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Summary:

Updated: 8.58 pm: A few minutes after we had ordered our dinner at Mehfil Restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA district, Scott Rafer, chairman of Orlando, Florida-based MyBlogLog, checked his Blackberry Pearl, and broke into a smile. An unusually intense man, it was an unusual sight to […]

Updated: 8.58 pm: A few minutes after we had ordered our dinner at Mehfil Restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA district, Scott Rafer, chairman of Orlando, Florida-based MyBlogLog, checked his Blackberry Pearl, and broke into a smile.

An unusually intense man, it was an unusual sight to see him smile. He typed out his response, and asked his lady friend to press the little Pearl to send the email. “It’s done,” he said, referring to the sale of MyBlogLog to Yahoo.

raferandom.jpgThough we have reported on the deal in the past, including this morning, when Marketing Shift reported that the deal was done, only to pull out the story a few hours later. I refrained from asking Rafer, who is a close friend. We normally don’t discuss business, the only reason our friendship has survived the trials of time. But this was special, and he shared his big news, though we had planned to have dinner almost a month ago.

Rafer declined to comment on the rumors about the price, and I didn’t press him for the details. Whatever the amount might be, it is clear that five-employee company (including Rafer) have done well, primarily because the company was completely boot strapped and raised zero dollars in angel or venture capital investment.

The team is going to join Yahoo and will be based in Berkeley and San Francisco and will be part of the Yahoo Developer Network. Most will report to Chad Dickerson, Sr. Director, Yahoo! Developer Network. This is part of Yahoo’s efforts to become increasingly social. Given how much effort Yahoo is putting on their Panama advertising platform, there must be some publisher-advertising angle to this deal, something we will discuss with Yahoo executives at the next opportunity.

More than the actual deal, it is the company’s past that makes it an interesting story. It was nearly eight months ago when I met Eric Marcoullier at yet another dinner with Rafer.

Marcoullier, who is based in Orlando, Florida had started the company with Todd Sampson in 2005. The two are fifth grade buddies. Eric had been trying to get bloggers to use his traffic measurement tool, though for some odd reason I did not bite. Rafer had contacted him via LinkedIn, and convinced them that they were sitting on a bigger opportunity than plain traffic measurement business.

Rafer suggested the company become a distributed social network, an idea that has been championed by Josh “Da Konnector” Kopelman of First Round Capital. Kopelman was one of the investors in Feedster, Rafer’s previous start-up, that is apparently limping along despite numerous setbacks. Soon there after, the MyBlogLog widgets started to show up on blogs, and a certain buzz started to form around the company. Since then 45,000 folks have signed up for the service, which is described as a blog-based social network.

In Fall 2006, at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Josh Kopelman hosted many start-ups in his private suite, and it was here he introduced MyBlogLog to some of the Yahoo folks, and soon the rumors of a pending deal started to fly. However, it was only this evening that the deal closed.

Footnote: This just might be one of the first few virtual company acquisition. One of the founders lived in Massachusetts, while another called Orlando his home, along with two other developers. Rafer lives in San Francisco. And they met on LinkedIn. Yup, something for our friends on Web Worker Daily to chew on!

Photo by Chasse Carroll

  1. The article was pulled so I’m guessing that the source isn’t reputable.

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  2. I wonder what is going on – maybe the guy preannounced what Yahoo was going to announce at a later stage. anyway we shall see what happens.

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  3. Last time it was for $10M, now $12 … do I hear $14M? $16m? $20M? $35M? SOOOOLD :-)

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  4. Wouldn’t you just post a retraction if your source was bad. Now if Yahoo! or MyBlogLog lawyers contacted you, then you would take it done.

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  5. I’d better get to writing this one up! lol

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  6. what is the business model of mybloglog?

