Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Federated Media Snaps Up BigTent

Federated Media, the San Francisco-based advertising and publishing network, has acquired BigTent, a platform hosting more than 15,000 communities, mostly made up of parenting groups, especially moms.

Financial terms of the deal with BigTent, also located in San Francisco, were not disclosed.

BigTent has raised $5 million in venture funding from Menlo Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures.

In an interview earlier today, FM CEO John Battelle said the move was to further strengthen its tools for both the advertisers and publishers it serves, especially to create better “content conversations.”

Along with leveraging BigTent’s members by linking top brands with the parenting community, the platform could be used by publishers to reach their bases.

This is the second acquisition for FM within several months. In August, it acquired semantic search start-up TextDigger, a platform that allows content owners to include semantic indexing in search.

Battelle said that the additions to FM’s offerings are moving it toward helping content makers and advertisers create more relevancy, well beyond simply serving ads.

“People might look at us as a school of fish, but suddenly realize we are a shark,” said Battelle. “We want to create meaningful interactions on the independent Web.”

The shark metaphor scares me a bit, but it will be interesting to see what FM chomps up next.

Here is the official press release from FM:

Federated Media Publishing Acquires BigTent Platform for Groups

SAN FRANCISCO –Federated Media Publishing (FM), a next-generation media company, today announced the acquisition of BigTent, the leading platform for trusted parenting groups.

More than 8 million parents engage deeply with FM authors, the best independent voices on the Web. Millions more rely on BigTent to stay connected with local school, community and shared-interest groups.

“The combination of our two audiences gives marketers a powerful new way to reach the most valuable consumers online,” said Deanna Brown, President and Chief Operating Officer of FM. “Moms are busy, so they’re picky about where they spend their online time. They read high-quality writing from the best bloggers and they engage with each other in the most useful communities.”

BigTent’s thousands of groups continue to function as they always have, with the same great customer service, and the platform continues to welcome new groups. Each group has its own private, secure social networking environment and a set of tools that save precious time and enrich communities.

“BigTent groups are the social fabric of their communities, and we’re thrilled by the new and better ways we’ll now be able to serve them,” said Laney Whitcanack, the co-founder of BigTent, who is now Chief Community Officer at FM. “With FM, we have a partner who values their voice and is committed to their ongoing support and growth. Working together, we’ll continue to build authentic and meaningful opportunities for major brands to engage with these trusted groups.”

The purchase of BigTent follows FM’s recent expansion of its ability to reach parents online through a partnership with the Clever Girls Collective and the increase in its technical capabilities with the acquisition of semantic-search technology from TextDigger.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald