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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.
Though 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