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Weblogs Inc Sale to AOL Confirmed – Here’s the Inside Word

I’ve just been forwarded an email which was sent from Weblogs Inc Co-Founder Brian Alvey to Weblogs Inc’s bloggers. It was sent to me by WIN blogger who wants to remain nameless. I won’t publish it in full here as its a private email – but here are the main highlights which shed light on the deal between WIN and AOL.

  • AOL is acquiring Weblogs Inc
  • WIN are selling to increase the resources that they couldn’t provide otherwise (offices, technology, people, infrastructure) as well as extra traffic.
  • AOL are moving to an ad based model which fits with WIN.
  • Nothing is changing – Brian, Jason and the same management will continue to run WIN as an independently operated AOL company
  • WIN headlines will start appearing on AOL home page, netscape, AIM etc
  • Bloggers will need to sign a new contract shortly
  • The new contract will allow bloggers to own their own content for offline use
  • The contract will contain other features yet to be announced that are favorable to bloggers
  • Blogging will continue as per usual
  • There is no increase in pay mentioned but allusions to more money in the network due to the deal
  • There is mention of AOL getting into video content and WIN playing a part in this

Wow – looks like an exciting time for Weblogs Inc bloggers!

More on the deal from Reuters

Update: My source tells me that the reaction from WIN bloggers is for the most part very positive with the news that Jason staying on, increased payments and traffic causing some real excitement.

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Comments

  1. Andy Merrett says:

    >WIN headlines will start appearing on AOL home page, netscape, AIM etc

    That’s huge! Let’s hope it does remain truly independent. I wonder if any of their blogs have or will ever criticise AOL…

  2. Allen Heat says:

    Very interesting indeed, it’s great to see these gigantic companies investing in blogging networks :)

    A.H

  3. Mark Daoust says:

    I personally think its great to see a blog network getting this sort of attention from a major company. I am really beginning to think that blog networks are the future of the news industry.

    I wonder if AOL will attempt to control content at all in the future…

  4. I foresee some stifling of free speech. If the network is owned by AOL, then most likely any anti-AOL (or any of its holdings) blogs and posts will be promptly removed. This prevents bloggers from freely talking about whatever is on their mind. I have a further blog about this on my site:

    http://www.frenetictech.com

  5. Migs says:

    Hope it’s not another Nullsoft.

  6. I was interested in the point : “The new contract will allow the bloggers to own their own content offline”. This is something I’ve been pushing for all networks to adopt since it’s a win-win situation.

    If the blogger gives World Website Rights to the network, the subsidiary rights (books etc) are available to the author, who retains copyright, instead of being sat on by the network. The network doesn’t need them so why generate resentment and lose potential prestige by witholding them? It makes sense to both parties to adopt a more flexible line. I hope b5 and others move to this model.

  7. I don’t know, (nor do I care) if you have a nameless source, but as a current WIN blogger, I gave my $.02 on my personal blog. Overall, this is a positive development for both the blogosphere and MSM. Of course, it could be detrimental too, but isn’t that up to all of us who make up the blogosphere?

    Corporate America could learn much from the WIN business model as well as other blog network models. We might be focusing on WIN today, but there are plenty of other good blog networks that contribute quality content as well.

  8. Khurrum says:

    Why didn’t they just hire all the bloggers who were writing for weblogs Inc.

    There was hardly anything innovative going on at WebLogs Inc that they needed to be bought as a whole company.

    I don’t understand why the word “blog” gets people excited. It is mainly posting a message on a website. That has been happening since the beginning of the internet and only now has it gotten a catchy word.

  9. Fly Girl says:

    The rights portion of the new contracts sounds like a fabulous deal for both sides. It ensures that the network continues to get top quality work (no holding stuff back for the book deal), and the writers have incentive to put out their best stuff without having it gone forever. I think most of us writers think we have a book inside of us somewhere.

  10. KOB says:

    Is it really an exciting time to be a Weblogs Inc. blogger? I’m not convinced. I don’t have the facts, and maybe I’m wrong but this is how it looks to me:

    The employees of Weblogs — the bloggers in this case — are probably part-time and make modest wages by newspaper standards. (This is a guess on my part, but probably a good one) Does that change — do they make more money as a result of the sale? Your memo seems to allude to the potential of an increase but no fortune.

