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AOL Buying Up Blogs 106

1%warren writes "The Register has posted a report on AOL's purchase of many of the more popular Blogs. It quotes an AOL executive as saying: 'You can't really put figures on this, but we think we have 78 per cent of the libertarian news blogs, and 91 per cent of the ClueTrain Manifesto fan sites.'" As happens with these things, I am not allowed to comment.
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AOL Buying Up Blogs

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  • by larien ( 5608 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:47AM (#3265406) Homepage Journal
    As a sign of how awake I was this morning, it took me until half-way through before my common sense started screaming "it's an April fool!".

    The cluetrain bit was a giveaway...

    • Hrm, intriguing:

      Moderation Totals: Offtopic=1, Redundant=1, Funny=3, Overrated=1, Total=6.

      I can cope with the overrated, but offtopic? Given the level of "reporting" from /. today, I don't think we can consider anything offtopic...

      However, "redundant" has taken on a new meaning, as the first post (yes, it was, BFD []) gets moderated as redundant.

      Note: This is not an invitation to partake in a flame war; just my thoughts on the moderation. Ho, hum, off to post a comment to give me that extra +1 to max out at 50 again...:) Wonder if this will be it or if I'll get whacked with a -2 for troll/flamebait...;)

  • Microsoft is buying up the moon, once again.
  • Or worst. The Reg could have at least peppered it with links in an attempt to convince more people of it being real.

    ah well.
  • At Last! (Score:1, Funny)

    by pngwen ( 72492 )
    At last big media will help me spread the word of the plight of fluffy!
  • In related news... (Score:4, Informative)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:50AM (#3265419) Journal
    MetaFilter was said to be signing a merger agreement with Kuro5hin to pool content between the two sites. We'll bring you more news as soon as we hear it.

    The story [].

  • We all KNOW OSDN is an AOL front, they just need more. And TODAY I don't even NEED the tinfoil beanie.
    • Did this get hacked or is it another April fools joke? :) Seems a step too far for the April fools minded internal to the project.

      Why does it say "-47,169 categories" at the bottom?

      I like that it prominently says "Micrsoft" at the top with the Mozilla dragon (or whatever it is) at the bottom.

      Best of all is this page [] which has "Copyright © 1999-2001 Netscape" at the bottom and "Monopolies do it better" in bold :)
    • ha! that's good. when in doubt kick MS with a 4/1 joke :)
  • AOL: Take a look at Snow Journal. Features original content, ski industry news, and the most active ski related discussion board on the internet. I want to be filthy rich!
  • If it weren't 4/1, I'd be deeply afraid that AOL were trying to quash all new political thought that often seeks to encourage radical changes in the current state of politics. But it *is* 4/1, so I be happy. :)
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @11:19AM (#3265542) Homepage Journal
      If it weren't 4/1, I'd be deeply afraid that AOL were trying to quash all new political thought that often seeks to encourage radical changes in the current state of politics.

      Which makes April 1 the perfect cover for skullduggery. By the time you're wise the coup would be completed.

      Taco's "As happens with these things, I am not allowed to comment" could actually be an indicator that Slashdot VA is/was in negotiations...

      It's a thing that should make you go, "hmm"

    • I'd be deeply afraid that AOL were trying to quash all new political thought that often seeks to encourage radical changes in the current state of politics

      That can't be the reason, the article said they were Libertarian news blogs...

      AOL/CNN has been trying to find ways of reaching the audience of Fox News. Apparently the executives of CNN look at the Fox News viewership and conclude that there is a market for political news with a right wing bias.

      Of course they would never consider the fact that the decline in CNN viewers might be due to their policy of dumbing down the news and giving saturation 'OJ Simpson' style coverage for stories that don't produce that amount of news. CNN is trying to model its news coverage on the Network news model which does not work for an audience that wants news and not entertainment.

      Ten years ago you could get a pretty good idea of world politics from CNN. Today the TV station is useless for news or analysis. They can have a half hour segment on the issue of steel tarifs without mention of the fact that imposing tarifs on EU steel means that the EU is unlikely to support Bush on Israel or Iraq. Go to the EU press and it is topic number one.

