Sunday, February 06, 2005
News broke over the weekend that Ask.com has purchased Bloglines for an undisclosed amount. Most Traffick readers probably have never heard of Bloglines, an online RSS newsfeed aggregator, but it is said to be the most popular service of the sort.
Because of the relative anonymity surrounding Bloglines and the meteoric rise of blogging, it isn't clear yet what it means for search engines and blogging. I think it's way too early to speculate on the deal's direct implications, but here are some pretty safe assumptions about the this intersection of search engines, blogs and RSS technology, which are making for an interesting 2005.
1. Search engines are getting off the bench and taking charge. For years, blogging was a neat little hobby for geeks that formed its own clique of niche players. Then Google bought Blogger in 2003, and blogging gained more credibility.
The business model has yet to be proved for sure, but blogs offer what search engines like: content and lots of fresh content. Everyone knows Google bought Blogger in 2003 for its direct conduit to online publishing, as well as the vast real estate offered by blogs, which is perfect for content-targeted text ads. Microsoft in late 2004 launched its own blog platform called MSN Spaces. Yahoo is said to have an interest in TypePad, another leading blog platform. Some people say Google will buy Technorati, Daypop and Feedster. And now Ask buys an aggregator.
2. We ain't seen nothin' yet. The "Ask-iquisition" of Bloglines will accelerate search engine interest in blogs and RSS. More big deals like this will follow. The pace of acquisitions will be driven equally by real opportunities and synergies between blog companies and search companies, and by good old-fashioned me-tooism. In fact, the Bloglines deal may indicate pre-emptive me-tooism by Ask.com. Or, maybe we're seeing the first of many aggressive moves by Ask to dominate the blogosphere.
3. RSS search feeds are coming fast. MSN is leading the way in the integration of RSS search results feeds, and Google is sure to follow, provided they can live with the constant pinging of its servers by RSS readers. MSN isn't heavily promoting RSS search feeds yet, probably for this reason.
4. Internet marketing splinters even more. By this time next year, RSS marketing and blog marketing will be two of the hottest trends, right up there with search engine marketing. In fact all of this will meld together. We're seeing the next-generation online content platform forming before our eyes.
As always, stay tuned for more!
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