    Do the bloggers — who helped make Weblogs successful — get any of the proceeds from the $25 million? Maybe they have, and if so — that’s wonderful, but if not read on.

    If you were working for an e-commerce start-up and the company was sold or went public, chances are you made money because of stock options.

    What I see happening is this: Writers — bloggers — are taking *jobs* for no money or scant money with start-up firms that happen to be blogs. They are contributing ideas and copy with no promise of reward, nothing akin to a stock option or a piece of the business if they help build something valuable.

    The Weblogs Inc. sale ought to be a wake-up call to bloggers. The message from this sale seems to be that their contributions and efforts may be worth more than they realize.

    If I was working for a start-up, contributing time, effort and ideas for little pay or no pay, I want to be certain that if I helped build a valuable property that there would be a significant reward for that effort. I think some writers might be bitter if owners pocket millions and the people who were asked to give their all to help a new business are left with nothing or little.

    Again, I don’t know the details of the Weblogs Inc./AOL agreement, so these comments are general.

    But the $25 million sale price is an eye opener and should prompt bloggers to assess the value they bring to a start-up and whether they should have the same potential for reward as those who work for other companies.

    (Regarding the contract terms for writers .. I LOL over this one: “The new contract will allow the bloggers to own their own content offline” — big whoop. Is there any evidence of an offline blogging content?)

  11. pfadvice says:

    I came across an interesting entry showing that AOL paid $500 to $900 per outside link – while there are other factors involved, it’s an interesting take on this purchase.

  12. I came across an interesting entry showing that AOL paid $500 to $900 per outside link – while there are other factors involved, it’s an interesting take on this purchase.

  13. Stan says:

    From Problogger : I’ve just been forwarded an email which was sent from Weblogs Inc Co-Founder Brian Alvey to Weblogs Inc’s bloggers. It was sent to me by WIN blogger who wants to remain nameless. I won’t publish it in full here as its a private email – but here are the main highlights which shed light on the deal between WIN and AOL

  14. Kate says:

    I foresee some stifling of free speech. If the network is owned by AOL, then most likely any anti-AOL (or any of its holdings) blogs and posts will be promptly removed. This prevents bloggers from freely talking about whatever is on their mind. I have a further blog about this on my site:

  15. Poker Guide says:

    Its hard to believe that a web logging site is actually worth that dollar amount. Who would have thought back in the day that something the is intangible could be a gain in so much value?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I don’t usually post much about the blogosphere but this is pretty substantial news: Weblogs Inc Sale to AOL Confirmed – Here’s the Inside Word from Duncan at problogger.net. Reuter’s picked it up too. [...]

  2. AOL Moving To An Ad Based Model

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  3. [...] just a rumor. Darren Rowse has more. Posted by Dane on October 6, 2005 | 1 Comment In Blogs, News Email This Post Possibly Related Entries Weblogs Inc. Makes $600 Per Day from AdsenseBloggerConThanks to Dave WinerThe Big List of Business WeblogsNo More ISSN For Weblogs!?Yahoo → Weblogs → BusinessEntrepreneurship: Thinking And DoingHow to Become a Celebrity in Your FieldHow To Find A Telecommute JobFlipping On EbayIntellectual Capital Comments [...]

  4. [...] Los blogs que para muchos an no valen un peso, bien administrado, puede resultar en un gran negocio. Segn Reuters la transaccin es de $25M y estos sern algunos de los hechos [va]: [...]

  5. AOL-Weblogs Inc: It’s Official

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  6. M

    Crazy! Rafat Ali just pinged me pointing to a breaking news (actually breaking leak): AOL has reportedlyacquired Weblogs Inc. The deal should be confirmed this week, accorning to this piece. Congrats to Rafat for the exclusive, of which Iextracted this…

  7. [...] En Problogger hablan del correo que recibieron los bloggers de WIN donde se les informa de la compra y las repercusiones de esta. Parece que las cosas no cambiaran mucho y la red de blogs seguirá a cargo de las mismas personas. [...]