      Buying up blogs for profit does not appear to be a very sensible move. Nobody has demonstrated that a Blog is a scalable business. There are a number of folk like Pub who runs F***** who make enough to cover their costs and eat. But almost all the attempts to do it at scale have folded.

      Buying up blogs to influence opinion or drive people to another site is an even sillier move, all available evidence suggests that people don't behave that way on the Web. Internet communities are typically ephemeral, most mailing lists last only about three or four years before the signal to noise ratio plumets and it is time to go elsewhere. Without moderation Web forums last even less time, the first Web forum WIT lasted only a couple of weeks before the S/N went to zero.

  • This would have been a good April Fools story in 1999, when it was feasible. These days, big companies don't waste their money buying useless websites anymore.

    Does this mean that they are buying actual intellectual ideas? Or are they buying this just to send hidden suggestions deep into our minds.

    3 Blind mice... Watch how they run, watch how they fall off the cliff into a deep ravine and are cured of all their ills. - Steve Marcus 1943 Oscars
  • by goneaway ( 224677 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:55AM (#3265447) Homepage
    I've been cringing all morning long while wondering whether anything I read is real or not. Seems like most of the fake news is pretty obvious this year although I was caught by the story [] about installing OS X on x86. Maybe we're suffering from the post-9/11, Columbine shootings, social imperative to play nice even if it's not very fun.
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:56AM (#3265453) Homepage Journal
    AOL has also begun vigorously buying up brain waves. They have a wwbsite where you can sell them your brain waves and recieve compensation. Like blood banks, these brain wave banks are becoming popular with those down on their luck and out of work. After a successful program Launch in Boulder Colorado, the company opened up brain wave banks in major techonlogical centers, hoping to gather the thought patterns of every out-of-work engineer in such places as Silicon Valley, and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Once contained, this highly charged free thought will be sold to Beistol Mayers/Squibb, for conversion into brain enhancing vitamin suplements.
  • Comment? (Score:4, Funny)

    by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:59AM (#3265469)
    Isn't "As happens with these things, I am not allowed to comment" itself a comment?

    And can we get him not to be allowed to comment on more things?
    • Actually, I would prefer to see the /. editors commenting on a lot of things... here, in the comments section. Like Rusty does at k5.
      I've always thought the editors here should get in the nitty gritty with the rest of us, and not be so aloof.
    • Re:Comment? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thing12 ( 45050 )
      /. math: 50 Karma, +2 Funny, -2 Overrated, = 49 Karma. It just ain't right.

      That's too funny, gotta love the karma cap. Instead of a cap they should just expire the points away when the story is archived. Then the karma whore's would really have to work to keep their +2 bonus :-)

  • by ralian ( 127441 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @11:00AM (#3265470) Homepage
    Well, this is an April Fools' joke, but I frankly wouldn't be surprised if somewhere along the Slashdot>Andover/OSDN>VA Linux chain, AOL/TW owned some stake (In which case CmdrTaco really wouldn't be able to comment, he'd probably be under some sort of NDA or vested-interest clause or something).
    • If you have something to admit, admit it on April Fools' day.
      • If you have something to admit, admit it on April Fools' day.


        My kingdom for a modpoint, if only so that I might mod thee up.

        (HMMM, it seems the Anonymous posting option has been turned off at least for logged in users. Hopefully this is either another April Fool's joke or a temporary bug. Then again if I were Taco I could see making the ability to post as AC without logging off and on again as a subscriber only option.)

  • Were this not a 4/1 joke, I would almost, ok, not really, be disappointed that my blog (lame as it is) didn't get snatched up in the fray. I mean, come on, I think it's good (read: fairly lame), but then I'm biased (read: I own it, so I'd BETTER support it, even if I think it's lame).
  • This is a better idea than a lot of the *real* dotcom ideas out there. Getting lots of content created by a large group of people on the cheap isn't that stupid of an idea.
  • Of course it's after mid-day (at least where I am), which means the joke is on the original poster....