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  7. MyBlogLog Acquired By Yahoo! or Not?…

    A few months ago the rumor mill was running full speed with acquisition claims of MyBlogLog (a favorite in the blogging world) had be acquired by Yahoo! Those rumors turned out to be a bit ahead of their time. Today, I was reading Marketing Shift via m…

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  8. MyBlogLog Acquired By Yahoo! or Not?…

    A few months ago the rumor mill was running full speed with acquisition claims of MyBlogLog (a favorite in the blogging world) had be acquired by Yahoo! Those rumors turned out to be a bit ahead of their time. Today, I was reading Marketing Shift via m…

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  9. Hey Om –
    Any idea on why Yahoo would buy this? I can’t really think of a way to monetize it other than serving ads directly into the MyBlogLog widget.

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  10. if it’s actually happened, that’s a very good move and at a reasonably rational valuation by the looks of it. i just hope yahoo has a cohesive strategy for its increasingly fragmented web apps. but, i like and respect yahoo – the first and they can once again become the best.

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  11. MyBlogLog’s business model is – from what I can tell – based on selling a premium statistics package for $3 a month or $25 a year. What Yahoo bought was its growing community of users.

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  12. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am going to make my first million tomorrow morning. I’m not waiting any longer! Tonight while I’m in bed, I’m going to “brew” a fresh steamer. We’ll call it Dump 2.0. Then, I’m going to dump my “homegrown” concoction in a cardboard box and mail it to Yahoo! along with a term sheet. Should be worth a few million, what do ya’ll think?

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  13. I would say buying MyBlogLog would be a smart move for anyone… it’s one of the few things “social” that works in terms of making people aware of content.

    Not too sure how successful the subscriptions idea for the premium package is though.

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  14. I know that I’ve hypnotized you into thinking that the world revolves around me [ ;) ] , but MyBlogLog was founded by Eric Marcoullier and Todd Sampson in January 2005. I joined 11 months ago.

    And, you promised photo credit to “Chasse Carroll.”

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  15. Oops. okay that is still pretty accurate without a little hipster notepad in sight, and all from memory to boot. Not bad for a 40-year-old processor ;-)

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  16. “Marcoullier, who is based in Orlando, Florida had started the company with Todd Sampson, his buddy from fifth grade in 2005.”

    Heh, that make it sound like I’m 12. Sure, I act like I’m 12, but still :)

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  17. Eric, you are not 12? you are older? damn… my eyesight is going. hey sorry about that buddy. wrote this in like 10 minutes or so. so correcting it after publishing.

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  18. Welcome MyBlogLog to Yahoo!…

    It seems like only yesterday that TechCrunch posted a premature story about Yahoo! buying MyBlogLog. Well, now it’s official and I’d like to publicly welcome the MyBlogLog team to Yahoo. In the last month or so, I’ve had the chance to meet and get t…

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  19. Eric, you could totally pass for 13.

    Om, how about sticking a MyBlogLog widget on the site? You wanna know who your readers are, right? :-)

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  20. Sure, but you gotta make it prutty! you know look and feel of the site has to be maintained ;-)

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  21. The art of the micro-deal……

    Om Malik reports that Yahoo bought MyBlogLog yesterday.  Should be a nice shot in the arm for one of my favorite companies.  Bring on the micro-deals!
    

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  22. MediaVidea says MyBlog log is an innovative model for next – gen. blog networks.
    http://mediavidea.blogspot.com/2007/01/mybloglog-better-model-for-blog.html

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  23. A nice round-up

    One interesting thing is Yahoo now have beaten Micosoft to the punch, they now have a metrics application, not just a closed beta.

    They even have paying customers for it.

    There are some more details on the MyBlogLog Blog

    http://mybloglogb.typepad.com/myweblog/2007/01/thejigisup_m.html

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  24. The other thing I’ve noticed about MyBlogLog is that it even pushes bloggers who live in their feed readers to actually visit blogs and blog pages.

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  25. Congrats to Scott and the MBL guys. MeasureMap was slick but MyBlogLog was much more functional and envelope pushing. Lets hope they can thrive in a mother ship.

    Om, give Mehfil some link love! ;-)

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  26. Call me crazy, but why would Yahoo buy this. What exactly is the revenue model?

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  27. Congrats Scott!

