Thursday, October 6, 2005

New Label: AOL Buying Weblogs, Inc. Properties

It's official, now: weblogs are indeed media properties.

In search of unique user-generated content to keep up with the likes of NewsCorp and Yahoo, AOL announced the acquisition of Weblogs, Inc., the assemblage of leading weblogs shepherded by "new" media maven Jason Calacanis from the infancy of weblogs to his long-calculated selloff. Smooth. With media giants seeking out unique online content from all corners, Jason's timing is perfect. The idea of a weblog-only aggregator as a media company will pass fairly quickly in most arenas but the thirst for leading unique online properties to acquire could hardly be higher than it is today. What happens from here with these properties? It's reminiscent of those songster biopics like "Ray" and "The Buddy Holly Story": the talented upstarts get some needed grooming from someone with vision and get wooed over from their first bad deals into the real media business . And while good things happen as a result, something gets lost along the way. Webloggers will be touted like music industry stars are today as they are gathered from their "garage" roots into the major media fold - a process already well under way on a much smaller economic scale. While there will always be millions of amateur and "starving artist" webloggers on the Web providing it richness and focus, the dollars are going to become a bit more superstar for top weblogging properties - dollars that may begin to challenge news organizations and other content aggregators with shallower pockets and more narrow advertising bases. Mission accomplished, Jason. Have a blast.
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