  • It's a bit tedious having to sift through Aprilf Fool's jokes on news sites today, but what happens if you try a search a few months from now, or a few years from now, and they still show up. They could be dangerous if not clearly marked as so since even reputable sites do this. It is very easy to spread mis-information on the web, which is why people tend to read only a few sites that they trust. That is why I don't think it would be a good idea for reputable sites to indulge in this kind of activity unless they specifically mark the stories as jokes on April 2nd.
    And no, I don't consider the stories here on Slashdot to be particularly truthful anyway, but the sites linked might be.
    • You could always look at the date they were posted, in most cases - especially true of the bigger sites. Seeing "April 1st" as the date of some article should stick out like a sore thumb.
      • You could always look at the date they were posted, in most cases

        Yes, but this also makes it difficult to look for any *real* news from April 1. In fact, most stories (and mailing list postings) from the evening of 31 March until the morning of 2 April are all suspect.

        I remember this was very bad last year, and I'm afraid that this year is going to be worse.

        It should be relatively trivial to put all April Fools' Jokes into their own category, while allowing them to retain a "real" icon and such. That way, people who just want the news on days like today can filter these things out.

        I, for one, would hate to be a PR guy at a company which released something on Friday, got picked up by the geek sites on Monday, and had all the press ignored because it was April 1.
    • Who died and made you Mr. Poopy Pants?
  • "All your blogs are belong to us."
  • by Foxman98 ( 37487 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @11:07AM (#3265503) Homepage
    Listen Carefully

    I will say this only once



    PUT SALT IN MY COFFEE!!!!!!!!!

    Co-worker with no sense of humor did this last year. Oh, your tires got slashed? APRIL FOOLS!
  • Like, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE BRAVE PEOPLE FROM MONTANA? THEY should be out there right now, TAKING OVER AOLand THE GOVERNMENT for messing with OUR 1st amendment rights.

  • Well, same thing happened over at BBspot []. The site that published the Microsoft Purchase Evil from Satan article has joined the MSN network.
  • Like, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE BRAVE PEOPLE FROM MONTANA? THEY should be out there right now, TAKING OVER AOLand THE GOVERNMENT for messing with OUR 1st amendment rights.
    ::goes to get gun::
    ::loads gun::
    ::promptly shoots self in foot::
    ::gets angry and shoots the registar, since I was gullible enough to fall for it::
    ::shoots AOL, then MS just for the hell of it::

    Thats how it should have appeared...

  • ...who else has lost the "Post Anonymously" box?

    And does anyone have any idea why?
    • So they can track down anyone who says they don't like april fools and beat the shit out of them.
    • Anonymous posting is turned off. Dunno why, but I think it might have to do with the Great TrollTalk Crapflood of 2002 [].

      Damn spammers.
      • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by GigsVT ( 208848 )
        Holy shit, over 6000 comments.

        All I have to say is that editors better not bitchslap this thread down, it's unrealistic to make such a big change to the site, not create a story for it, and then mod anyone offtopic that posts about it in an unrelated story.
        • I agree, but I'm still suspicious of it coinciding with the first april fools story of the day. Anyway, most of the comments on that crapflood were by logged in users, so I don't see the point.

          What will the karma whores do when they want to flame and not lose their karam points?
          • What will the karma whores do when they want to flame and not lose their karam points?

            Dedicated trolling accounts, or just logging out. I assume not logged in users can still post?

            --It's been 1 minute since you last successfully posted a comment-- that is driving me crazy. Couldn't they fix it so you could post like, 3 comments in 6 minutes, but not require you to space out the individual comments so much? The net effect would be the same. OK I guess I have wasted 60 seconds of my life now. Time to hit submit again.
            • You have to wonder about this [] though. I also can't believe they would do something like this unannounced or w/o feedback from all of us. Anyway, until I hear otherwise from the people running /., I'm going to assume this is a silly April fools joke.
              • Then maybe it's just an emergency measure to stop the trolltalk... who knows. If it's an April fool joke, it's not very funny.

