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?