Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MTV Bought Quizilla

Quizilla, the teen social network, has just been snapped up by MTV Networks for an undisclosed price. The site, which focuses on quizzes, was launched in August 2002 and is owned by Gorilla Nation Media - I’ve tested it a few times, but never saw anything newsworthy. They reported 4.7 million unique visitors in September, and cater mainly to teen girls who create and share quizzes, poetry and stories. You can add friends to your network, too, and post your work on MySpace. MTV also owns NeoPets and, a site based around their teen cable network that already has a strong focus on quizzes. They want to realize synergies between all three services.


Blog Network Sugar Publishing funded by Sequoia

Blog network Sugar Publishing (the most popular blog in the network is PopSugar) has raised “around $5 million” in a Series A round investment from Sequoia Capital. Michael Moritz will join the Team Sugar board of directors. No word on the valuation, although I suspect it’s in the $12-15 million range pre-money. Like all good rumors, the source of this one is a venture capitalist who tried but failed to get in on the deal. The company would not comment on this either way.

The Sugar Publishing network, which includes a number of blogs and other sites catering to “young, hip women” has only been around since the Fall of 2005, but boasts a rumored 3 million unique visitors and 20+ million page views per month (up from 13 million monthly page views and 1.5 million unique visitors just a couple of months ago).

See Techcrunch's initial review of the network from August 2006 for more details

The full story...

Yahoo Buys AdInterax

Yahoo no longer needs to worry about experiencing a shortage of "rich media advertising solutions" - the company just acquired AdInterax, which specializes in providing those to "online publishers." Both parties were mum about the financial aspects of the deal.

The companies were also vague about what products or services might result. According to the press release, "Yahoo! plans to further integrate rich media capabilities into its current leading offerings by developing a self-service model for marketers based on the AdInterax platform." This model "will enable advertisers and agencies to create and run rich media campaigns coupled with other Yahoo! capabilities including behavioral targeting, geo-targeting, demo-targeting, and dayparting." Those are some fairly interesting buzzwords; it'll be interesting to see how they translate from the press release into the real world.


Panama launched by Yahoo

The in-development advertising system meant to replace Yahoo's current product arrived as part of the company's third quarter financial announcements.

Yahoo had stated at one point that the new advertising solution, called Project Panama, would be deployed when and only when it was ready to go. Until today, that looked like a timeframe in early 2007. The schedule moved up dramatically, as Yahoo disclosed it would roll out Panama now:

"While we are tremendously excited about many things happening at Yahoo!, we are
not satisfied with our third quarter financial performance. We continued to grow
and believe that we outperformed the graphical market but not at a rate that met
our expectations," said Terry Semel, chairman and CEO of Yahoo!.

Full story...

Instead of YouTube Universal Music Sues Grouper and

The story everyone expected to see this week was a major media company suing YouTube over copyright. Well, Universal Music has indeed sued some video sharing companies today, but thanks to a deal struck with YouTube last week, the market leader escaped unharmed. Instead it’s two smaller players - and Grouper - that face the wrath of Universal’s lawyers and a possible $150,000 in damages for every copyright infringement.

Universal says that thousands of videos are being shared without permission, which would put the total figure owed in the hundreds of millions. According to Reuters, the charge is “copying, reformatting, distributing and creating derivative works from Universal’s musicians”. As it happens, the $150,000 figure is pretty standard in these cases: it’s the amount that News Corp, NBC Universal and Viacom could sue YouTube for if the site doesn’t offer them a decent cut of the revenue. A Universal spokesperson is quoted as saying “Grouper and Bolt… cannot reasonably expect to build their business on the backs of our content and the hard work of our artists and songwriters without permission and without compensating the content creators”. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, late today.

Full story...