Posted January 6, 2010 4:13 pm by with 16 comments

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AOL’s solo act may be getting off to an interesting start if this current rumor has any validity. Now, of course, this is a rumor so it will be handled as such. But, hey, if it’s good enough for Gawker and the news remains slow like it is, why not join in, right?

According to Gawker’s Valleywag AOL is courting Pete Cashmore’s project in order to help move along their ‘content is king’ search initiative.

AOL is interested in buying the world’s largest tech blog, Mashable, we hear from a source at the internet conglomerate. And in fact the two sides have been talking, people outside AOL have whispered to one another, and to us.

A sale to the content-obsessed internet company would mean Mashable’s founder Pete Cashmore really would have everything.

So how would Mashable benefit AOL?

A deal would work for AOL, newly spun off from Time Warner, as well. CEO Tim Armstrong wants a “laser focus” for the company, on content. He’s already bought a local content company from himself and launched a strategy to tailor content to internet statistics like search queries.

Mashable’s proven ability to generate great numbers and game Google and Twitter is part of the appeal, then, our AOL insider tells us. The site excels not only at writing Google-friendly content but also at earning a flood of links on social networks, most notably Twitter.

Who wouldn’t want that right? The AOL insider who likes to keep the blogosphere up to date on inside activities at the company that is trying to rebuild itself tells Valleywag more

Mahsable has “definitely been brought up in meetings as possible driving force behind Seed,” said our AOLer, referring to the stats-driven system for farming out editorial work to freelancers. The notion that there have been acquisition talks between the two companies is mere rumor at this point, but it has not escaped AOL’s notice that Mashable writes the sort of content advertisers pay for at a time when AOL’s own editorial staff has been heavily reduced amid company layoffs, said our source, clearly no fan of Seed: “Mashable has been getting so Mainstream News, and their writers get paid in Twitter followers and air, so it just seems like a good fit.”

Valleywag is doing their due diligence though and was able to get a response from Cashmore about the speculation and the comment about his writers’ pay scale.

Cashmore writes us, “We don’t comment on speculation, but we do hold our writers in high regard and pay a competitive salary for their tireless efforts.”

So what if AOL does buy Mashable? What do you think will happen to the wildly popular blog? Would AOL be able to reap the full rewards of having such a property with just attaching its name to it? What might that association do to the blog’s image and reputation? What do you think?

  • If AOL buys Mashable, would I be greeted with “Welcome” upon entering the home page? Throw in some dancing chipmunks, I’d be a followerer for life! AOL buying a “tech” blog makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps if you live in CA you might care, but anyone outside of tech land could care less.

    • @Tim

      Ever heard of Engadget? Switched? TUAW? DownloadSquad? Joystiq? GameDaily? BigDownload? WoW?

      All tech related blogs, owned and operated by Aol. Millions of unique visitors are on those sites every month.

      Mashable, and many others would fit nicely in their growing portfolio.

      Where have you been?

  • All I can say to AOL is “good luck.” They have some brand repair to do, and until then, I think it’s going to be something of a poison pill to the content providers they pick up. It will be interesting to see how the social media sphere reacts if the sale actually goes down.
    .-= Nate Kartchner´s last blog ..2010 Social Media Resolutions =-.

  • Melinda

    What possible gain would this yield for readers? Who wins? Whether or not this is a wise move for either party, time will tell. But in my mind, this would do more to tarnish Mashable than it would to redeem AOL.

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  • It would be great for Mashable and AOL, but I doubt the news. I remember an interview on TC sometime back where the AOL CEO had said they are only looking at properties valued at around $100K or so. Mashable is much more valuable than that..

    As for the blog’s reputation, I don’t think anything will change. All of AOL’s blog have their own reputation and most people do not even realize they are reading an AOL property till they dig deep into the site.
    .-= Anand´s last blog ..Google Launching ‘Pay Per Call’ Advertising This Month =-.

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  • Hehe, that was the plan, make whatever for brain-washed community sheep users and sold it.
    Bravo!!! You see, Pete Cashmore is gonna be rich at last. Everything else is just a bla bla bla ….

    • I’d agree..Mashable is no doubt highly trafficked, but as reported in Gawker, Cashmore in no way did topple Arrington down to claim leadership..Unlike articles on TC (despite the tiring Twitter love) are still more credible and journalistic than the How-tos and ’15 best baby shaker iPhone apps’ kinda list on Mashable.

      Mashable is big simply because they discovered the Twitter-marketing trick long before others did..Period..
      .-= Anand´s last blog ..Patent Reveals Upcoming Interface Design For Google Chrome OS =-.

  • Very very goog!

  • Dean

    Just one question…

    Who is this ‘AOL’ and what do they do?

  • Mashable will bring the eyeballs and AOL can figure out how to use them for more than just reading Mashable.

    I just don’t see it happening.

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  • Seriously, AOL (Almost On Line) buying a highly respected tech blog known for thinking out of the box. If Peter did this I would imagine he would only do it for the money because the sites cred would be long gone before the ink dried.

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  • Since when is Mashable been a tech blog? Totally overrated site that is the Perez of the online world and if it stopped tomorrow would anyone suffer from it not being around? I don’t think so.
    .-= Alex Harrison´s last blog ..Guarantor loans explained =-.