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  28. The source wasn’t bad… I did something my wife had asked me not to do and that is use information from a personal friendship as blog fodder. There were no Yahoo! attorneys trying to contact me but rather my wife. My story was 100% accurate and confirmed by a couple of other 3rd parties but I pulled it down without a retraction statement because I wanted to minimalize as much damage as possible on my personal friendships and my home life.

    ~jason

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  29. Matzel tov Rafer – good job all around.

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  30. MyBlogLog … another Yahoo! property…

    I’ve been a fan of MyBlogLog as a way of tracking stats, outgoing links and general activity on my blog…

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  31. MyBlogLog is pretty cool, but I don’t see how it is worth $10M. I ran the numbers using four different valuation methods and my guess was between $3M and $5M.

    If Yahoo can knit together Delicious, Flickr, MyBlogLog, and others into a cohesive synergistic strategy that produces revenue…it could someday be worth more than $10M. Today, from a distance…I don’t see it.

    See my blog for valuation models and estimates. http://dondodge.typepad.com/thenextbigthing/2007/01/yahooacquires_.html

    Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing

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  32. for those wondering about how this fits / why would they do it / how do they make money:

    consider using MyBlogLog as an extension to YPN, providing more than just affiliate payments, but in addition also enabling basic web stats, information on who’s visiting your site, and a way to profile & find out more about what people want to read on your site.

    this would be a significant differentiator from Google AdSense, and would combine several features smaller (& larger) bloggers would like in one package:
    – basic web stats / blog stats
    – basic social networking features
    – affiliate payments
    – viral discovery of similar sites

    given where YPN is at & where it would like to be, that strikes me as plenty of reason to do this deal… and at $10M, given MyBlogLog’s already decent audience, is probably a steal.

    (& a damn shame several of us didn’t get any money into the deal before Y! snapped them up ;)

    congrats Eric, Scott & team

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  33. Two Dom, Two to Go…

    So, we’re nine days into the new year and I’ve already sent out two bottles of Dom. The first bottle was sent to Scott Weiss. I first met Scott in December of 2000 — and quickly became convinced that he…

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  34. Congratulation, guys!
    The coolest feature of MyBlogLog is displaying COLORFUL photos of the FACES behind websites! Just fantastic real time format!

    I live in Ukraine and this morning joined MyBlogLog to highlight my “Open Letter to Alex Tew, Pixelotto” at mini-news.livejournal.com.
    It’s about introducing the Next Big Thing: my BILLION Dollar Homepage made of IFRAMES only.

    But YOUR success looks like a FAIRY TALE!
    Tell the Yahoo I’m just started eBay auction for the first 3Kb of Live IFRAME Ads space of my Mini-News.com.
    They could be interested too!!!

    http://Mini-News.com

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  35. A good reason to leave the webanalytics world…

    Once more not really Webanalytics related, but Om Malik posted a funny story of Mybloglog co-founder Eric Marcouller, who just sold the company to Yahoo Inc..
    “Eric Marcoullier had been trying to get bloggers to use his traffic measurement tool,…

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  36. @McClure — Thank you! The things I can’t say to anyone…

    @Beloy — I just took a look at your site. You’d know that if you were running our widget. ;)

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  37. So by Don Dodge’s and Om’s numbers:

    $3-5 mil for 45,000 users = $67-111 per user

    Or by other numbers:

    $10-12 mil for 45,000 users = $222-267 per user

    Superficially, I don’t see a huge barrier to entry in terms of technology, so it’s gotta be about the users, right?

    Can someone run an article on how this compares to PayPerPost’s acquisition or, albeit perhaps apples to oranges since it’s of about two orders of magnitude in dollars, with YouTube and MySpace?

    So aspiring entrepreneurs need only build a user base of 45,000? C’mon experts, time to write something about this.

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  38. Well sooner or later MyBlogLog had to be sold. Even it’s so viral and engaging, they never capitalize that by developing core business to sustain the system and create a windfall till now.
    I expect that all these comes as good to the users as most have many emotions with MyBlogLog.