                LIke I said in another reply to this parent, I've actually been in favor of removing anon posting, if anything, it's an illusion of anonmity, however you spell it. They will always have IP address logs, and an account created with a hotmail email address created with fake info offers the same level of protection as AC does.
                • Personally, I use 'post anonymously' as a way to post at 0 instead of 1. I honestly am completely baffled as to why I can't post at 0 or even -1 if I want, but at least posting as an AC make it a little better.
                  • Yeah, that's what I mean. It's annoying when you see a post, but you can't see the parent because of your threshold. I usually try to respond to posts at their original level, to avoid causing that to happen.
            • I assume not logged in users can still post

              As far as I can tell no.
    • Mine's gone too... Looks like Taco finally bought the argument that people can just easily create "anonymous" accounts, or log out, if they want to be anonymous.

      I've argued that before, so I can't say I'll miss it much. The only thing I much used it for was to avoid reparenting when replying to ACs.
  • by bihoy ( 100694 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @11:26AM (#3265564)
    They now have "59 per cent of all blogging female arts graduates, many of whom are Virgos"

    Now that's an audience I'd like to be closer to. ;-)

  • Slashdot is filtering internationnal news and is censuring a lot of news from the foreign. We have revealed news dealing about several work out. Today, any vitals informations wasn t revealed, that's why we think that Slashdot had lost independance. A developement squad work since ,more than one year, on a aol client project. The working client GPL first realease was revealed in may 2000. The first connection tries under linux were decisives, and lot of people passed a bill the project. Today, the peng for aol code client is tottally stable. Peng uses, in order to connect, tun/tap & ppp from kernel 2.4 supported by all linux distributions peripherals fonctionnality About 10 000 persons in Europe use this software, is a figure which amounts to the double of the previous version. So Aol is avaible under Linux. []
  • CmdrTaco says:
    As happens with these things, I am not allowed to comment.
    I'd like to mod his comment [-1 Troll][-1 Flamebait].
  • So what's a blog anyway?
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday April 01, 2002 @12:05PM (#3265725) Homepage Journal
    AOL recently purchased my entire family.
  • Its true, really! Look for the invisible AOL logo and disclaimer on [], a wildly popular news site for liberty and security minded individuals (100 hits a day, but they're QUALITY hits).

    Finally I can retire to that mountaintop cabin in Idaho. I want to thank Bob and Steve and Sharon for all their hard work in putting together this deal -- AOL stock is going to be worth something in the future, isn't it?

    editor of the formerly privatly owned news site
  • If this was true I'd happily sell them one of mine... []... They can make me an offer on it, I might just accept :)

    It is however April Fool's Day, and I don't even think AOL is a big enough fool to start buying up personal websites :) It wouldn't surprise me if they launch their own blogger-type interface for members some day (if they haven't already, I really wouldn't know...)
  • I hate April Fools ... but probably not as much as others do. Example: Media Bistro [] posted this "story" as the lead in its daily News Feed:

    From: (

    Subject: Daily Media News Feed - 04/01/02
    Date: 01 Apr 2002 11:17:23 -0800
    Message-Id: <>

    Provided by
    Send your news tips to

    AOL Time Warner is acquiring the rights to many popular blogs, including Instapundit and USS Clueless.

    But they must have wised up, as it no longer appears on their front page []. Oops.

  • I'm glad to see that some sites are still keeping there sense of humor and having fun. The growing presence/dominance of corporate america in the internet is threatening to make everything serious and PC. Props to Goodle and ThinkGeek for not taking themselves too seriously.

    BTW - I wish the "boba fett" helment on ThinkGeek was real. Would love to were it to my next staff meeting.
  • I have to admit that I didn't start screaming "April Fool!" on this one until I saw Taco's line, "I'm not allowed to comment"...


  • The story came straight from the Register, so it must be true!

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972