Fruitfulness – Earned when the user has submitted a substantial amount of content or comments that have received votes.
  • Connectedness – Earned when the user appears on a substantial number of watch-lists and/or friend-lists.
  • Random Act of Vineness – Earned for an exceptional moment of greatness on Newsvine.
  • Lifetime achievement – Earned when a user has received a combined number of votes on all articles, links and comments around Newsvine.

 Newsvine is known to have had only 6 employees at the time the deal was announced.

About MSNBC

MSNBC.com is a privately run news organization started by Microsoft and NBC in 1996. The site is one of the most decorated, highly trafficked news sites on the web, serving more than 29 million unique visitors per month. Contrary to popular belief, msnbc.com is run independently from both Microsoft and NBC and even the MSNBC news channel. It is its own organization, headquartered in Redmond, and has been growing and profitable for several years now. MSNBC.com employs about 200 people.

More

http://www.newsvine.com/
http://www.newsvine.com/_cms/info/companyinfo
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21138371
http://blog.newsvine.com/
http://blog.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/07/1008889-msnbccom-acquires-newsvine
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/newsvine_acquired_by_msnbc.php
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_state_of_citizen_journalism_pt1_newsvine.php
http://www.centernetworks.com/future-of-web-apps-mike-davidson
http://www.centernetworks.com/newsvine-acquired-msnbc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newsvine
http://www.calvintang.com/blog/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/07/breaking-newsvine-acquired-by-msnbccom/
http://www.mikeindustries.com/blog/archive/2007/10/msnbc.com-acquires-newsvine
http://www.fimoculous.com/archive/post-3267.cfm
http://tang.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/07/1008988-the-future-of-newsvine-and-what-it-means-to-you
http://www.quantcast.com/newsvine.com
http://siteanalytics.compete.com/newsvine.com/?metric=uv
http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/CompanyDetail.aspx?CompanyID=98714299&cs=QHF4kK7Uk&pc=compete

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.

Typical for how the major companies buy the price of the acquisition was not disclosed nor were more business details given. Under the terms of the deal, Jellyfish.com will maintain its standalone identity and its 26 employees will remain in Wisconsin.

Jellyfish.com had raised about $6 million in funding from investors that included company executives and Kegonsa Capital Partners, based in Fitchburg, Wisconsin and Clyde Street in October 2006.

Jellyfish.com was co-founded by Chief Executive Brian Wiegand and President Mark McGuire, who previously collaborated on NameProtect, a vertical search engine that provides trademark research. Venture-backed NameProtect was acquired by Corporation Services Company in April 2007.

What is Jellyfish.com anyway?

Jellyfish is a new kind of search engine. They call it the Internet’s first buying engine. Search engines are great for finding information, but they think you also need a search engine that is perfect for when you want to buy something online.

They try to make it simple for you to find the right product from a trusted merchant. But they also do something really different too: sharing their revenue with you. The guys there think of themselves as a Robin-Hood-like search engine that takes a percentage of the revenue you generate through your buying activity and redistributes it to you.
You use Jellyfish.com just like you would any other shopping search engine to find the right product at the best price. But when you actually buy something from a store in our engine, we share at least half of what we earn by connecting you to that store. All you need to do is sign up for an account to earn cash back. There are no fees or hidden charges.

This is the Jellyfish.com’s cash back promise: to share at least half of every $1 they earn when you shop and buy products using Jellyfish.com, as of course not all merchants within their data base are allowing them to share with shoppers, but this is clearly indicated.
At Jellyfish you will never get hidden fees, secret agendas, or annoying advertising. You will get an easy to use, transparent service that puts you in control.

Like eBay in Reverse

In reality, Jellyfish.com is one big marketplace of stores competing for your attention. But instead of annoying you with advertising, we allow stores to use their advertising dollars to lower your end price. If you like pretty pictures, you can see a picture of how this works here. And no we aren’t eBay, but we think our patent-pending marketplace is like eBay in reverse. Instead of bidding for deals, all you have to do is search to uncover the stores that have already bid the most to create the best deal for you.

How can they do this? Or better yet, why they are giving away $?

They just think that advertising stinks. Instead of wasting lots of money interrupting and annoying you, they have invented a new marketplace where stores make their advertising $’s work directly for your benefit and on your terms. Current advertising gives too much value to search engines at the expense of you and the stores that pay to advertise. Instead of the search engine keeping all of the advertising, we set up a system that rewards us, you, and the advertiser fairly when you find the right product to buy online.

What they really hope to do is show you the value of your attention online. And they couldn’t think of a better way than paying you cold hard cash. Technology has given you incredible control of what you pay attention to. You may not know it yet, but you are now in control. Companies in this new world will have to provide you with a maximum return on the value of your attention or they will die. And the value of your attention at Jellyfish is measured in extra dollars in your cash back account.

At Jellyfish, they want to pioneer a new form of search advertising that they call Value Per Action. Instead of charging fees when you click, they charge their advertisers only when you actually buy, and they share at least half of this fee back to you as cash back. In other words, they connect you directly to the value of the advertising. Instead of measuring how much money they make when you click, they measure how much value the advertiser is willing to pay YOU for your sale. With VPA, the advertising value of your attention becomes transparent (you can see it in the form of cash back) and changes from annoying advertising into something that actually lowers your end price.

