Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Rumors, Rumors Everywhere, but Not a Lot to Think (Except AOL-Quigo?)

So there is a lot of swirl out there about a spate of companies and their supposed plans.

In the interest of time-saving, we will group them all here in one easy list that you can clip and save.

DEALS AFOOT?:

Yes, there is always a lot of sniffing around out there, especially given that a lot of Web 2.0 companies are more likely to be acquired than go public.

Do look for smaller ad networks to be bought up in the wake of a spate of bigger sales of late–DoubleClick to Google, aQuantive to Microsoft, Right Media and BlueLithium to Yahoo).

quigo

Now, it looks like AOL might get into the game again, after presciently grabbing Advertising.com way back in 2004 for $435 million. The new target, in a deal that a source close to the company said is “80% there,” is Quigo–the content-targeting ad network. The price? About $300 million.

Less likely for action are some other names being bandied about.

WordPress (the blogging software and hosting company AllThingsD.com uses), for example, has some suitors and is contemplating a sale after some offers. But don’t bet on it.

And RockYou is not being bought by, say, Yahoo–at least not this week. While rumors of wild valuations for the No. 2 maker of widgets on Facebook (Slide usually outranks it) have been bandied about, it has not had any significant talks with anyone.

GOOGLE GETS FRIENDLY (EXCEPT TO FACEBOOK):

kraus/spencer

As we wrote in a post yesterday, contrary to rumors, the Google project (codenamed Maka-Maka, doubtlessly by that wacky pair, Graham Spencer and Joe Kraus, pictured here, formerly of JotSpot and Excite, who worked on it) was imminent. As in now. Right now. This instant.

Officially named OpenSocial, it is a way to create a social graph over the Web that is open to third-party apps friendly and, as I wrote, is indeed both a “real attempted assault on the Facebook platform or more of a way to widely spread the gospel of social networking (and, thus, an assault on the Facebook platform).”

While Google has signed a bunch of prominent partners, it has yet to grab the No. 2 social-networking site Facebook (unlikely) and the No. 1 MySpace (much more likely, but don’t hold your breath). But it’s definitely a put-up-or-shut-up dare by the search giant, especially given Facebook’s professed love of openness.

Who knows if it will catch on, given that it is clear it is all in the hands of the apps developer community. If not, it will surely be a big black eye for Google, if it can’t motivate widely beyond search.

FACEBOOK IS A BIG BOY NOW:

murphy

It looks like former Yahoo Mike Murphy–who heads ad sales at Facebook (and is pictured here)–is finally getting his ducks in order with a new ad offering to be called SocialAds next week at its big confab in NYC.

Unlike the competition’s contextual ad programs, this will be squarely aimed at people’s self-expressed interests and demographics.

And, of course, Microsoft will be Facebook’s partner in serving the ads, for now at least. Good lord, it has bought and paid for this date many times over, so a fine time must be had by all!

I can’t tell you how thrilled we are that Facebook (and that nice boy Mark Zuckerberg) is finally putting some meat on its skinny little business model to take advantage of its fast-growing popularity.

But let’s keep in mind that it remains to be seen how lucrative this kind of ad network is and how scalable it is across the Web (and not just on Facebook).

It will also be interesting to see if the offering is truly innovative and different than existing solutions–or if it just serves up some dumb and useless ad for blood supplies, because you happen to be playing Vampire a little too much.

(We’re teasing, Mark, but not very much at all.)

OH, YES, THAT GPHONE:

More open verbiage from Google, which will roll out a mobile-phone operating system of software and services for a new kind of open cellphone sometime in this millennium (are you as sick of the speculation about the Gphone as I am?).

Since we’re talked out, here’s a much better Wall Street Journal Online video on the subject:

BOVINE UPDATE

Yahoo’s holy cows? Still sacred and going strong!

sacredcow2

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus