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

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of October 2005 Blog Networks 0 Comments

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.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • >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…

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

    A.H

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  • 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…

  • 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

  • Hope it’s not another Nullsoft.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • KOB

    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?)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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:

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  • 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?

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