Will Google Buy Earthlink?

Earthlink says it wants to get out of the municipal WiFi business. Are executives really grooming the company to be sold?

CEO Rolla Huff joined in June, and he recently brought on Joe Wetzel as COO. Huff and Wetzel are the team that sold Mpower Communications, a regional provider of broadband data and voice services to business customers. Maybe they’ll shop the company around as soon as they cut the fat.

There might be one very easy mark: Google.

A combined company — call it GoogleLink, just for fun — could help the search giant extend its advertising into the mobile space with less muss and fuss than trying to build such a service from the ground up.

Yesterday, rumors abounded that the search giant was planning gPhone, its own mobile data/phone device.

Rumor Mill: Jotspot to Re-Launch as Google Wiki?

It seems rumors are flying that Google may soon re-launch, the previously acquired wiki service Jotspot, as Google Wiki.

image It’s been almost a year since Google acquired Jotspot and since then has really done anything with it. The service included a wiki and whole bunch of other collaboration tools and it was expected these would be rolled into Google Apps quickly–we’re still waiting.

While Google Blogoscoped has a login link that appears to include a Google Wiki logo, we’re not convinced. As a Google Apps customer, you can upload your own logo and so it would be easy to create a Google Wiki logo and upload it yourself. We’re not saying it’s definitely faked, but let’s just say we’re suspicious of the actual logo shown.

Gpay Adds Insult To Injury

Gpay Just as users report a second major eBay property outage in the last 30 days, PayPal wake up to the stark reality of Google’s expansion plans with the publication of a new Patent application.

PayPal’s subscription service stopped working the same day, August 30. Service providers affected by the outage have been advised that the issue could take until September 5 or 6 to fix – possibly delaying tens of millions of dollars in monthly subscription payments.

In the meantime, the US Patent Office released details of Google’s text message-based payment system filed under the guise of Gpay on February 28, 2006. Although dubbed as a mobile web solution – possibly Google Checkout for mobile, Gpay does have the blueprint of being web independent. Images clearly indicate the offline payment of goods – including vending machines, point of delivery, and over-the-counter from retailers – where the transaction is facilitated using a mobile device.

Rumor Mill: Did Google Scrap Rumored GDrive?

Google Blogoscoped helps us start off the week with some juicy speculation that Google may have scrapped plans to launch an online storage service.

It’s been more than a year since Google’s GDrive was discovered, suggesting features such as:

  • Backup. If you lose your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes.
  • Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
  • VPN-less access. Not at a Google computer? View your files on the web at http://troutboard.com/p.
  • Collaborate. Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write.
    * Disconnected access. On the plane? VPN broken? All your files are still accessible.

Facebook–Going It Alone or Goin’ Courting?

Because it’s Friday, I briefly contemplated just writing “FACEBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” in this post and publishing it, but realized that I like having a job. So, instead, I’ll secure our status as the unofficial Facebook rumor blog and give you a few more of this week’s Facebook rumors today.

Six Billion Dollars?
Rumors are flying that Microsoft offered to buy Facebook for $6 billion this week. Of course, they could have offered six bajillion—Zuckerberg just ain’t selling.

The original author of the rumor, Henry Blodget, makes the important observation:

$6 billion’s a nice fat number, but it’s only 1/25th of Google’s valuation, and the Facebook folks clearly think they’re worth more than that.

On the other hand, it’s 200 times $30 million, the estimated earnings for Facebook this year (as reported by John Batelle).

IPO Watch for comScore, LinkedIn, MySQL

It seems like every time a company does something really innovative (or just gets a lot of press), someone somewhere suggests they’re doing this because they’re planning on going public soon. The rumors—and actual IPOs—are flying thick and fast around the Internet these days. Just this week, we’ve heard the results of comScore’s IPO and rumors of IPOs for LinkedIn and MySQL.

comScore’s IPO results
comScore’s IPO, announced official two weeks ago, has now announced its results. They expected to earn $71M in their IPO, with the recommended stock prices between $14 and $16 a share. Instead, their 5 million shares went for $16.50 apiece, netting $82.5M. Those overachievers. Their stock ticker will be SCOR. Apparently, the market didn’t pay attention to the IAB’s challenge.


Business.com Now Worth $400 Million?

I don’t fully recall, but I think I was one of those that thought the domain Business.com was overpriced (they paid $7.5m for it) and that the service didn’t bring anything new to the market. Well, over the past 7 or so years, Business.com has proved me (and many others) wrong with current EBITDA of $15 million and a 50% growth rate this year.

Their hard work might pay off big time, with the WSJ suggesting that the company is up for sale with a price tag somewhere between $300 million and $400 million.

Closely held business.com is expected to attract a host of interest from the likes of media companies such as Dow Jones & Co. and New York Times Co., these people said. Requests for comment from Business.com and the New York Times were not returned yesterday evening. Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.