  8. AOL – Weblogs Inc Deal Revisited

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  9. [...] Donnerstag, 06. Okt 2005 (19:17) gsyi document.write(”) Weblogs Inc., ein hochqualitatives, amerikanisches Blog-Netzwerk, gegründet vom Jason Calacanis und Brian Alvey, soll laut paidcontent bereits vom AOL aufgekauft worden sein. Laut paidContent.org ist der Deal bereits abgeschlossen und wird im Laufe dieser Woche angekündigt, was Darren Rowse in einem Post auch bestätigte: * AOL is acquiring Weblogs Inc * WIN are selling to increase the resources that they couldn’t provide otherwise (offices, technology, people, infrastructure) as well as extra traffic. * AOL are moving to an ad based model which fits with WIN. * Nothing is changing – Brian, Jason and the same management will continue to run WIN as an independently operated AOL company * WIN headlines will start appearing on AOL home page, netscape, AIM etc * Bloggers will need to sign a new contract shortly * The new contract will allow bloggers to own their own content for offline use * The contract will contain other features yet to be announced that are favorable to bloggers * Blogging will continue as per usual * There is no increase in pay mentioned but allusions to more money in the network due to the deal * There is mention of AOL getting into video content and WIN playing a part in this Die Reaktionen der Weblogs Inc. Blogger sind positiv. [...]

  10. [...] Others have a different take on it. Darren has written that it looks like Jason is staying on to “continue to run WIN as an independently operated AOL company.” [...]

  11. [...] A Bloggers dream come true. Cashing in on all the hard work. ProBlogger has and update on the AOL buy of Weblog Inc. here. [...]

  12. Who’ll Get Rich From AOL’s Buyout of Weblogs Inc? Not the Bloggers!

    Bloggers who work for Weblogs Inc, newly acquired by AOL for $25 million, soon will have ownership of their content; vastly increased exposure through AOLs subscriber network; and other favorable terms yet to be announced. But there’s no more than an …

  13. [...] Und mal wieder ein Deal im Web, der für Rummel sorgt: AOL kauft Weblogs Inc. Für 35 Millionen Bugs. Die haben offenbar noch immer zuviel Geld beim Blauen Riesen. Na da bin ich dann aber mal gespannt wie das mit denen weitergeht … Beglückwünschen muss man Jason Calacanis natürlich trotzdem, man muss erstmal jemanden finden der eine solche Summe für ein Projekt auf den Tisch legt. [via GadgetMania] [...]

  14. [...] ProBlogger has a post which outlines an email recieved from an anonymous Weblogs Inc. blogger that Brian Alvey, CEO of Weblogs Inc. sent off to all their bloggers. [...]

  15. [...] From Problogger : I’ve just been forwarded an email which was sent from Weblogs Inc Co-Founder Brian Alvey to Weblogs Inc’s bloggers. It was sent to me by WIN blogger who wants to remain nameless. I won’t publish it in full here as its a private email – but here are the main highlights which shed light on the deal between WIN and AOL. [...]

  16. [...] More details have emerged about the AOL acquisition of Weblogs Inc., with Darren over at Problogger getting the scoop with an internal email leaked to him from Jason Calacanis to Weblogs Inc’s bloggers. [...]

  17. AOL acquires Weblogs, Inc.

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  18. [...] The always astute Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger quotes from email sent from WIN to one of their bloggers saying, among other things, that “AOL are moving to an ad based model which fits with WIN.” That makes sense. Even AOL has come round to understanding that the walled garden is so last century. [...]

  19. [...] จากการซื้อขายครั้งนี้ นาย Darren Rowse แห่ง ProBlogger ได้วิเคราะห์ว่า [...]

  20. [...] With the recent big ticket ($25 million) sale of Weblogs, Inc to AOL the monetary potential of a blog network was highlighted. Anything with the word “blog” in it has become hot property. Frankly though, blogs are only just going mainstream and it’s early enough days that opportunities abound in the blogosphere. [...]

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