Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, February 8, 2005 Being Auctioned

The content network is for sale, the New York Times (subscription) reports. Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves are among the bidders.

Though About has a lot of valuable content, I always found them to be much too cluttered to be useful (just look at the page collecting email hoaxes, with the actual content diminishing within animated Flash banners, DHTML layers following the scroll bar, popups, and hundreds of unrelated links like those to “Solitaire Poker Pack” or “Bathroom Decoration Ideas”). Still, About is impressive if only for the sheer size of its archive. Google counts 1,780,000 pages. Here is the wrap-up of in their own words:

“Each month more than 20 million people visit Whether it be home repair and decorating ideas, recipes, movie trailers, or car buying tips, our Guides offer practical advice and solutions for every day life. (...)

About. com was founded in 1997 with a simple premise, that people are the best Guides to the Internet. We have built on that belief over the past seven years. Today, when you read an article on, you are tapping into a powerful network of 475 Guides – smart, passionate, accomplished people who are experts in their field. Our Guides have written books, appeared on national television and won many awards in their field.”

I wonder what Google could do with if they acquire it. With some noteworthy exceptions (the Deja News Usenet archive, or the social software Orkut) Google has been focussing on being responsible for tools, not content.


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