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  39. MyBlogLog is an entirely unsecure website. It is possible to spam everyone’s reader roll widget and even steal other people’s identity by posting messages as someone else:

    http://www.cooqy.com/blog/2007/01/12/mybloglogs-stupid-unsecured-widget-implementation-widget-and-browser-based-web-application-security/

    Beware…

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  40. I’m still amused people would ask the question “Why would (Yahoo|Google|eBay) buy NNNN” when discussing community-based websites.

    It’s almost never about the primary revenue source, other than the fact ANY revenue is a clear way to vet basic business planning. I’m sure Yahoo barely cared about the $3/$12 revenue stream (And I doubt MBL has very many paying customers. It is counter to what makes a service like this propagate … FREE)

    It’s all about REACH. Targeted advertizing. Viral propagation.

    Anyway, you can’t help but be impressed about the deal. The proof is in the pie, and the rest is just coffee house talk. I know I haven’t been able to do what Scott/Eric/Todd were able to do.

    Speaking of being one of the “talkers”, I managed to get a great interview of my own with Scott. It’s about how he manages his busy schedule:
    Interview With Scott Rafer, CEO of MyBlogLog
    Managing Overload: How CEOs Do It

    What’s more, unbeknownst to me, I’m pretty sure he did this around the time the Yahoo deal was being sealed.

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  41. Twittering MyBlogLog (or my new toys)…

    Why one blogger loves Twitter and MyBlogLog

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  42. plueoveu pycbemds rckiismffm qmmmpaatgu jdqjfztz tximbhro nfwprqgbery…

    qzhmdxhsy uwtppnojoc tswhzntp sudhjwnaaq wxkvbehq mctmqm evjerymju…

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  43. Google Frees up FeedBurner

    If you’ve been blogging for an extended period of time you very likely not only know what FeedBurner is, but you are using it. For everyone else, you likely heard about it when Google stepped in to purchase the service as yet another weapon in their o…

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  44. [...] Note: For some interesting backstory on MyBlogLog, check out GigaOM. [...]

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  45. Seems to me like Yahoo! is keeping up with Google. I wonder how long before one buys out the other.

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  46. [...] Malik reports that Yahoo bought MyBlogLog yesterday. Should be a nice shot in the arm for one of my favorite companies. Bring on the [...]

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  47. [...] Yahoo bought MyBlogLog. Daylife, a webified newspaper with Jeff Jarvis as an adviser and Craig Newmark as an investor, [...]

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  48. [...] to complain when Google is taking previously premium services and dishing them out for free. Yahoo bought MyBlogLog months ago and never opened up their premium services for [...]

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  49. [...] started out as a easy way for bloggers to create communities around their individual sites. Yahoo bought the service just over a year ago, but had’t done much with it other than integrate it with their sign-in [...]

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  50. [...] similar features with equally easy to implement code. A show of hands – how many people knew that Yahoo bought MyBlogLog in January of [...]

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  51. [...] even for the opinionated Rafer, but then he knows a thing or two about successes (MyBlogLog), struggles (Feedster), and recessions. Rafer then generously loaded our plate with great tips for [...]

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  52. [...] Om Malik, Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 11:46 AM PT Comments (0) While hanging out at the TechCrunch50 conference, I ran into Eric Marcoullier, who recently launched his second startup, Gnip. We were supposed to talk about Gnip almost a month ago, but for some odd reason it didn’t happen. I was curious, because Eric and I got to know each other when he was visiting San Francisco and had just launched MyBlogLog. I didn’t really end up using the service, but Yahoo loved it so much that they bought it. [...]

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  53. [...] all previous investors in the company. Marcoullier previously started MyBlogLog and subsequently sold it to Yahoo. Gnip makes it easy for companies such as Twitter that put out large amount of real time data and [...]

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  54. [...] all previous investors in the company. Marcoullier previously started MyBlogLog and subsequently sold it to Yahoo. Gnip makes it easy for companies such as Twitter to put out large amount of real-time data and [...]

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  55. [...] networking functionality for bloggers. Official Blog Post | TechCrunch | GigaOm| Mashable | [...]

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