October 6, 2005 9:48 AM PDT

AOL snaps up blog publisher Weblogs

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America Online plans to acquire blog publisher Weblogs Inc. in an effort to bolster its presence in the ever-growing blogging community.

Weblogs, a privately held Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, operates 85 blogs with subjects ranging from parents to technology to film. AOL said Thursday that it will integrate the blogs throughout its network, such as within its television, travel and personal-finance channels.

"This...combination allows our audiences to be able to do a 'deep-dive' into a vast array of compelling topics that keep them interested and entertained on our network of properties, day after day," Jim Bankoff, executive vice president of AOL's programming and products, said in a statement.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close next week, were not disclosed. AOL is paying about $25 million for the company, according to Reuters. (Weblogs Inc. is a separate operation from the online ping service Weblogs.com.)

AOL has been making efforts to expand its online offerings to the blogging community. Last May, the Internet giant announced it would offer free blog pages to anyone who signed up for its instant-messenger service.

The acquisition comes as competitors such as Google and Yahoo have made efforts to enhance their own blog capabilities. Google last month launched a blog search feature, and Yahoo recently came out with an ad network for blogs.

Nick Denton, publisher of blogging site Gawker.com, was skeptical of the deal. "The whole point about blogs is that they're not part of big media. Consolidation defeats the purpose. It's way too early," he said, adding that Gawker is not for sale.

Weblogs, which was launched in 2004, features more than 100 freelance bloggers who are paid to serve as experts on such blogs as TVSquad, SlashFood and luxury lifestyle site Luxist.

 

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