Jellyfish.com’s platform is a sort of reverse auction where buyers bid on reducing prices, betting on when to place an order without knowing quantity at the given price.

This type of auction is a dutch auction, first used to sell Dutch tulips.

The Microsoft Live Search team said  they “think the technology has some interesting potential applications as we continue to invest heavily in shopping and commerce as a key component of Live Search.”

Another potential reason could be Google, again.

Google understands the game of pay per click is about to change and is moving. Microsoft pays attention to is and they’re locking up intellectual property in this move -one that combines multiple, successful and innovative digital shopping models.

Jellyfish takes a best of breed approach and “mashes them up” to the amusement of consumers: Ebates + Woot.com and on the advertiser-side, eBay’s Shopping.com + Google’s AdWords auction environment + Commission Junction’s (VCLK) performance-based cost model (cost-per-action) with a twist of Google (auctioning off ads).

It all ads up to valuable IP that Google, in theory, cannot access.

According to Jellyfish’s zeitgeist, pay per click advertising “fails to align incentives properly between the consumer, the advertiser, and the search engine intermediary connecting them.” It’s certainly an interesting take on sponsored links, but it will most likely be a complicated stance to maintain after being acquired by one of the larger players in the pay per click game.

Similar, and older, companies include Shopping (eBay), Bizrate.com, Epinions and Overstock.com.

Via

[ http://www.jellyfish.com/about ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/02/microsoft-acquires-discount-shopping-site-jellyfishcom/ ]
[ http://www.jeffmolander.com/ ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/27/cpa-shopping-search-jellyfishcom-closes-5-million-round/ ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/blog ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/howToUseJellyfish ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/blog/2007/10/02/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish/ ]
[ http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/10/microsoft-acqui.html ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/ourVision ]
[ http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/10/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish-apparently-shuns-peanutbutterfish.html ]
[ http://blogs.msdn.com/livesearch/archive/2007/10/01/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish-com.aspx ]
[ http://www.redherring.com/Home/22913 ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/founders ]

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. In order to make WebFives’s wind down process as easy as possible for their users, Microsoft has agreed to provide them with a license to continue operating WebFives until the end of the year, giving their users time to copy any information you would like to keep to your own PCs or another service prior to the end of the year.

WebFives has initially been founded by a former Microsoft engineer Mike Toutonghi as Vizrea, which later became WebFives. Vizrea launched in 2006 and is based in Seattle and had a handful number of employees in both locations Seattle and Prague (Czechs Republic). Originally they idea is known to have started in August of 2003 with a vision of making video, photo, music sharing, and blogging easy and accessible to everyone from any device. The company launched with the support from some early Microsoft executives. Mike Toutonghi was the engineer who initiated the Media Center version of Windows at Microsoft before leaving for the startup world.

The company realized that building a great sharing and social network means serving the community at first place. They are making it possible for anyone who creates videos, pictures, or music to easily share their creations in stunning quality to the entire world or just a small group of friends. WebFives includes advertising so they can offer you a great, free level of service for creating and sharing videos, pictures, blogs, and audio on your own personal WebFives website. Users are provided with standard social networking profile pages complete with blogging, and have the option of accessing their sites via computer or via a WAP specific page.

Some of the site’s fundaments:

1 WebFives is Quality
The video you watch and share on the web doesn’t have to be fuzzy and low quality any more. WebFives can deliver full-screen, digital-TV quality video, and CD quality audio. It’s high quality on mobile phones too.

2 WebFives is Everywhere
Easily share what you create. You and your friends can use the web browser on almost any phone to upload to WebFives, and watch WebFives video or listen to WebFives music. You can also use multimedia messages (MMS) to send movies and photos directly from your phone to WebFives. (Your web address is: webfives.com/username, your mobile address is: wap.webfives.com/username. It really is as simple as that.) Plus, for some phones we have additional, optional software.

 3 WebFives is Friendly
Already using another service? No problem, WebFives likes them all. Easily put your high quality WebFives media on other sites like MySpace, Xanga—or even on all of them at the same time. Send a video from your phone to WebFives and it’ll update for all of your friends right away.

4 WebFives is the Whole Enchilada
It’s got everything you’d expect from a sharing service—video, music, blogs, comments, ratings, tags, ‘friends,’ fast and easy search, and more—on both PCs and mobile phones.

5 WebFives is You
It’s designed from the ground up with you in mind, so it’s easy and fun to use. You can whip out great looking, custom web pages in minutes, and decide who can see them. (People who can’t see them don’t know they exist.)

Other prominent acquisitions within the sector are Photobucket by MySpace (News Corp/Fox Interactive), Flickr by Yahoo and Picasa by Google some years ago. In just recent weeks American greetings has acquired Webshots Inc, one of the leaders of Photo sharing sites. 

The deal terms and the acquisition price were not disclosed and typically for big buys (Microsoft, Google, etc.) the site stopped working and current users are given with 30 days to have their content downloaded and moved away from the site.

Via

[ http://mashable.com/2007/12/01/microsoft-acquires-photo-sharing-site-webfives/ ]
[ http://www.webfives.com/whatis.aspx ]
[ http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/258559_vizrea07.html ]
[ http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=723 ]
[ http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2007/11/microsoft_buys_toutonghis_seat_1.html ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/microsoft-acquires-mobile-focused-social-networking-site-webfives/ ]